For most of this season, Washington's made times tough for Atlanta. The Nats have won five of seven from Atlanta this season, and four of five at Turner Field. The Braves won, 7-5, on Saturday for their first home victory against Washington.
For Washington, left-hander Gio Gonzalez is set to take on the Braves in the rubber match. Gonzalez has won two starts in a row and hasn't allowed more than four runs in a start this season. Those four-run starts haven't been frequent either -- they came in his last outing, a 12-5 win over Colorado, and his very first, a no-decision in a 7-4 Washington win over the Cubs.
Gonzalez is 1-1 against the Braves this season, beating them May 27 before losing to them in the start directly following, June 3.
The Braves have veteran Tim Hudson on the mound, a pitcher who has common ground with Gonzalez because of their rise to the Majors with the A's. The veteran righty was roughed up by Washington in their lone meeting of 2012.
Hudson gave up seven runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings on May 25, a 7-4 Nats victory. The big blow came in the seventh, on a Ryan Zimmerman two-out, three-run double.
"I felt like I had enough gas," Hudson said. "I felt like it was a good matchup. I didn't hold up my end of the bargain this time. I don't fault [manager Fredi Gonzalez] at all for keeping me out there. I mean, I didn't want to come out of the game. I felt like it was my game to win or lose out there. Obviously, hindsight's always 20/20."
The game-time temperature Sunday is projected to be 101 degrees.
Nationals: Return for Rodriguez nears
Right-hander Henry Rodriguez could be back from a finger strain any day now, manager Davey Johnson said.
"I think he's ready," Johnson said. "The reports I'm getting -- he was supposed to go back to back, and he didn't get to do that because of the weather. But when he does that and has a day off, it'll be up to [general manager Mike Rizzo]. He's done everything we've asked of him, so he'll be back pretty soon."
Michael Morse went 2-for-5 in the cleanup hole on Saturday, a spot he won't likely relinquish for a bit.
Morse's average has climbed from .215 to .299 in the last six games. He had routinely been batting cleanup against lefties, but fifth against righties.
Braves: Moylan's rehab gets under way
Right-hander Peter Moylan (torn right rotator cuff) made his first rehab appearance Saturday with one inning in the Gulf Coast League. Moylan needed just seven pitches to get through a perfect first inning against the Yankees' GCL affiliate. He struck out one batter and got two groundouts.
Moylan has three more GCL appearances scheduled in the next week, with a late-July return to the Majors the hope.
Andrelton Simmons overtook Jason Heyward for the Braves' lead in multihit games by reaching No. 10 on Saturday. Simmons went 3-for-4 and Heyward 1-for-4.