MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Sep 15, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Matt Joyce (14) reacts after being kicked out of the game against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Washington right-hander Anibal Sanchez slowed down the Atlanta bats with seven scoreless innings as the Nationals beat the visiting Braves 7-0 on Sunday.

Sanchez (9-8) allowed only three hits and one walk, striking out three. He improved to 3-0 in five starts against Atlanta this season.

The victory allowed Washington (82-66) to salvage a game from the three-game series against the Braves (93-58), who hold a 9 1/2-game lead over the Nationals in the National League East. Washington entered Sunday with a 1 1/2-game lead in the race for the first NL wild-card spot.

Washington produced 10 hits and was led by Howie Kendrick, who went 3-for-4 with a homer, scored twice and drove in three runs. Victor Robles added two hits, including a double, and made a great catch in center field to rob pinch hitter Adeiny Hechavarria of extra bases in the ninth.

Hunter Strickland allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth, and Sean Doolittle worked a scoreless ninth to finish the game for Washington.

Atlanta starter Max Fried (16-6) was knocked out after 2 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs on six hits, with three walks and two strikeouts. He has lost his last two decisions since tossing seven shutouts innings on Sept. 5 against the Nationals.

The Braves jumped on Fried for two runs in the second inning on Yan Gomes' two-run single.

Kendrick singled in a pair of runs in the third inning off Fried, and Robles drew a bases-loaded walk against reliever Jeremy Walker to extend Washington's lead to 5-0.

Kendrick slapped a solo homer, his 15th, off reliever Grant Dayton in the fifth.

The Nationals tacked on another run in the sixth when Adam Eaton grounded into a rare 3-6-5 double play, with Robles crossing the plate before the play was completed.

Atlanta right fielder Matt Joyce was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a called third strike.

--Field Level Media