published Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Rick Ankiel blasts doom Braves

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WASHINGTON -- Rick Ankiel hit two home runs and Livan Hernandez allowed one run over six innings and drove in a run to lead the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

Ankiel, who played for the Braves last year, led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer to center field. It was the second time this season the Nationals' opening hitter homered -- Jayson Werth did so on June 16 against St. Louis.

His homer in the fifth inning landed deep in the second deck in left field. It was the fifth multihomer game of his career, and the solo shots gave Ankiel five home runs this season.

Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla homered twice, in the second and ninth innings, giving him 22 this season. Uggla went 3-for-4, extending his careerlong hitting streak to 23 games.

Hernandez (6-10) allowed six hits and did not walk a batter as the Nationals won their third straight game. Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his 27th save.

Jair Jurrjens (12-4) allowed five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, his first loss in eight starts.

Center fielder Michael Bourn made his first appearance for the Braves after being acquired from Houston on Sunday.

"I think he's going to fit in right away with our group of guys," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the game.

Bourn, batting leadoff, got his first hit as a Brave with a single on the second pitch of the game. Bourn finished 1-for-4.

Werth led off the bottom of the second with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. With two outs, Atlanta intentionally walked No. 8 hitter Wilson Ramos to face Hernandez, who slapped an opposite-field single to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

The Nationals scored twice in the sixth inning. Laynce Nix drove in the first run with a single, and Werth scored from third on a fielder's-choice groundout by Ian Desmond.

David Ross homered in the seventh for Atlanta, and Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a fourth-inning single.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said pitcher Stephen Strasburg, recovering from Tommy John surgery, likely will have a minor league rehab start next week. General manager Mike Rizzo has said Strasburg may be able to return to the Nationals in September, and Johnson suggested Strasburg may replace Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation. Zimmermann had the same surgery in 2009 and the Nationals have said his innings will be limited this season.

Atlanta placed reliever Scott Linebrink on the 15-day disabled list with lower back strain.

Jurrjens was the No. 8 batter in Atlanta's lineup, the first time the Braves' starting pitcher was in the lineup outside of the No. 9 spot since Aug. 12, 1941, according to STATS LLC.

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