WASHINGTON -- After a three-game hiatus, Ryan Zimmerman didn't miss a beat in his return from a back injury. Zimmerman hit two home runs, including the go-ahead long ball in the sixth inning to lead the Nationals to a 10-5 win over the Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday night,
WASHINGTON -- After a three-game hiatus, Ryan Zimmerman didn't miss a beat in his return from a back injury. Zimmerman hit two home runs, including the go-ahead long ball in the sixth inning to lead the Nationals to a 10-5 win over the Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday night, snapping their four-game losing streak.
"I got the best seat in the house for it. I've been on deck for like, every single one of them," Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy said of Zimmerman's homers. "He doesn't give away a single pitch. It seems like the offense goes through him and Bryce [Harper], and it's been fun to watch."
Zimmerman is in the midst of a redemptive season, as he leads the Major Leagues with a .372 batting average. The 13-year veteran's two-run homer in the sixth -- which gave him 19 dingers on the year and tied him for the most in franchise history -- sparked the Nationals' five-run inning in which they overcame a two-run deficit to take an 8-5 lead.
Harper scored Ryan Raburn with a single before Zimmerman's home run, and Matt Wieters capped the frame by notching a two-run double. R.A. Dickey -- who allowed back-to-back homers in the first and then didn't surrender another run until the sixth -- was chased from the game in the inning without recording an out.
"I made some really good pitches that inning, and they just found some holes," Dickey said. "And then I made a mistake and got punished. Zimmerman hit two mistakes."
The Braves entered the bottom of the sixth with a 5-3 lead after Rio Ruiz smacked a homer off Joe Ross, who gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings. Washington allowed a combined 14 runs after the seventh inning the past three games due to the bullpen's struggles, but three relievers shut down the final 3 1/3 frames.
"I'm just glad that we broke this streak tonight," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "Especially at home, because you hate to lose at home."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Zim gives Nats the lead, climbs record books: Following his three-day absence from the lineup, the Nationals couldn't have asked much more of Zimmerman upon his return. The veteran first baseman delivered a two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Nats a 6-5 edge they wouldn't relinquish.
But the 446-foot blast, according to Statcast™, had even more significance than giving Washington the lead; it marked the 234th of Zimmerman's career, tying Vladimir Guerrero for the most in Nationals/Expos franchise history. He's currently just three homers away from tying Senators great Frank Howard for most ever for any D.C. club.
"He's an unbelievable player," Zimmerman said of Guerrero. "I've played for a long time now, but anytime you do anything with franchise records or guys who played here and were incredible players like Vlad was, it's humbling. It's fun to do that kind of stuff. You think about it and you enjoy it tonight, and tomorrow you kind of move on."
Nats bullpen closes it out: After failing to do so for much of the Nats' recent four-game skid, their bullpen found a way to close out a victory without much drama. After Ross exited the game, four relievers pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, highlighted by two frames from lefty Enny Romero. Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez combined to throw the ninth.
"Enny came in and did an outstanding job," Baker said. "He was … throwing quality strikes, and he had an electric fastball today."
"I was here when he came into the league. Got to know him, just talking to him as a third-base coach. You're talking about a quality person [who] just does everything the right way and carries himself unbelievably, is a true pro. I hope he doesn't do good against us, but he's one of those guys ... he's had injuries and he's doing well [now], and you like to see that." -- Braves manager Brian Snitker, on Zimmerman
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Nationals have scored an average of 10.63 runs per game in Ross' eight starts this season.
Braves: Atlanta will tap right hander Julio Teheran in Wednesday afternoon's series finale at Nationals Park at 4:05 p.m. ET. The right-hander will look to post a solid outing against a Washington lineup that has given him trouble since the start of the 2016 season.
Nationals:Tanner Roark will take the mound when the Nationals host the Braves on Wednesday. The right-hander, who gave up two earned runs in six innings in his previous start, is 5-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his career against the Braves. He'll face them for the first time this season.
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Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, and covered the Nationals Tuesday.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington, and covered the Braves Tuesday.