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Ankiel powers Nats to win over Braves

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

WASHINGTON — Rick Ankiel kept up his sudden power surge, hitting a grand slam off Derek Lowe that sent the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 9-3 Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.

The Nationals have their longest winning streak since Davey Johnson became manager on June 27. Atlanta has lost three straight.

Ankiel connected for his sixth home run of the season. He homered twice Monday night against the Braves.

Ankiel’s shot highlighted a five-run burst in the fourth inning against Lowe (6-10) that put Washington ahead 6-3.

Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer in the fifth that finished Lowe. The Braves righty lost his third straight and gave up eight runs — seven earned — the most he had allowed since June 7, 2010.

Desmond drove in three runs and Michael Morse hit his 18th homer for the Nationals.

Dan Uggla (24 games) and Freddie Freeman (17) extended their hitting streaks for the Braves. Those are the two longest current streaks in the majors.

John Lannan (8-7) struck out a season-high eight and improved to 3-0 against Atlanta this year. He gave up three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Desmond’s sacrifice fly put the Nationals ahead in the second.

Atlanta scored twice in the third on Michael Bourn’s RBI double and Martin Prado’s infield out, and took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on Jorge Constanza’s RBI single.

Ankiel’s second career slam and an RBI grounder by Lannan gave Washington the lead in the fourth.

Desmond’s fourth home run made it 8-3.

Notes: Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones worked out before the game and said he wasn’t ready to start. Jones, who strained his right quad on July 25, has been restricted to pinch-hitting since then. ‘‘I need to see what I can and can’t do just to give them feedback and see where I still have pain,’’ Jones said. He said he hasn’t noticed any improvement nor regression since Monday. ... Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg, recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw 51 pitches — 32 strikes — in a simulated start in Viera, Fla. ... The Nationals recalled RHP Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse. ... Washington C Ivan Rodriguez (oblique), who’s been on the 15-day disabled list since July 7, is close to being ready for a rehab assignment, Johnson said.