Braves 2, Nationals 1: Rookie Andrelton Simmons scored when shortstop Ian Desmond's throw to the plate was off the mark in the bottom of the ninth inning as Atlanta kept its slim division hopes alive while strengthening its bid for the wild card.
After Craig Kimbrel (2-1) struck out the side in the top of the ninth, the Braves went to work on Sean Burnett (1-2) in the bottom of the frame. Simmons had a one-out single and advanced to third on Michael Bourn's base hit to shallow right-center. Pinch hitter Tyler Pastornicky plated the winning run with a slow grounder to short, as Desmond couldn't get Simmons at home.
Starter Kris Medlen was saddled with a no-decision despite recording a career-high 13 strikeouts for the Braves, who moved to within 7 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Nationals.
Rookie Bryce Harper homered to lead off the sixth inning for the Nationals, who saw their magic number for clinching the division remain at 11.
Burnett yielded two hits in one-third of an inning to take the loss.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Medlen's previous career high in strikeouts was 12, set on Sept. 3 versus Colorado. ... Harper's opposite-field blast was the first homer hit off Medlen by a left-handed batter this season. ... Washington's Michael Morse sat out with an injured left wrist.