WASHINGTON (AP) - Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer to back an effective pitching performance by Gio Gonzalez, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Thursday night to keep alive their slim hope of reaching the playoffs.
With Washington's win, Atlanta's magic number to clinch the National League East remained at two. The Braves could clinch the title as early as Friday with a win over the Cubs and a Nationals loss to the Marlins.
Despite winning 11 of 13 in a belated run, the Nationals still trail Cincinnati by five games for the final NL wild-card slot with nine games remaining.
Denard Span went 0 for 4 for Washington, ending his hitting streak at 29 games - one short of the Nationals record. He was bidding to become the 27th player to have a 30-game hitting streak since Joe DiMaggio had his 56-game run in 1941.
Gonzalez (11-7) allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings to improve to 3-0 against Miami this season. He struck out three, lifting his team-high total to 186.
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