ATLANTA - Mike Minor threw six strong innings, Dan Uggla broke it open with a two-run single and the Atlanta Braves denied Gio Gonzalez his 20th win, completing a sweep of the first-place Washington Nationals 2-1 on Sunday night.
Minor (9-10) allowed five hits before turning it over to the bullpen. Cory Gearrin, Luis Avilan and Chad Durbin each worked a scoreless inning to close it out.
The Braves broke a scoreless tie in the third against Gonzalez (19-8) on Chipper Jones' single.
Freddie Freeman added a sacrifice fly.
Washington closed to 2-1 on Ian Desmond's RBI single in the sixth, but the Braves pulled away with a three-run seventh, taking advantage of an error by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Michael Bourn scored on a groundout and Uggla came through with his two-out hit.
The Nationals' lead in the NL East was reduced to 5½ games after the lost weekend in Atlanta. Washington is still in fairly comfortable position with just over two weeks left in the season, but the Braves at least gave themselves a bit of hope in the division race.
More noteworthy, Atlanta's sweep solidified its return to the playoffs after a historic collapse in the final month last season. The Braves maintained a seven-game lead over the second wild-card spot, held by St. Louis, and are eight games up on the next club in the race, the Los Angeles Dodgers. It would take a more epic meltdown than even 2011 to squander that lead with only 15 games to go.
Gonzalez was trying to become the first 20-game winner for the Montreal-Washington franchise since Ross Grimsley in 1978, when the team called Canada home.