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PIT@WSH: Gio fans 11 in 5 2/3 innings

The Nationals have no time to waste. Washington needs wins in the worst way.

"I see us being in a tough spot with time running out," said first baseman Adam LaRoche. "We need to make a move pretty quick. ... We've put ourselves in this spot, so we've got to find a way to get out of it."

The Nationals sit four games below the .500 mark as they enter Tuesday's tilt, the second of a three-game series against National League East-leading Atlanta.

"In my 10 years, I've never been as confused as I have been this year just trying to pinpoint what the issue is," LaRoche said. "Pitching's been good overall. You look up and down the lineup and guys don't have terrible numbers."

The other half of the equation, Atlanta, isn't as complex to solve. Monday's triumph at Nationals Park was the Braves' 11th straight win.

"The Braves have been great," LaRoche said. "They seem to have not hit a skid yet this whole year, other than a few games, and that's pretty rare, too. We can't worry about them a whole lot. We've got enough things we've got to figure out."

It will be up to Washington southpaw Gio Gonzalez to halt the Braves' streak. The hurler, who was exonerated from the Biogenesis scandal on Monday, has compiled a 7-4 record and 3.57 ERA in 22 starts this season.

On Wednesday, Gonzalez became the first Nationals pitcher since Jason Simontacchi in 2007 to allow 10 runs in a game. Gonzalez surrendered 10 runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Julio Teheran (8-5, 3.02 ERA) is slated to take the hill for the Braves.

Braves: Teheran in a groove
Over his last three outings -- all wins -- Teheran has posted a 1.00 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 18 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander held the Rockies to one run on five hits in five innings on Thursday. He tallied 11 strikeouts.

"Julio wasn't as sharp as we've seen before, but boy, he battled," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Nationals: Team taking day-by-day approach
• Having yet to live up to vaulted expectations for the 2013 campaign, the Nationals are searching for ways to jump-start a winning streak.

"At this point in time, you have to really, really focus on one day at a time, pitch to pitch, out to out, and then see what happens," said reliever Tyler Clippard. "Obviously, sweeping would be nice, 10 in a row would be nice, whatever it is. You just can't let yourself go there until it starts happening, and it's not going to start happening unless you're executing pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat, so that's kind of our focus right now."

• Outfielder Jayson Werth was named the NL Player of the Month for July. He is the first Nats position player to win the award since the team moved to Washington in 2005.

Worth noting
• The Nationals are 48-13 when they score three or more runs and 6-45 when they score two runs or fewer.

• Braves outfielder Justin Upton has four home runs in August. He had four home runs in May, June and July combined.

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