Atlanta Braves (36-35) at Washington Nationals (37-33), 7:05 p.m. (ET)

 

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves hope to find some success on the road when they open an 11-game trip Thursday with the first of four straight games against the Washington Nationals.

The Braves will also visit Houston and Philadelphia, and are tied with Miami at 1 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead.

Atlanta was just swept in three games by the rival Phillies and dropped a 10-5 decision Wednesday afternoon. Aaron Harang was pelted for nine runs -- eight earned -- and 13 hits in five innings to absorb the loss.

Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit each homered for the Braves, who have dropped six of their last eight games. Gattis extended his career-best hit streak to 17 games.

"It was a tough series, we didn't play our best," said Doumit. "We see these guys in another week on the road, so we're going to be looking for some redemption."

Gavin Floyd will get the start for the Braves Thursday and he is 1-2 with a 2.98 earned run average this season. Floyd did not record a decision in Saturday's 11-6 loss against the LA Angels, as he gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Floyd has faced the Nationals six times (4 starts) in his career and is 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA.

Washington just swept the Astros in a quick two-game set at Nationals Park and hopes to extend its NL East lead during this upcoming series.

The Nationals posted back-to-back 6-5 wins over Houston and welcomed back starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Wednesday. Gonzalez made his season debut after missing close to a month with left shoulder inflammation and was reached for four runs in five innings. Aaron Barrett got the win in relief and Rafael Soriano posted his 15th save in the ninth.

Nate McLouth's go-ahead sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh inning lifted the Nationals, winners in 12 of the last 18 games.

"Guys got on base ahead of me and I brought one in," McLouth said on his pinch-hit RBI. "You just have to be ready."

Anthony Rendon homered and was one of four players with two hits and an RBI.

The Nationals aim for their sixth straight win at home with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound Thursday. Zimmermann is 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA and hopes to get back into the win column after last Friday's 1-0 loss at St. Louis in which he gave up the deciding run in eight innings of work.

Zimmermann had won two straight starts before the loss to the Cardinals. In eight career starts against the Braves, Zimmermann is 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA.

Washington is only 1-5 against Atlanta this season.

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