WASHINGTON -- There was certainly a sense of familiarity as the Braves opened a four-game series with Thursday night's 3-0 win over the Nationals. Chris Johnson provided all of the necessary support with a couple of timely hits and Craig Kimbrel notched the final three outs in successful fashion. But there was also an unfortunate development as Gavin Floyd suffered a right elbow ailment while tossing six scoreless innings.
Floyd had limited the Nationals to just two hits before he was forced to exit after throwing his first pitch in the seventh inning. The Braves announced he had been diagnosed with posterior swelling around his right elbow and would be evaluated after undergoing X-rays.
Given that Floyd was making just his ninth start since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery, this exit obviously blemished what was the most important win the Braves have had recently. They entered Monday with the Majors' fourth-worst winning percentage (.404) dating back to April 28.
But with their 19th win in the 26 games played against the Nationals since the start of the 2013 season, the Braves now stand just a half-game behind the first-place Nationals in the NL East.
Floyd faced the minimum through the first two innings and did not need more than nine pitches to complete the third, fourth or fifth innings. He had retired 11 straight batters before surrendering Denard Span's two-out double in the sixth inning. A native of Annapolis, Md., Floyd had produced a 2.37 ERA in the six starts he made either in Baltimore or Washington before his right elbow blew out during the 2013 season.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann had allowed just one hit before Freddie Freeman notched the first of four consecutive one-out singles in the fourth inning. Johnson's two-run single through the middle of the infield proved to be all the Braves would need. It also marked the start of a three-RBI night, matching the total he had compiled through his previous 17 games this month.
After Zimmermann limited his damage to the two runs through seven innings, Johnson added an eighth-inning single that scored Freeman, who highlighted his three-hit night with a pair of doubles.
Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a fourth-inning single as part of a two-hit night.
---- Source: MLB.com