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WSH@ATL: Santana fans four Nats in 11th win of season

The Dodgers and Braves will enter Wednesday's bout at Turner Field on opposite sides of their respective division races.

After Tuesday night's 4-2 loss and a Nationals' victory over the Mets, the Braves now trail Washington by five games in the National League East, the largest margin of the season. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have a comfortable lead in the NL West.

Right-hander Ervin Santana will try to help the Braves rebound and avoid a pivotal series defeat when he takes the mound Wednesday against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the third game of a four-game set in Atlanta.

Santana didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning during his last start against the Nationals on Friday. He coasted through his first five frames, holding Washington scoreless. But the right-hander unraveled in the sixth inning when rain started to fall, surrendering four runs, three of which came on a home run from Anthony Rendon.

It was the first time since July 9 that Santana allowed four earned runs in a start.

"[Santana] was really in control of the whole game," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But when you crack the door open a little bit for a good team like that, they're going to put a big number on you and they did."

Ryu shut down the Angels in his last start on Thursday with seven innings of two-hit ball. He's given up three or fewer earned runs in each of his past five starts -- four of them wins -- as his season ERA has dropped from 3.65 to 3.21. Ryu sports a 13-5 record on the year.

"I thought he did a nice job of changing speeds, using both sides of the plate," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Ryu on Thursday. "He was able to keep them off balance enough and use all of his pitches. He's a guy that's a handful for anybody, and adding the slider is another weapon for him."

Dodgers: Puig works with Lopes after pickoff
After Braves starter Julio Teheran picked off Yasiel Puig in Monday's game, the outfielder showed up early at Turner Field on Tuesday to work on his baserunning with first-base coach Davey Lopes.

Lopes stole 557 bags in his career, and his 83 percent success rate ranks third all time among those with at least 500 steals. Mattingly didn't see Tuesday's workout, but he said it involved getting back to first base.

"It seems like he's been picked [off] a couple of times lately, but there's been numerous times where you feel like his footwork's off getting back," Mattingly said. "I'm assuming that's what Davey's working on. It's things you work on."

Braves: Simmons could return Wednesday
Andrelton Simmons, who sprained his left ankle in a game against the Mariners on Aug. 5, declared on Monday night that he was ready to return to action, but the shortstop was left out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight time Tuesday night against the Dodgers because of lingering soreness.

Gonzalez said the soreness was likely the result of stress placed on the ankle during batting practice on Monday.

"He's a little sore," Gonzalez said Tuesday. "He's going to do some more stuff today [during batting practice]. He's available during the course of the game. But our medical staff didn't want to start him. They wanted to give him another day."

Simmons was available off the bench in Atlanta's 4-2 loss. He was on-deck to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth inning, but B.J. Upton struck out to end the game.

Worth Noting
• Braves right-handed reliever Shae Simmons completed a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday afternoon in pain-free fashion. This marked the first time he threw off the mound since being placed on the disabled list on July 29 with a right shoulder strain.

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