Harper day-to-day, Nationals upset with Kang’s fake tag

PITTSBURGH - As he slid awkwardly into third base, jamming his left thumb in the process, Bryce Harper immediately thought the worst. He tore the ligament in that same thumb on a similar play two years ago, and if he had just done it again, Harper knew that was the end of his season. No playoffs in 2016. All because of a fake tag by ... read more

Nationals emerge with wild 10-7 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH - This was supposed to be a low-key, low-stress, quick Sunday at the ballpark for the Nationals, who after clinching the National League East title last night rested most of their regulars and essentially acknowledged they would get back to serious work Monday when they return home for the final week of the regular season. Turns out this was anything but a low-key, low-stress ... read more

Harper injured on fake tag, benches empty (Nationals win 10-7)

PITTSBURGH - Bryce Harper left today’s series finale in the third inning after suffering an apparent left hand injury during an awkward slide into third base prompted by a fake tag from Jung Ho Kang that eventually prompted a benches-clearing scuffle between the Nationals and Pirates. Harper led off the top of the third with a hit down the right field line, then tried to ... read more

Nationals mourn Fernandez, recall pitcher’s talent and joy

PITTSBURGH - The joy of the Nationals’ division-clinching celebration last night came to a screeching halt this morning as players learned the news that stunned the entire baseball world: Jose Fernandez’s death from a boating accident in Miami. The Marlins ace was a well-known figure throughout the Nationals clubhouse, mostly as one of the toughest competitors they had to face on a regular basis, including ... read more

Game 155 lineups: Nats at Pirates

PITTSBURGH - After clinching their third National League East title in five seasons last night, the Nationals will rest a fair amount of their regulars for today’s finale of a three-game series against the Pirates. But make no mistake, there is still something to play for: home field advantage in the National League Division Series, which the Nats would prefer to open at home against, ... read more

After two years on the outside, Baker rewarded with division title

PITTSBURGH - It’s easy to forget now, after 90 wins, a division title and all the praise heaped upon him, but Dusty Baker was out of baseball the last two years. Fired by the Reds after losing the 2013 National League wild card game to the Pirates, the manager of two decades and key baseball figure of more than four decades was suddenly on the ... read more

From the sting of 2015 to division champs of 2016

PITTSBURGH - Max Scherzer stood off to one side of the now-trashed visitors clubhouse at PNC Park, soaked in champagne and beer, puffing on a cigar, a man enjoying every moment of this celebration. The right-hander has been a division champion before, five times in the last six years, to be exact. It’s that one exception to the rule, though, that lingered with him. Just ... read more

No drama: Nationals are 2016 NL East champs

PITTSBURGH - The 2016 Nationals won the National League East without drama, without wild pendulum swings, without the kind of indelible memories (both good and bad) that so often define championship seasons. No, this was a methodical march to a division title by a ballclub that simply was very good throughout and wore down its opponents along the way. And now, at last, these guys ... read more