ATLANTA — Rookie Rio Ruiz hit his first major league homer, and veterans Matt Kemp and Tyler Flowers also went deep as the Atlanta Braves continued their power display against the nemesis Washington Nationals.
Atlanta’s rain-interrupted, 5-2 victory on Saturday was just the sixth win in the past 24 games for the Braves against the Nationals, who also allowed three homers in a 7-4 loss on Friday.
The homers by Ruiz and Kemp came against starter Max Scherzer, while Flowers connected off reliever Matt Albers.
The Nationals (25-17) lead the Braves (18-22) by six games in the National League East but have lost four straight games and seven of their past eight on the road.
Scherzer (4-3) didn’t come back after a rain delay of nearly two hours, having needed 106 pitches to make it through five innings — his shortest outing of the year.
Scherzer allowed three runs and four hits while striking out six and walking three. The homers by Ruiz and Kemp raised the total that the 2016 National League Cy Young Award winner has surrendered to nine in nine starts.
Ruiz’s home run in the second inning followed a two-out walk to Dansby Swanson, the third baseman’s smash on a 2-2 pitch just clearing the 16-foot wall in right field.
Kemp’s eighth homer of the season came on a 3-2 pitch leading off the fourth inning. Kemp was able to check his swing on the previous pitch, and then Scherzer again missed his spot with a two-seam fastball.
Hurt by his own throwing error, Braves starter Bartolo Colon couldn’t make it through the needed five innings to qualify for a victory.
RBI singles by Trae Turner and Jayson Werth chased Colon, who threw 97 pitches in 4 1/3 innings while allowing seven hits, walking none and striking out six.
Reliever Ian Krol kept the Braves ahead by getting Bryce Harper to pop out and fanning Ryan Zimmerman with two runners on.
Krol (1-1) got credit for the victory, and Jim Johnson pitched the ninth inning for his eighth save.
The Braves added a sixth-inning run when the Nationals couldn’t turn a double play, and Flowers smashed his second homer of the season in the eighth.
NOTES: The Braves, trying to cover for the loss of 1B Freddie Freeman (broken left wrist), obtained 1B/OF Matt Adams from St. Louis on Saturday in exchange for minor league INF Juan Yepez. Adams, a .271 career hitter, is batting .292 with a homer and seven RBIs this season in 31 games this year, many as a pinch hitter. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-1, 3.42 ERA) will start Sunday’s series finale for the Nationals against LHP Jaime Garcia (1-2, 4.65 ERA). Strasburg is 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA in his past eight starts against Atlanta. … The Braves placed LHP Eric O’Flaherty (lower back strain) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled RHP Luke Jackson from Triple-A Gwinnett. … The Braves acquired RHP Enrique Burgos from Arizona for cash considerations and assigned him to Gwinnett. Atlanta RHP Chaz Roe (right lat strain) was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.