The Braves have pushed the Nationals around for quite some time. Atlanta has defeated Washington in 20 of the clubs' past 27 meetings as the Braves have snatched the National League East lead back from the Nats with two quick wins.
After losing two games in the 13th inning in the last week, the Braves pushed two across in the top of the 13th on Friday night to earn a 6-4 victory. Now the best the Nationals can push for is a series split as they continue to be confounded by Atlanta.
"Every game is different. Every game presents a new set of challenges," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "It's a point of discussion for sure. I know the history ... but we can't look at that. It's not like, 'OK, what's the reason?' It makes for good copy. It makes for good conversation. But in reality, every game's different."
The Nationals face a tall task in fighting for a series split as they face Julio Teheran, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Teheran has given up two runs or fewer in 12 of his 15 starts, including two turns against the Nationals.
Teheran gave up just one run on four hits in eight frames against the Phillies on June 16, an outing similar to when he gave up two earned on three hits in seven innings at Nationals Park on April 5. He is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts in Washington.
Doug Fister will pitch opposite Teheran as he tries to recover from a rough start on June 15 that interrupted quite a run. Before giving up four earned in six frames against the Cardinals, Fister had surrendered two runs or fewer in six straight outings.
He may need to return to that form if Washington hopes to retake the division lead, which Atlanta owns by a half-game.
"Basically it comes down to poor execution," Fister said after his loss. "I didn't do my job today. I got to do a lot better when it comes to crucial pitches, and that's essentially what it comes down to. Guys were out there, they were fighting for me, putting together some good at-bats and made a run for me late, and I've got to go out there and execute."
Braves: Former Nationals prospects make Major League debuts
Former Washington Minor League pitchers, right-hander Juan Jaime and lefty Ryan Buchter, got a crack at their former organization on Friday and delivered.
Jaime, whom Atlanta recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, pitched a scoreless 11th in his first taste of big league action. He walked one, struck out two and threw 23 pitches.
Jaime touched 98 mph several times with his fastball, which never dropped below 96 mph in his frame against the Nationals. Jaime's two-strikeout inning made him one of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter in the United States at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.
Buchter, recalled from Gwinnett on Friday, came in one inning later and also issued a base on balls in a shutout frame. Although he did not trend on Twitter following his appearance, he settled for earning the victory.
Nationals: Middle infield power
Ian Desmond hit a moon shot off Mike Minor in the second inning, giving Washington a Major League-best 22 homers from its middle infielders.
Desmond has supplied 14 of those blasts, putting him six away from matching his 20 dingers from last season. His career-best mark was 25 homers in 2012.
The Nats also rank second in the Majors with 44 homers by infielders, a tally padded by Desmond's solo shot, as well as Anthony Rendon's game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth.
• Evan Gattis extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games with a fifth-inning single before notching the go-ahead single for Atlanta in the 13th.
• Rendon got his first hit in seven plate appearances against Craig Kimbrel, tying Friday night's game, 4-4, with a two-run homer in the ninth. He was previously 0-for-3 with three walks and two strikeouts against the All-Star closer.
• Kimbrel, who has led the Majors in saves in each of the previous three seasons, has blown a save more times (eight) than the Nationals have beaten the Braves (seven) since the beginning of the 2013 season.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.