Nationals 6, Braves 4

WASHINGTON (AP) - Ryan Church hit a go-ahead, three-run double as last-place Washington beat the Atlanta Braves 6-to-4 Wednesday night for its fifth victory in six games.

Church's liner to right-center off Kyle Davies (1-2) capped a four-run fifth in which the Nationals batted around. All of the runs were unearned, thanks to second baseman Kelly Johnson's fielding error.

The big hit also helped Washington overcome a shaky first major league start by Levale Speigner, a Thomsasville, Georgia, native who until tonight was used primarily as a long reliever in his first season above Double-A.

Speigner was moved into the rotation to fill in for Shawn Hill, who's on the disabled list. The right-handed Speigner lasted four innings, allowing at least one hit in each, and gave up four runs and eight hits.

He was followed by Billy Traber (1-0), who earned the win by pitching his first inning of 2007 for the Nationals.

Atlanta took a 4-to-2 lead into the fifth. Chipper Jones, who missed the previous four games with bruised hands and thumbs, doubled and scored on Andruw Jones' two-run single in the first. Scott Thorman and Willie Harris drove in runs in the fourth.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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