published Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Braves top Nationals 6-3, stretch lead in NL East

Atlanta Braves' B.J. Upton (2), Reed Johnson (7), and Andrelton Simmons (19) celebrate after playing the Washington Nationals in a baseball game, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-3.
Atlanta Braves' B.J. Upton (2), Reed Johnson (7), and Andrelton Simmons (19) celebrate after playing the Washington Nationals in a baseball game, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-3.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Ramiro Pena and B.J. Upton hit home runs, Paul Maholm won his third straight decision and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 Sunday to stretch their lead in the NL East.

The Braves won two of three from the Nationals and lead Washington by 6.5 games — the biggest advantage for any first-place team in the majors.

The Nationals (28-29) fell below .500 for the first time since they were 13-14 on April 30. The Braves are 7-3 against Washington this season.

Ian Desmond hit a homer for Washington in the sixth inning to cut Atlanta’s lead to 4-3. Freddie Freeman answered with a bases-loaded, two-run double in the bottom of the inning.

Paul Maholm (7-4) allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits in six innings. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

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