Braves Strike Late, Sweep Nats, Push Winning Streak To 13
WASHINGTON — Order another round for Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who has learned that a winning streak can be tough to swallow.
On Wednesday night, the Braves won their 13th straight, summarily dismissing the Washington Nationals 6-3 to complete a three-game sweep and take a staggering-for-early-August 15½-game lead in the NL East.
Now Gonzalez will have to keep drinking up. It turns out that the streak happened to begin on the day that bullpen coach Eddie Perez first gave the manager some sort of protein drink. Gonzalez hates the taste, but he can’t stop drinking it with his team on such a roll; sure enough, he was sipping the concoction from a cup in the dugout a couple of hours before Wednesday’s game.
“They may be giving me poop. I don’t even know what it is,” Gonzalez said. “But I’ve been drinking them for 13 days in a row now. We’re superstitious, you know.”
Maybe there are some four-leafs clovers stashed in the clubhouse as well, the way the Braves have been playing. While they have a ways to go before they can mathematically clinch, this week has served as a psychological clincher that only could be undone by a monumental collapse.
“We came in here and we let ‘em know,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “We’re here to stay.”
Jason Heyward singled and Justin Upton doubled in a three-run eighth inning, Upton also hit a home run, and Braves starter Kris Medlen (9-10) allowed three runs and three hits over seven innings. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 36th save, working out of a bases loaded jam by getting Wilson Ramos to line out to right to end the game.
The eighth-inning runs came with two outs off relievers Ryan Mattheus (0-1) and Ian Krol as the…