WASHINGTON — The Nationals have experienced a lot of disappointment at the hands of the Braves since the start of last season.
It was Atlanta who looked frustrated Sunday.
Tanner Roark won his fourth straight start, Tampa Catholic product Denard Span had an RBI double and Washington beat the Braves 4-1 for a split of the four-game series between NL East rivals.
Span, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche had two hits each as the Nationals won the final two games of the series.
"That's a really good team that's had our number the last year and a half, two years. This is a step in the right direction," a cautious Ryan Zimmerman said. "I really don't think they're going anywhere."
The Nationals improved to 3-7 against Atlanta this season and 9-20 since the beginning of 2013.
Roark labored for 51/3 innings but helped Washington increase its division lead over the Braves to 11/2 games.
"You know what, it's funny, baseball is," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If we would've lost the first two games and won the last two games you'd be feeling pretty good about yourselves. It didn't happen that way, it happened the other way, so you're not feeling real good about yourself."