Ryan Zimmerman reached 100 RBIs for the first time since 2009 as the Nationals continued to tune up for the postseason with a 4-2 win over the Braves on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park. The Nationals moved within five games of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the playoffs, pending the outcome of the Dodgers game on Tuesday night.
Zimmerman went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and capped a two-run third inning with an RBI single against Braves rookie Luiz Gohara. Trea Turner also had an RBI single in the inning and scored on Zimmerman’s knock..
Nationals starter Max Scherzer didn’t need much help on his way to making some history on Tuesday night. Scherzer reached 250 strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season when he fanned Gohara in the third. The righty went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits to pick up his 15th win.
The Braves’ offense put up a valiant effort against Scherzer. Kurt Suzuki drove in the Braves’ first run after a 10-pitch at-bat that saw him foul off a couple of tough sliders. An inning later, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson collected his 23rd double of the season to bring the deficit to 3-2.
But the Nationals added a late insurance run courtesy of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who ripped an RBI double off Gohara in the seventh inning, ending the southpaw’s night. Gohara finished with four runs and 11 hits allowed over 6 1/3 innings, taking the loss. He threw 71 of 93 pitches for strikes and didn’t allow a walk in his third start.
After Swanson’s double, Gohara sacrificed him to third, flipping the lineup and giving the Braves their best opportunity to tie the game against Scherzer. However, Scherzer struck out center fielder Jace Peterson and got second baseman Ozzie Albies to fly out to end the threat.