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BAL@WSH: Strasburg fans eight over five frames

Both the Braves and Nationals have Thursday off before beginning a three-game series in Washington on Friday. Neither team has had much time off this month, and both teams are happy to get a break in the schedule.

Going into the off-day, the Braves have played 33 games in 34 days and the Nationals have played 30 games in 31 days.

"Everybody needs an off-day here and there," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "Everybody gets some physical rest [Thursday] and then we go back out there."

Friday's game will be a rematch of last Saturday's Mike Minor-Stephen Strasburg pitching matchup. The Nationals won that game, 8-4, though neither Strasburg nor Minor pitched especially well. Both allowed four runs on six hits in five innings.

The Nationals swept the three-game series in Atlanta, part of a 5-4 road trip they finished with a 5-3 loss to the Marlins on Wednesday. Manager Davey Johnson said though the Nats finished with a winning record against three division rivals, having to place right-hander Ryan Mattheus and infielder Chad Tracy on the disabled list was tough.

"Hopefully we get a little healthy by Friday, but this has been a rough road trip," Johnson said. "It's the guys we lost that hurt on this road trip."

Braves: Simmons to join the Braves Friday
• After Wednesday's 10-7 victory, the Braves called up shortstop Andrelton Simmons from Double-A Mississippi and sent shortstop Tyler Pastornicky to Triple-A Gwinnett.

General manager Frank Wren said Simmons did everything the Braves wanted him to do after sending him to the Minor Leagues at the end of Spring Training.

"He's a special talent," Wren said.

Simmons hit .292 with a .372 on-base percentage in Double-A this season. He is expected to start at shortstop in his big league debut Friday night.

• Freeman returned to the lineup Wednesday night after missing the last four games with dry eyes that have made it impossible for him to wear contacts. Specially-made prescription sports glasses arrived from Oakley on Wednesday, and Freeman quickly made up for lost time.

Freeman hit a home run in his first at-bat with the new glasses, and he went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs. Freeman said he was pleased to do so well after spending a few days on the bench.

"I was surprised about how I haven't played in a few days and I was able to have a swing like that," Freeman said. "I wasn't really worried about the glasses."

• The calendar flips to June on Friday, but Martin Prado has made May a month to remember, hitting .398 and scoring 19 runs. In 28 games in the month, he raised his batting average 61 points and had 14 multi-hit games.

Prado celebrated the end of May by going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs in the Braves' 10-7 victory Wednesday.

Nationals: Morse nearing return, could come as soon as Friday
• Johnson said outfielder Michael Morse is progressing well during his rehab assignment in Class A Potomac. If Morse continues to progress Thursday, Johnson said there is "an outside possibility" of him returning Friday night.

Morse has been sidelined all year with a torn left lat muscle. When he returns, he should provide an immediate boost to the Nationals. Morse hit .303 with 31 home runs last season.

"If he's able to go, I'll throw him right out there," Johnson said. "He might connect and hit one hard. He would be a welcome addition."

• Right-hander Henry Rodriguez slammed his right index finger in a door and had to wear a protective sleeve Wednesday. Johnson is hopeful Rodriguez will be able to pitch Friday.

• Outfielder Bryce Harper went 0-for-4 Wednesday night, snapping his nine-game hitting streak in the Nationals' loss.

Worth noting
• The Nationals have won five straight games against the Braves dating back to last September. Comments