Bill Ladson

Gio allows Beckham homer, little else vs. Braves

Gio allows Beckham homer, little else vs. Braves

VIERA, Fla. -- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez pitched six quality innings and helped the Nationals defeat the Braves, 7-2, at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Nats improved their record to 17-4-2, while Atlanta's record dropped to 6-17-3.

Atlanta was able to get to Gonzalez in the first inning, when Gordon Beckman homered over the left-field wall for a 1-0 lead.

But the Nationals came back in the bottom of the first inning to take a one-run lead against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman had RBI singles.

Gonzalez throws six innings

In the next five innings, Gonzalez allowed a run on four hits and struck out three. The run scored in the fifth inning, when John Camargo came home on a single by Chacin.

Chacin's RBI single

The Nationals were able to add to their lead in the third inning, when Harper scored on a passed ball by catcher Tyler Flowers. Zimmerman and Jayson Werth then scored on a single by Brendan Ryan.

"We had a good game, offensively and defensively," manager Dusty Baker said. "Jayson Werth looked good. We had a couple of guys play nine to get their endurance up."

In the sixth inning, with Dan Winkler on the mound, Zimmerman drove in two runs with a single to center field.

Up next for the Braves: Freddie Freeman and the rest of Atlanta's projected starters are expected to be in the lineup when the Braves host the Astros on Monday at 6:05 p.m. ET. Mike Foltynewicz will take the mound and attempt to solidify his bid to begin the season as Atlanta's fifth starter. Foltynewicz significantly enhanced this bid with 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Astros last week.

Up next for the Nationals: The Nationals play their last home game at Space Coast Stadium on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Marlins. The Nationals are expected to move to West Palm Beach, Fla., next year and share the facility with the Astros. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make the start against the Marlins. This spring, Strasburg has allowed five runs in 15 innings and struck out 19 batters.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.