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After helping Nats clinch, Braves rout NL East champs 8-0

Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman runs to the dugout, followed by Ozzie Albies, right, after hitting a three-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. At center is Braves' Matt Kemp, congratulating teammates. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run off Gio Gonzalez and Julio Teheran threw seven shutout innings as the Atlanta Braves cruised to an 8-0 victory Tuesday night over the Washington Nationals, who were fresh off clinching the NL East.

Gonzalez (14-7) allowed five earned runs on seven hits in five innings and struck out eight. The left-hander did guarantee his $12 million option for next season with his first out of the game as he reached 180 innings this season.

The Nationals, who clinched the division Sunday when the Braves came back to beat the Miami Marlins in extra innings, lost for just the second time in eight games. This loss kept them from closing the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Teheran (11-11) allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked two.

Freeman was 3 for 5 and had a double to go along with his home run to center. Ozzie Albies went 3 for 5 with a home run, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

'STEP UP' HARPER

Manager Dusty Baker said the Nationals hope to "step up" Bryce Harper's baseball activities with the hope of getting him back for the postseason. Harper has been out since mid-August with a significant bone bruise in his left knee and has no timeline to return.

"What's next is hopefully have him start hitting and see how his legs feel because running and sliding and cutting and dodging's going to be the thing," Baker said. "He's progressing. I got my trainers (to) let me know when he's really progressing because you don't want to force him to progress because that leads to regression."

TEHERAN DOES IT AGAIN

By picking off Trea Turner at first base in the third inning, Teheran added to his already impressive resume in that department. Teheran has picked off a major league-best 26 runners since 2013, well ahead of R.A. Dickey with 14.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: OF Matt Adams was out of the lineup after right hamstring tightness forced him out of a game Sunday. Manager Brian Snitker said Adams described the injury as a cramping feeling and wanted to give him another day because there's still tightness when hitting.

Nationals: OF Jayson Werth (sore left shoulder) got the game off. Baker considers Werth day-to-day.

UP NEXT

Washington ace Max Scherzer (14-5, 2.32 ERA) faces Atlanta LHP Luiz Gohara (0-1, 13.50) in the second game of the series Wednesday night.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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