ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves needed six tries to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. Devin Bush Jersey . Justin Upton thinks the Braves took too long. "Weve battled them hard and weve let some games get away late," Upton said. "Its nice to get a win. We had to work for this one, so it was nice to see." Ervin Santana won his sixth straight start at Turner Field, Upton drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Atlanta Braves snapped a two-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup after missing six games with a sprained left ankle and had two RBIs for the Braves, who had lost 11 of 13. Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6) left the game with a right gluteus muscle injury after allowing six hits and three runs with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. "I dont think its something serious right now," Ryu said through a translator. "Its not like my arm blew out. I think I can jump right back on the mound. I just want to be cautious of it as well." The victory allowed second-place Atlanta to stay five games behind Washington in the NL East. Los Angeles, which leads San Francisco by five games in the NL West, was trying to earn a sixth straight win over the Braves for the first time since Sept. 20, 1987-April 16, 1988. Santana (12-6) improved to 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last six starts overall, giving up eight hits, two runs and two walks with nine strikeouts in six innings. The right-hander improved to 8-2 with a 3.48 ERA at Turner Field this year. Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel got the last three outs to earn his 35th save in 39 chances. He walked the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter Andre Either, and the next batter, Dee Gordon, reached on a bunt single. Kimbrel struck out Yasiel Puig for the first out and gave up a single to Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases before Matt Kemp grounded into a double play to end the game. "The moment doesnt get away from him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Kimbrel. "He has the maturity of being in situations closing big games, but he doesnt get rattled a lot." The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Carl Crawford and Miguel Rojas. The Braves cut the lead to 2-1 in their half of the second when Evan Gattis doubled, moved to third on a bunt and scored on Simmons RBI groundout. Chris Johnson, who was hitting .434 against left-handers this season, decided on his own to move over Gattis with a rare sacrifice against Ryu. "Whatever it takes to win ballgames, whatever it takes to runs, weve got to do that," Johnson said. "We cant sit on our ego or anything like that. If I have to bunt, I have to bunt." Simmons bloop RBI single in the fourth tied the score 2-2. Atlanta went up in the fifth. Jason Heyward, batting leadoff for the first time since June 17, singled, advanced when Freeman was hit by a pitch and scored from second on Uptons RBI single. Puig went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and one walk. TRAINERS ROOM Dodgers: Ryu grabbed the back of his top right leg after as he stood in front of the mound after walking B.J. Upton in the sixth and motioned for a trainer. He walked off the field under his own power. The Dodgers are listing him as day to day. Braves: Simmons, who went 1 for 4, appeared to run and field with no ill effects after missing the last six games with a sprained left ankle. UP NEXT Dodgers: RHP Roberto Hernandez (6-8) will make his second start since arriving in an Aug. 8 trade with Philadelphia, has a 2.87 ERA and a .189 opponents batting average in his last eight games. Braves: RHP Aaron Harang (9-6) didnt receive a decision in his last five starts despite a 2.81 ERA. SMILES IN THE USA: Atlanta bullpen coach Eddie Perez, a native of Venezuela, said before the game that he took a U.S. oath of naturalization in the morning with his family in attendance. Perez, the 1999 NLCS MVP and a Braves coach since 2005, was shown on the video board before the start of the fourth inning and waved to the cheering crowd. Ernie Stautner Youth Jersey . Now the Minnesota Vikings have set their sights on soccer. Terrell Edmunds Steelers Jersey . I kind of got a taste of being able to pick a suit with the draft lottery, I went with the bow tie. http://www.steelersrookiestore.com/Steelers-Lc-Greenwood-Jersey/ . Harrison Barnes had 15 points and Reggie Bullock scored 11 for the Tar Heels (17-3, 4-1 ACC), who took the court for the first time without starter Dexter Strickland. The junior guard tore his right ACL last Thursday at Virginia Tech and will miss the rest of the season.DENVER -- Early on, Stephen Strasburg didnt have his best stuff and yet the powerful right-hander tried to bear down to keep his team close. Almost paid off, too. The Washington Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth before falling 6-4 to Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Strasburg (7-8) settled in after a shaky start, giving up four runs -- three of which were in the first -- and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings. "Giving up three runs early, I couldve easily shut it down," Strasburg said. "I didnt want to do that. I wanted to keep it as close as possible. Give the guys a chance to come back -- anything can happen here." And almost did. Closer LaTroy Hawkins got the first two outs in the ninth, before allowing RBI singles to Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon to make it a 6-4 game. With the bases loaded, Hawkins struck out Ian Desmond to end the rally. "You have to tip your cap sometimes. He did a good job," Desmond said. "He made some pitches on me. "We did a good job battling back right there. We kept on grinding away. Ill take us in that situation a lot of times." Denard Span had four hits for the Nationals, who finished the season series 5-1 against Colorado. He was one of the few to have success against De La Rosa, who gave the Rockies a badly needed boost as they snapped a seven-game skid. "Jorge, another great outing. He did it again," manager Walt Weiss said. "Were scuffling like crazy and he takes the ball and gives us a great performance and wins the game." The Rockies tried a little bit of everything to break out of their funk. They wore their socks high and even engaged in a pregame staring contest. Turns out, the best cure for their slump was simply the left arm of De La Rosa. De La Rosa (11-6) struck out a season-high 11 as he pitched efficiently into the eighth inning. He kept the Nationals guessing by effectively mixing in a changeup with his 89-mph cutter. "All my pitches were working really good today," said De La Rosa, who allowed two runs -- one earned -- before being lifted for a reliever with one out in the eighth. Mike Webster Womens Jersey. "My command of all my pitches was really good today." The Rockies decided as a team to wear their socks high, just to try something new. Even Weiss followed the trend. This helped ease the tension, too: Prior to the first pitch, Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes and Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett engaged in quite a stare-down, with both players standing near the dugout holding their hats over their chest to see who would blink first. After several minutes, Barnes finally gestured toward Barrett that they settle it with a game of rock-paper-scissor. Right after De La Rosas warmup pitches, home plate umpire Paul Emmel told Barnes go into the dugout, with Barrett throwing his hands up in triumph. "Well do any stare-down to win games, for sure," joked Nolan Arenado. Once again, De La Rosa mastered a park that typically isnt friendly to pitchers. Hes 42-14 lifetime at Coors Field. "This is the perfect park for me," he said. Usually, its the hitters saying that. De La Rosa had his pitches dancing all day. He struck out Bryce Harper three times. The Nationals were just 1 of 14 with runners in scoring position off De La Rosa. "He knows how to pitch here," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Hes got a surprising fast ball when he needs it, but he relies on his changeup a lot. Thats a great strategy here. "Hes a good pitcher. He pitches well." The Nationals were without infielder Ryan Zimmerman, who went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained right hamstring. "Its a pretty substantial strain of the hamstring," Williams said. "You never know how its going to react, so well just take it day by day. Its going to be a couple of weeks at least. Well see where he is at the end of that and go from there. He pulled it good." NOTES: Werth wasnt in the starting lineup because of a tender right knee. ... The Nationals are off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Cincinnati. ' ' '