- Associated Press - Sunday, August 21, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Brian Snitker described Tyrell Jenkins’ fourth-inning collapse as a rookie’s growing pains.

Even so, it was difficult for the interim manager and Braves fans to watch.

Jenkins was impressive for three innings before giving up eight runs in the fourth, and Atlanta’s late comeback fell short in an 11-9 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

Jenkins (2-4) 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.”



The Braves led 3-1 after three innings, and Jenkins retired the Nationals in order in the third.

“I thought the way the first three innings went the kid was going to go seven innings,” Snitker said. “His stuff was crisp, his location was good, and then his stuff wasn’t so good, location wasn’t so good. It kind of completely turned upside down pretty much.

“It’s just part of a young pitcher’s plight trying to get to where they want to go.”

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner hit homers in Washington’s big fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also homered among his three hits in his return from the disabled list.

Washington set a Nationals record with nine hits in the inning, including eight straight, and had 17 hits in the game.

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.

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.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker applauded the spirit the last-place Braves showed with their five runs in the last two innings.

“You’ve got to give those guys over there credit,” Baker said. “They don’t quit. They keep fighting and fighting. … Most teams if they were where they are now, this time of year, their spirit would be broken. They’ve got a lot of spirit over there.”

The first-place Nationals have won the first three games of this series and are 11-1 against the Braves this season.

Murphy led off the fourth 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.

Even Scherzer joined the fun with a run-scoring single in the fourth.

Scherzer beat out an infield hit in the seventh to drive in another run.

Anthony Rendon had four hits and scored three runs.

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.”

BIGGER INNING

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.

TRAINER’S ROOM

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.

UP NEXT

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.

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