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Braves Beat NL-Leading Nationals 5-1 to Avoid Three-Game Sweep

The Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 to avoid a three-game sweep against their National League Eastern Division rivals.

Kris Medlen pitched seven shutout innings as the Braves halted a four-game losing streak and improved to 71-53. They’re six games behind the Nationals, whose 77-47 record is the best in Major League Baseball.

Martin Prado drove in two runs for Atlanta, which sits atop the standings for the two NL wild card playoff berths.

The St. Louis Cardinals (67-56) hold a half-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot after beating the Houston Astros 4-2. The Pirates (67-57) lost to the San Diego Padres by the same score.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 to complete a three-game sweep and increase their lead over the Dodgers atop the NL West to 2 1/2 games. Matt Cain allowed one run over seven innings for the Giants (69-55), who have won five of their past six games. The Dodgers fell to 67-58 and are one game behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot.

The NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds have a 76-49 record after a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday, while the New York Mets’ losing streak reached four games after a 5-2 defeat against the Colorado Rockies.

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