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Zimmerman, Max power Nats past Braves

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ATLANTA -- 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 4 1/2 games of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"One hundred [RBIs] is kind of the benchmark that everyone tries to get to in a season," Zimmerman said. "…It is nice to be able to stay healthy and to be apart of this lineup. It is hard to drive in 100 runs if you don't have other good players on your team."

Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- 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 4 1/2 games of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"One hundred [RBIs] is kind of the benchmark that everyone tries to get to in a season," Zimmerman said. "…It is nice to be able to stay healthy and to be apart of this lineup. It is hard to drive in 100 runs if you don't have other good players on your team."

Full Game Coverage

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.

Video: WSH@ATL: Turner opens the scoring with a single

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.

"I thought I did a lot of things well tonight," Scherzer said. "The only thing I am really upset with myself about is the leadoff walk [in the fifth inning]. I felt like I executed. They were getting some hits on some executed pitches and sometimes you just tip your cap to them because that is baseball."

Video: WSH@ATL: Scherzer records 250th K in stellar outing

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.

"[Scherzer] is tough every time you face him," Swanson said. "When his command is good, like it was tonight, it's definitely tough. He's one of the best in the game, for sure."

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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.

Video: WSH@ATL: Rendon doubles, Turner scores in the 7th

Gohara had limited the Nationals to two runs (one earned) over six innings at Nationals Park on Sept. 13.

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"I like the fact he got us into the seventh inning," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "The kid competes. This is a really good-hitting ballclub. This is the second time they've seen him too. He had a chance to win the game."

Video: WSH@ATL: Gohara fans Taylor to end the inning

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Prevailing effort: 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.

"We had chances," Snitker said. "We narrowed the gap there. Against a guy like that, it's like let's keep it as close as long as we can and then maybe get something going against the next guy that comes in the game."

Bullpen closure: Following seven strong innings from Scherzer, the Nationals' bullpen was able to work through the heart of the Braves lineup. Relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle combined to throw two hitless innings, striking out one apiece.

"Doolittle looked good in the ninth and I think Madson had some very tough hitters in the eighth," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We're always a little nervous when Freddie Freeman is up there, but you hate you to put the tying run on base and let them get one hit to take the lead. [Madson] pitched Freddie tough and that is the best I have seen anyone pitch Freddie."

Video: WSH@ATL: Doolittle fans Adams to record the save

QUOTABLE
"He's a true pro. He never gives in during any at-bat. I think that just shows you a lot. He came through in a big situation tonight. It's pretty inspiring watching guys do that." -- Swanson, on Suzuki's 10-pitch battle that concluded with a RBI single in the fourth

Video: WSH@ATL: Suzuki knocks in Freeman in the 4th

"I think it means that the sprinting paid off. It was a lot of diving and and a lot of pickoffs with the sprinting. I think that is what I bring to this team and that is trying to get into scoring position without a hit or a walk or something done by the guy behind me." -- Turner, on becoming the Nationals' single-season steals leader

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With two steals on Tuesday against the Braves, Turner passed Alfonso Soriano for first place on the Nationals' single-season steals list. He now has 42 steals on the season.

Video: WSH@ATL: Turner sets club record with 42nd steal

WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez will start against Atlanta at SunTrust Park as the series continues Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Gonzalez is 10-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 15 road starts. However, he has yet to beat the Braves in three chances this season.

Braves: Lucas Sims will take the mound when this series resumes Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Sims worked into the sixth inning in five of the seven starts he made before being moved to the bullpen earlier this month.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta who covered the Nationals on Tuesday.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.