Say this for the Braves and Nationals they added a little intrigue Tuesday night to a division race that’s all but over.

The NL East rivals got testy after a benches-clearing shouting match broke out between Bryce Harper and Julio Teheran in the fifth inning but it proved just a sideshow in another Braves victory. The Braves hung onto their 2-1 lead for four more innings to win their 12th in a row.

Harper took exception to being hit in the leg by a Teheran pitch which he interpreted as retaliation for admiring a home run two innings earlier – and probably rightly so. After being hit Harper immediately started shouting and pointing out at Teheran which drew both benches and bullpens onto the field in a wild fifth-inning moment.

“It’s part of the game and it’s something I guess he’s got to do” Harper told reporters in the calm of the Nationals clubhouse afterward.

Nothing was exchanged on the field other than words as emotions cooled. When the dust settled Teheran pitched out of the two-runner jam on the way to his ninth win.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the eighth with help from a Chris Johnson error but Luis Avilan got Adam LaRoche to ground out to end the threat. Jordan Walden pitched a scoreless eighth and Craig Kimbrel struck out Harper to complete his 35th save.

“I think after the Harper situation we wanted to win this game” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “So for Julio to get out that - it had been first and second with one out with their big guys coming up - that was a huge momentum shift to us after they got the crowd going right there.”

The Braves won the second game in the series and now have a two-touchdown lead in the division. They’re up 14 ½ games on the Nationals their largest lead since they led the NL East by 15 games on Aug. 28 2003. The Braves are also three wins from their matching their longest winning streak since moving to Atlanta of 15 games (2000).

A team that has struggled all year to win on the road is now 5-0 on this six-game jaunt through Philadelphia and Washington and over .500 on the road for the season at 31-30. The Braves have also won nine of 12 games this season against their NL East rival.

Evan Gattis came off the bench to collect the hit of the night as a last-minute replacement for Jason Heyward who left in the first inning with a neck muscle strain. Gattis’ two-out two-run single in the top of the fifth inning put the Braves up 2-1 and proved the difference.

“I just wanted to stay aggressive” Gattis said. “I didn’t want to leave those guys out there.”

Harper had homered to the grassy berm in straightaway center field on a first-pitch fastball from Teheran with one out in the third inning. That gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead for the second consecutive night. Harper took a few steps walking up the first base line to watch it clear the fence.

According to TaterTrotTracker.com it was the slowest trot around the bases of Harper’s career at 23.66 seconds.

“I didn’t watch; I was like concentrating on the next batter” said Teheran when asked if the home run trot had upset him.

The next time Harper came up Teheran hit him in the leg with a first-pitch fastball prompting Harper’s angry reaction. Teheran denied trying to hit Harper intentionally.

“I was just trying to get in there (inside)” Teheran said. “I didn’t want to make a mistake like I did with the homer and that’s how I hit him.”