Inciarte Goes 3 For 4 And Scored 3 Times As Braves Beat Nats Saturday

ATLANTA — Trea Turner hit two home runs for the Washington Nationals, but the Atlanta Braves’ leadoff hitter had a highly productive day as well.

Ender Inciarte was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring three times, as the Braves got to Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez for a 7-3 victory on Saturday.

“I’m coming to expect it, quite honestly,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said of Inciarte, who leads the majors with 87 hits since the All-Star break to raise his average to .293. “Every time he comes up, you expect him to get a hit and he’s doing something good on the bases. Prototypical leadoff guy, he’s on base all the time.”

It was just the third win of the season for the Braves over the National League East-leading Nationals in 18 games.

“Maybe the law of averages was on their side to win one today,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.

Josh Collmenter, picked up from the Chicago Cubs organization after he was released by Arizona earlier in the season, went five innings to get a win in his Atlanta debut.

“It was great,” Collmenter said. “The guys hit today, so any time you get a lead you want to protect that. Aside from the two balls that left the yard, I feel good about most of my stuff.”

The homers by Turner were the fifth and sixth of the season against the Braves in 12 games. The rookie, who also had a single, walk and stolen base, is batting .482 (27-for-56) with 16 RBIs and 19 runs against Atlanta.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever done this in my entire life with this much power in such a short time,” said Turner, who is hitting .356 with 11 homers and 27 stolen bases in 59 games. “It’s been fun having a few of them go over the fence.”

Turner hit the third pitch from Collmenter (2-0) for a homer and connected again leading off the fifth, but that was the only damage against the veteran right-hander who was Arizona’s Opening Day starter in 2015.

Collmenter, the 16th pitcher given a start by the Braves this season, struck out eight while allowing four hits over five innings. All three of his walks came in the second inning.

“He worked his butt off when he got in trouble,” Snitker said. “He never gave in, he just kept pitching. We needed someone to come in and stretch a game as far as they could. Five innings, we’ll take it.”

Gonzalez (11-10) lasted only 4 1/3 innings and was charged with six runs on nine hits. The veteran left-hander, who has a 7.11 ERA in four starts against the Braves this year, struck out seven, walked none and hit two batters.

“He made some good pitches. Those balls were just blooping in,” Baker said. “Heck, they hit just one ball hard.”

The Braves scored a run in the bottom of the first, two more in the third when they had four straight hits and three times in the fifth while chasing Gonzalez, who fell to 4-9 for his career against the Braves.

“I got beat by a lot of singles. Some were by just inches,” Gonzalez said. “It was one of those unfortunate things. You want to show you can pitch in this rotation and it was crappy the way today’s game went.”

Nick Markakis and Anthony Recker each had two hits and two RBIs for the Braves. Matt Kemp and Adonis Garcia also had two hits, and Freddie Freeman extended his career-best hitting streak to 21 games with an RBI single.

Washington’s Daniel Murphy extended in his hitting streak to 14 games with his league-leading 47th double, which tied the Nationals season record.

Murphy, who has a .348 average, has also tied the team record with 184 hits.

NOTES: RHP Joe Ross, who last pitched for the Nationals on July 2, will be activated from the 60-day disabled list and start against the Braves on Sunday. He was 7-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts before being sidelined by shoulder inflammation. The Nationals expect Ross to be limited to about three innings. … RHP Matt Wisler (6-12, 5.00 ERA) will start the series finale for the Braves. … Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, diagnosed with a strained flexor mass in his elbow, played light catch for about five minutes before the game as a first step in his attempt to return for the playoffs. He is 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA. … The Braves recalled RHP Tyrell Jenkins from Gwinnett and selected the contracts of 3B Rio Ruiz and OF/INF Emilio Bonafacio from the Triple-A team. … C A.J. Pierzynski (hamstring) and RHP Rob Whalen (shoulder) were moved to the 60-day disabled list by the Braves.

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