Washington’s Dan Haren pitched eight sharp innings as the Nationals put in another stellar defensive performance to beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Thursday, cutting into their rivals’ lead atop the National League East division.
Denard Span hit a two-run double and that was enough for the Nationals, who edged within 2-1/2 games of the Braves.
Elsewhere, St Louis’ Jake Westbrook earned his 100th career win as the Cardinals beat Milwaukee, Boston took advantage of 10 walks to beat Toronto, and Baltimore’s Chris Tillman was commanding at the mound to guide the Orioles past the Los Angeles Angels.
Washington, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to Atlanta on Wednesday, allowed the hosts to get only three runners in scoring position over two nights.
Haren (3-3) gave up just one run with one walk.
The Nationals scored in the first inning for the first time in 16 games.
St Louis’ Jake Westbrook (2-1) allowed one run over six innings to reach the 100-win mark and help the Cards down Milwaukee 6-5.
Westbrook allowed a double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles.
Westbrook left with a 6-1 lead for the relievers to protect, but the Brewers scored twice in the seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth.
Boston’s Ryan Dempster conceded one run in six innings to pitch the Red Sox to a 3-1 win over Toronto.
Dempster (2-2) retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. Winless in his first four starts this season, he posted his first victory by beating Houston a week ago.
Baltimore’s Chris Tillman returned to his hometown and outpitched Joe Blanton with eight scoreless innings, leading the Orioles to a 5-1 win over the Angels in the opener of their four-game series.
Tillman (2-1) retired 20 of his last 21 batters, whereas Blanton (0-5) remains winless this season after giving up three runs in eight innings.
Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis threw out Mike Trout at the plate, and also hit an RBI double.
Chicago’s Hector Santiago allowed two hits in five-plus innings filling in for Jake Peavy, while Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer as the White Sox beat Texas 3-1, handing the Rangers their first series loss of the season.
Detroit’s Don Kelly had an RBI single to start a four-run 14th inning that lifted the Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Houston Astros in a four hour, 50 minute game.
San Diego’s Yonder Alonso saw his two-out fly ball drop in front of the fielder for an RBI single, leading to a four-run eighth inning that boosted the Padres over the Chicago Cubs 4-2 a split of the four-game series.
Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown hit solo homers as the Phillies beat Miami 7-2.
The finale of a three-game series between hosts Kansas City and Tampa Bay was postponed after 3-1/2 innings due to rain and snow.
Rain intensified as the afternoon went on, making the field unplayable and forcing the umpires to delay the game before calling it. The contest will be made up at a date and time to be determined.
The Royals were leading 1-0 going into the bottom of the fourth.