ATLANTA — Matt Wisler is trying to close out the season on a strong note after struggling at times for the Atlanta Braves.
“I’ve had my ups and downs this year,” he said. “I’ve shown that I can be really good and I’ve shown I can be really bad. It’s just a matter of not taking any start for granted.”
Adonis Garcia drove in three runs, Wisler pitched five-plus innings and Atlanta beat the Washington Nationals 6-2 in a rain-shortened game Sunday.
The game was official with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. The two delays totaled 2 hours, 57 minutes.
Washington has dropped two straight and needs any combination of six Nationals wins and six New York Mets losses to earn its third NL East title in five years.
After a 1-hour, 7-minute delay in the top of the sixth, the Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-2 on Garcia’s two-run single and Freddie Freeman’s RBI double.
Wisler (7-12) allowed two runs, five hits and struck out two in 5 2/3 innings to earn the win.
He faced a limited lineup as Nationals manager Dusty Baker gave sluggers Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon the day off and used Ryan Zimmerman as a pinch-hitter.
“Today I thought I came out aggressively, made them put the ball in play,” Wisler said. “They were swinging kind of early. They weren’t squaring up a lot of balls like they were the last game (he faced them).”
Joe Ross (7-5), reinstated from the disabled list after missing 66 games with right shoulder inflammation, took the loss. Ross, on a pitch count, allowed one run and six hits, one run and struck out five in three innings. It was his first start since July 2.
“It’s a welcomed sight to see him back,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Ross trailed 1-0 in the second on Jace Peterson’s RBI single. He gave up three singles to begin the third, but retired the next three batters to escape the jam.
“Pitched myself into a jam and was able to work out of in the third,” Ross said. “Felt good, and that’s the main thing I was concerned with today. I could have kept pitching, but probably best to keep it to three innings.”
Reynaldo Lopez took over in the fourth and trailed 3-0 on Dansby Swanson’s RBI double and Garcia’s RBI single.
Washington made it 3-2 in the sixth. Trea Turner tripled and Jayson Werth doubled off Wisler. After the first delay ended, Bryce Harper’s single off Ian Krol scored Werth.
Wisler is 3-3 with a 4.83 in five career starts and one relief appearance against Washington.
The Nationals went 15-4 against Atlanta this season and 36-13 in the series since June 21, 2014. They played their last game at Turner Field with the NL-worst Braves moving to a new ballpark next year.
In 13 games against Atlanta, Turner hit .475 with five doubles, two triples, six homers, 16 RBIs, seven stolen bases and 20 runs scored. … Freeman went 2 for 3 and has a 22-game hitting streak and has reached safely in 38 straight games. Both are career highs and rank first in the majors among active streaks. … Braves CF Ender Inciarte went 1 for 3 and leads the majors with 88 hits since the All-Star break.
Harper ended a stretch of 26 plate appearances without a hit, though he did have nine walks over the span. He had two hits in 29 at-bats over his previous 10 games.
Washington RHP A.J. Cole (1-2) is scheduled to make his sixth start and first in his career against Miami. Braves RHP Aaron Blair (0-6) is set to start at the New York Mets. The rookie has an 8.23 ERA in 12 starts and is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three starts against the Mets.