Zimmerman's return sparks Nationals to 11-9 win over Braves
ATLANTA (AP) Ryan Zimmerman's return from the disabled list helped Washington take a big lead with its highest-scoring inning of the season.
That big offense was just enough to overcome late struggles by the bullpen.
Zimmerman homered among his three hits and the Nationals used an eight-run fourth inning to take control before holding on for an 11-9 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner hit homers in Washington's big fourth inning against Tyrell Jenkins (2-4). The Nationals trailed 3-1 before setting a season high for runs in an inning and taking a 9-3 lead.
Zimmerman drove in two runs.
''It's huge,'' Turner said of Zimmerman's return to the lineup. ''He's obviously a great hitter. He's proven it throughout his career and he showed again tonight what he's capable of.''
Washington set a Nationals record with nine hits in the inning, including eight straight, and had 17 hits in the game.
Zimmerman, who had been out since Aug. 1 with a bruised left wrist, lined a first-pitch homer over the left-field wall in the second inning.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker was expecting a big impact from Zimmerman.
''I didn't think he was going to hit it that quick, the first pitch he saw,'' Baker said. ''If it was that easy, I'd have said it a long time ago. I was glad that he was here to help us.''
Max Scherzer (13-7) allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, regrouping after giving up three runs in the second.
Mark Melancon gave up a two-run single to Chase d'Arnaud, cutting the lead to two, before recording the final out for his 36th save.
The first-place Nationals have won the first three games of this series and are 11-1 against the last-place Braves this season.
Murphy also had three hits, including two in the fourth. He led off the inning with his 23rd homer, caught by a fan wearing a red Bryce Harper jersey on the first row of the right-field seats. Turner added a three-run homer off Jenkins, who gave up nine runs while lasting only 3 1/3 innings.
''Unfortunately, it just got out of hand,'' Jenkins said. ''It was tough. ... Going into the fourth it just kind of unraveled.''
Even Scherzer joined the fun with a run-scoring single in the fourth.
''Dusty had the confidence in me to go ahead and slash there,'' Scherzer said. ''As soon as I got the sign I said `Heck yeah, let's go.'''
Scherzer beat out an infield hit in the seventh to drive in another run.
Anthony Rendon had four hits and scored three runs.
Adonis Garcia had a two-run double in Atlanta's three-run second. Jeff Francoeur drove in a run with a pinch-hit, bases-loaded single off Matt Belisle in the eighth. Koda Glover gave up three runs in the ninth before giving way to Melancon.
The nine hits in the fourth were the most for the Nationals/Expos franchise since Montreal had 13 hits and scored 13 runs in the sixth inning of a 19-3 win over San Francisco on May 7, 1997.
DANSBY'S DAY OFF
Braves rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, had his first break from the starting lineup since being called up on Wednesday.
''Just pick and choose, really,'' Snitker said of the decision. ''He doesn't need to go out there every day. It's going to be a big enough acclimation to the major leagues.''
The Nationals also reinstated catcher Jose Lobaton from the DL. He Lobaton has been out since July 20 with left elbow tendinitis. Right-hander A.J. Cole and catcher Pedro Severino were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez will look for his 100th career win in the finale of the four-game series. Gonzalez threw six scoreless innings but received no decision in his only other start of the season against Atlanta, a 2-1 Nationals win on April 12.
Braves: Joel De La Cruz (0-6) will make his first start against Washington.