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Zimmermann uses arm, bat to spur Nationals past Braves 13-4 for series win

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ATLANTA — Now that the Washington Nationals have woken up their offense, Bryce Harper believes his team is ready to put it all together.

"We're having great at-bats, we're going up there with confidence and we're a great team," Harper said. "It's a matter of time. I think we have a lot of confidence in everybody on this club. We're going to have some fun."

Jordan Zimmermann won for the first time in four starts and hit a three-run single to help Washington beat the Atlanta Braves 13-4 on Wednesday night.

Denard Span, who had five hits the previous night, added a three-run homer in the ninth. The Nationals banged out 15 hits again, giving them 30 hits and 26 runs scored over the last two games.

The biggest swing in this one belonged to their starting pitcher. In 264 career at-bats over seven seasons, Zimmermann had just 12 RBIs, but his bases-loaded single in the four-run fourth inning gave Washington the lead for good.

With one swing, Zimmerman matched his RBI total from the previous two seasons.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Zimmerman said. "Thankfully, I got something down the middle and put a good swing on it."

On the mound, Zimmermann (2-2) gave up eight hits, one walk and four runs — three earned — with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Washington has won two straight after dropping six in a row. Atlanta has lost seven of nine.

Braves starter Alex Wood (1-1) allowed six hits and five runs, striking out eight in five innings. The left-hander had gone 15 straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs and had a 2.18 ERA over that span since last July 30 at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Usually when I get that early lead, I thrive," Wood said. "When they got those runs, that was disappointing."

PHOTO: Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson can't get to the single by Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson can't get to the single by Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Washington cut the lead to 2-1 in the second on Wilson Ramos' RBI single, but the Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the fourth.

Harper doubled and scored from second when left fielder Kelly Johnson bobbled Ryan Zimmerman's single. After Danny Espinosa singled and Uggla walked, Zimmermann cleared the bases with a single into the gap in left-center.

Trevor Cahill replaced Wood, giving up Uggla's RBI groundout in the sixth and Jayson Werth's RBI single and Espinosa's two-run single in the seventh to make it 9-4.

In the ninth, Uggla had an RBI single and Span added his second homer, a three-run shot off John Cornely, who made his major league debut, to put the Nationals up 13-4.

"We definitely needed to wake our bats up the last two games," Span said. "It's fun when guys are putting good swings on the ball. The whole cliche that hitting is contagious — I think the one last night was a good one to carry over to today."

The Braves went up 2-0 in the first on A.J. Pierzynski's two-run double and 3-1 in the third on Freddie Freeman's RBI single. Atlanta cut the lead to 5-4 in the fifth when Eric Young Jr. scored on Nick Markakis' double-play grounder.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer will to the rotation Friday at the New York Mets after missing his scheduled start Tuesday with a sprained right thumb. .. OF Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left leg. Michael Taylor, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the day, took his place on the roster. ... Manager Matt Williams said that 3B Anthony Rendon, on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, was out of the lineup for the fourth straight day with soreness in his side.

Braves: Manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Julio Teheran is healthy after being asked about the pitcher's knee the night before. Teheran has allowed 12 earned runs in his last three starts, a span of 15 innings. Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell watched video Wednesday with Teheran to show the staff ace that he's been throwing his fastball less than 50 percent of the time — a trend Gonzalez wants to stop.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2) is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA and has held the Mets to a .171 average in five career starts at Citi Field.

Braves: RHP Shelby Miller (3-0) has made six career starts against Cincinnati, going 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Washington Nationals' Denard Span (2) is congratulated by teammates after his three-run homer against the Atlanta Braves scored Dan Uggla (26) and Danny Espinosa during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Atlanta. Washington won the game 13-4. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
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