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LaRoche crushes two as Braves keep rolling
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ATLANTA  — Adam LaRoche gave the Braves the lead with a seventh-inning homer, his second of the game, and Atlanta continued its second-half surge by beating the Washington Nationals 6-2 on Wednesday night.

LaRoche snapped a 2-2 tie with his seventh-inning homer off Jorge Sosa (1-1). He had a second-inning homer off Craig Stammen and drove in a third run with a bases-loaded walk in Atlanta's three-run eighth.

Garret Anderson and Martin Prado also hit homers for the Braves, who have won five straight. Their 17-9 record since the All-Star break is the best in the National League.

Derek Lowe (12-7) gave up only two runs on seven hits and four walks in seven innings. He has won his last five decisions.

The Braves (60-54) are six games over .500 for the first time since finishing 84-78 two years ago. The Nationals, who had an eight-game winning streak end with an 8-1 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday night, were swept in the two-game series.

Prado increased the lead to 4-2 with his eighth-inning homer off Sean Burnett.

Burnett gave up a single to Chipper Jones and a double to Brian McCann before loading the bases with an intentional walk to Yunel Escobar. Burnett walked LaRoche to force in a run and, with two outs, Jason Bergmann walked pinch-hitter Greg Norton to force in another run.

Reliever Peter Moylan struck out Elijah Dukes with two runners on to end the eighth.

Stammen, who had a 15.32 ERA in his last three starts, gave the Nationals six strong innings on the day the team announced another rookie, Jordan Zimmermann, will have reconstructive elbow surgery next Wednesday.

Stammen gave up only four hits and two runs, on homers by Anderson and LaRoche in the second. Adam Dunn and Ronnie Belliard had run-scoring singles for Washington.

Braves reliever Mike Gonalez was knocked to the ground but managed to catch a sharp liner by Josh Bard in the ninth. The Nationals had runners on first and second when Nyjer Morgan was picked off first by McCann to end the game.

NOTES: Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein served a one-game suspension for "inappropriate actions" when he was ejected after arguing a call on the field Tuesday night. ... Guzman and Zimmerman extended their hitting streaks to 17 and 15 games, respectively. ... Braves OF Nate McLouth (strained left hamstring) missed his second straight game but hopes to return following Thursday's off day. ... LaRoche had his 11th career multi-homer game.