Suzuki hits career-high 16th homer, but Nationals rally to defeat Braves

Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki is unable to get the tag on a sliding Ryan Zimmerman during the eighth inning of Atlanta’s 7-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. • AP photo

ATLANTA (AP) — Kurt Suzuki hit his career-high 16th home run in the fifth inning, but the Atlanta Braves gave up six runs to the Washington Nationals in the eighth to lose 7-3 on Wednesday.

Suzuki, a 2001 graduate of Baldwin High School, launched a solo shot to left field off Gio Gonzalez leading off the bottom of the fifth inning — his first home run since Aug. 25 — to put Atlanta ahead 2-1.

Playing in his 11th major league season, Suzuki topped his season-best home run total set in 2009 with the Oakland Athletics — he hasn’t hit more than eight homers in a season since 2012.

The Braves’ lead held up until the eighth. Pinch hitter Wilmer Difo singled, Trea Turner doubled and Jayson Werth walked against Jose Ramirez (2-3) to load the bases. Braves manager Brian Snitker brought in closer Arodys Vizcaino, and the move quickly backfired.

Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon walked, and Vizcaino left without a retiring a batter. Rex Brothers then gave up Adam Lind’s two-run single and Michael Taylor’s RBI single to make it 7-2.

Ramirez allowed three runs, two hits and one walk with one strikeout in 1/3 of an inning.

Braves starter Lucas Sims pitched five innings, giving up one run, three hits and two walks. The rookie struck out six.

Gonzalez (15-7) pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs, three hits and one walk.

Turner hit Sims’ first pitch of the game over the left-field wall, his 10th homer this season and sixth of his career to begin a game.

Freddie Freeman’s 28th homer made it 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Jace Peterson homered off Matt Albers in the eighth.