Washington Nationals (87-63) at Atlanta Braves (75-76), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Now that a division title and playoff berth have been clinched, the NL East-champion Washington Nationals can focus on the league's best record Wednesday in the finale of a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals won their second division title in three years with Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Braves at Turner Field, where the team gathered to celebrate winning the NL East.
"We are trying to reach that next level. This is just the start," Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said. "We want to do this for a long time. We have a great team, we have a great organization, and unbelievable manager. One through nine, we are a great team, our bullpen is unbelievable."
Ian Desmond got the Nationals on the board first with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.
Desmond's effort made a winner out of starting pitcher Tanner Roark and he tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen each threw a scoreless inning of relief and the latter picked up his seventh save.
"We've got the pitching, the depth, the bullpen to do what we need to do," Harper said. "We need to keep it going ... through October."
Washington has homered in 21 consecutive road games, three shy of matching the MLB record, and has won four straight and eight of the last 10 contests. The club is 5-1 on an 11-game road trip.
The Nats have scored three or more runs in six straight games and own a 41-35 road mark this season.
Blake Treinen will start in place of Gio Gonzalez (rest) on Wednesday and is 2-3 with a 2.18 earned run average in 13 games (5 starts). Treinen threw an inning of scoreless relief in last Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Braves. In his previous start on June 28 at the Chicago Cubs, the right-hander gave up two runs and four hits in the 7-2 triumph.
Treinen has faced the Braves twice in relief this season.
The Braves are fighting for their playoff lives and sit 5 1/2 games off the second wild spot in the National League. They have now lost five in a row and 11 of 13 games, and couldn't get the bats going against Roark and Company.
Chris Johnson and Philip Gosselin combined for four of Atlanta's five hits and Aaron Harang was dealt the loss despite giving up only two runs in seven innings. Harang fanned eight batters and walked two.
"There's still a chance for the wild card. We just have to go out and try and win every game," Braves outfielder B.J. Upton said.
That's easier said than done for a Braves team that once led the NL East. They will send Alex Wood to the bump Wednesday and he is 10-10 with a 2.83 earned run average. Wood is 3-1 in his last four decisions, but hasn't posted one in his past two trips to the mound.
Wood limited the Texas Rangers to a run over seven innings in a 2-1 loss on Friday. Wood struck out nine Rangers and has posted 26 K's in the last three starts. The lefty is 7-5 at home and 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals.
The Braves have a slim 10-8 edge over the Nationals this season.