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Braves lose lead in 9th, fall to Nationals 5-2 in 10 innings for 10th straight loss

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WASHINGTON — Having experienced a rout and a heartbreaker, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez preferred the latter.

Atlanta took a one-run lead in the eighth inning Friday night, then saw the Washington Nationals tie it in the ninth and win 5-2 on Michael Taylor's pinch-hit three-run homer in the tenth.

The Braves have lost 10 straight games for the first time since 2006.

"I like everything about the ballgame except the ending," Gonzalez said one night after having strong words for his young pitchers following a 15-1 drubbing.

Bryce Harper, who hit his 32nd homer in the first, singled off Matt Marksberry (0-3) leading off the 10th. Reliever Brandon Cunniff came on and Ryan Zimmerman grounded a single up the middle, sending Harper to third.

Taylor batted for Jonathan Papelbon and hit a 1-0 pitch to left-center for his 14th homer of the season.

"We didn't walk anybody (in the 10th)," Gonzalez said. "They got three hits to beat us."

Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Freddie Freeman, who had three hits, doubled against Drew Storen and scored on pinch-hitter Nick Swisher's one-out single.

Washington tied the score on Matt den Dekker's RBI single with two outs in the ninth. Yunel Escobar doubled off Arodys Vizcaino to start the inning, and pinch-runner Trea Turner scored on den Dekker's hit.

Vizcaino was working his second inning after getting through Washington's 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth.

"I did not want anybody else facing that lineup in the eighth inning," Gonzalez said of Vizcaino.

Atlanta starter Julio Teheran continually pitched out of trouble, allowing a run, five hits and four walks in six innings.

"When I had men in scoring positions, I wanted to take better control of my pitches and that's what I tried to do," Teheran said.

PHOTO: Atlanta Braves' A.J. Pierzynski (15) is safe at first base with an RBI single as Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman waits for the throw during the  inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Atlanta Braves' A.J. Pierzynski (15) is safe at first base with an RBI single as Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman waits for the throw during the inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington pulled five games behind the NL East-leading Mets, who lost 6-5 in 11 innings at Miami.

"I was standing at the bat rack the whole game, trying to get in the game, just to be able to get in there and get a chance," said Taylor, who was out of the lineup for a third straight game with a sore right knee.

Papelbon (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings in his longest outing of the season as Washington tried to keep its playoff hopes alive.

"It's not going to be one game. It's not going to be a series here or there," Papelbon said. "It's going to be us being able to keep the momentum we have right now and carrying that throughout the rest of the season to the last game of the season."

Tanner Roark, pitching in place of Stephen Strasburg, was lifted with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning with the score tied 1-1.

After walking four times without a swing Thursday, Harper's first at-bat Friday night ended when he hit Teheran's 3-2 pitch into the seats in right-center.

The Braves tied it in the third. With Nick Markakis on third, A.J. Pierzynski hit a dribbler toward third and beat the throw at first.

PIERZYNSKI TIES DICKEY

With his third-inning single, Pierzynski tied Hall of Famer Bill Dickey (1,969) for 10th place all-time in hits among catchers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Taylor had an MRI on Thursday night. Williams said: "All the results were good." . RHP Aaron Barrett underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Thursday.

UP NEXT

Atlanta: RHP Shelby Miller (5-12, 2.56) is winless in his last 19 starts, but allowed one run in seven innings of a 4-0 loss to the Marlins on Monday. Miller is 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA in six career starts against Washington.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.13) is 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 starts this season at home. He's lost his last three decisions.

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