The Braves may be atop the National League East with a 14 1/2-game lead on the Nationals, but that doesn't mean there has been a shortage of fireworks between the two clubs this season.
That's because it's included plenty of plunkings, ejections and overall bad blood.
With Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hit three times in the past three meetings, Nats right-hander Stephen Strasburg returned the favor Saturday. He threw three straight wild pitches, two behind Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, in the second inning and was ejected. Warnings had been issued to both benches when Strasburg hit Justin Upton in the first inning.
We'll see what happens in the series finale Sunday at Turner Field.
"It was whatever," said Braves outfielder Jason Heyward. "For us, it was like, 'If it happens, big deal. If not, big deal.' We're just playing baseball, competing and having fun. It's a part of the game, you just hope nobody gets hurt."
Much of this drama began because Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, who will face the Nationals for the first time since a benches-clearing shouting match on Aug. 6, hit Harper after the Nationals' All-Star blasted a towering home run. Teheran (9-6, 3.08 ERA) earned a win in that game, throwing six innings of one-run ball, but took a loss his last time out against the Phillies.
Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez gets the nod for Washington. He pitched four scoreless innings Tuesday against the Giants before a rain delay and back discomfort shortened his outing.
Winless in his past five starts, the left-hander has been unsteady of late. While he's tossed two quality starts in the past month, Gonzalez also had a rough outing on July 31, when he allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Tigers.
In eight career starts against the Braves, Gonzalez is 2-5 with a 5.24 ERA.
Nationals: Jordan shut down with back strain
The Nationals placed right-hander Taylor Jordan on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and recalled outfielder/first baseman Tyler Moore from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday.
In his third stint with the Nationals, Moore is batting .164 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 43 games. Moore worked with Triple-A hitting coach Troy Gingrich on being more selective after his most recent demotion.
"Troy told me to slow it down," Moore said. "The ball started slowing down. It felt back to normal."
Braves: Heyward producing in leadoff role
Since moving to the leadoff spot on July 27, Heyward is batting .375 (30-for-80) with 23 runs scored and 15 RBIs in 20 games. He has 12 multihit games in that span, with a .451 on-base percentage and .589 slugging percentage.
Heyward went 2-for-7 on Saturday with two home runs, his second and third long balls in the leadoff spot.
• Gonzalez will be facing Atlanta for the ninth time in 48 starts, which dates back to May 27, 2012.
• Upton has a team-high 11 game-winning RBIs this season, which is tied for sixth in the NL.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.