WASHINGTON -- Kris Medlen understood the enormity of his latest start and he delivered.
The Braves starter pitched seven shutout innings in his latest winning performance and Martin Prado's two-run double proved decisive to help Atlanta end a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Medlen (5-1) allowed seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in his fifth start of the season. The Braves have won 16 consecutive starts behind the right-hander dating back to May 2010.
More importantly, Atlanta salvaged the three-game divisional series and halted the Nationals three-game winning streak. The Braves, who entered the day atop the National League wild card chase, moved within six games of the NL East leading Nationals.
"If nothing else, we get a chance to just go, 'Phew,'" said Braves third baseman Chipper Jones following the win and before the team headed off to face San Francisco. "You know, take a deep breath and a win like this kind of rejuvenates us.
"So I think if we were heading out to the Left Coast having lost five in a row, there's always that little check in your spirit in the back of your mind ... this win allows us to take a deep breath and hopefully build some momentum going out West."
Coming off a shutout in his last outing, Medlen extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings. Since entering the Braves rotation on July 31, Medlen is 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA.
"Yes, I guess you can call it the biggest game of my career just because we needed a stop and I was up to the challenge, and I just tried to challenge the hitters," Medlen said.
Prado's fifth-inning double gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead. After the Nationals cut the lead in half in the eighth, the Braves pulled away with three runs in the ninth.