Zimmerman, Nationals top Braves

Ryan Zimmerman broke the game open with a three-run double in the seventh inning and Washington beat Atlanta, 7-4, in a battle between the top two teams in the National League East.

Ian Desmond had a two-run single and Rick Ankiel smacked a two-run triple, both in the first inning, for the division-leading Nationals, who won for the fourth time in five contests. All of Washington's runs came with two outs.

Ross Detwiler allowed five hits and three runs while fanning five and walking four over 4 1/3 innings in the start. Chien-Ming Wang (1-0), who made his season debut after been reinstated from the disabled list on Tuesday, pitched three innings to get the win.

Tim Hudson (3-2) was shelled for eight hits and seven runs over 6 2/3 innings for the Braves, who suffered their season-high fifth straight loss.

Jason Heyward homered and Matt Diaz drove in three runs in a losing effort. Martin Prado had a pair of doubles and a triple, and scored twice.

Holding a one-run lead, the Nationals got some insurance in the seventh. Wang walked with two outs and Steve Lombardozzi doubled to right field. After Harper walked, Zimmerman drove an 0-2 pitch to the gap in left-center and the rolling hit to the wall expanded the margin to 7-3.

"Our pitching is good, but anytime you can continue to widen the gap that's something we need to work on," Zimmerman said. "We'll get better as it goes on. It's just one of those things, we continue to learn from our mistakes and get better at that."

Heyward homered to right in the eighth, but Tyler Clippard fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth to record his second save.

Washington came into this three-game series with a one-game lead on Atlanta, and revved up its offense right away. Bryce Harper singled and Zimmerman doubled, both with one out. With two down, Desmond hit a bouncer into center field for a 2-0 lead. Danny Espinosa was then hit by a pitch, and Ankiel followed with a three-bagger, high off the wall in left-center.

"They had a couple of scoring opportunities and took advantage of it," Hudson said. "I was one pitch away from getting out of all the jams, but tip your hat, they took advantage of it and got some base hits and got us in a hole early."

The Braves had a total of three men in scoring position in the first two innings, but came up empty each time. They finally cashed in during the third when Diaz singled in Prado.

It became a 4-3 game in the fifth when a Diaz double to right-center field plated Prado and Dan Uggla. Diaz was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

Game Notes

Braves catcher David Ross suffered a right groin strain in the second inning and is day-to-day. Ross was pinch-run for by Brian McCann, who had been out the previous three contests with flu-like symptoms...Chipper Jones didn't start for a seventh straight game due to a left calf contusion. The Braves are 19-5 with him in the starting lineup this season, but 7-16 without him...After the game, it was announced Jones would be going on the DL...Hudson fell to 14-4 lifetime against the Nationals franchise.