Harper's suspension reduced to three games, starts tonight

Harper's suspension reduced to three games, starts tonight
SAN FRANCISCO - Major League Baseball has reduced Bryce Harper's suspension to three games after hearing his appeal, and the Nationals slugger will begin serving his time tonight, according to a source familiar with the decision. Harper, who originally was suspended four games for charging the mound Monday after getting intentionally hit in the right hip by a 98 mph fastball from reliever Hunter Strickland, will sit out tonight's series finale against the Giants and the first two games of the...
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Unlikely Albers-Glover combo has stabilized Nationals bullpen

Unlikely Albers-Glover combo has stabilized Nationals bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO - Maybe everyone should have listened to Koda Glover a couple of weeks ago when the rookie reliever insisted the beleaguered Nationals bullpen would be just fine. Glover reiterated that sentiment Tuesday night after closing out the Nationals' 6-3 victory over the Giants that included the latest in a string of dominant performances by this relief corps. "What'd I tell you earlier? We're starting to roll. We're fine," Glover said. "Like I said when everybody was kind of...
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No drama, only a convincing victory for Nats in San Francisco

No drama, only a convincing victory for Nats in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO - The best revenge is living well, and Dusty Baker knew that well in advance of tonight's game against the Giants. Would there be retaliation for Hunter Strickland's intentional plunking of Bryce Harper 24 hours earlier? No, not if the Nationals manager had anything to say about it. "The best thing for us to do is beat up on them and win tonight," Baker said. The Nationals didn't entirely beat up on the Giants, but they made an early statement with some quick offense against...
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Hits piling up on chilly night in San Francisco (Nats win 6-3)

Hits piling up on chilly night in San Francisco (Nats win 6-3)
SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals made Jeff Samardzija work. And they inflicted some damage against the Giants right-hander. But they also squandered more than a few opportunities to expand their lead and now find themselves in a tight ballgame. Despite racking up nine hits and forcing Samardzija to throw 100 pitches in four innings, the Nationals scored only three runs in tonight's second game of a three-game series at AT&T Park. Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy delivered back-to-back,...
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Nationals insist there won't be retaliation vs. Giants

Nationals insist there won't be retaliation vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - Neither the Nationals nor the Giants were totally satisfied with the punishments handed down by Major League Baseball today for Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland. The Nats felt Harper deserved a suspension fewer than four games, Strickland a suspension more than six games. The Giants felt the opposite way. On one point, though, both sides appear to agree: The matter is closed, and there's no reason for any carryover tonight or in the future. "I don't think retaliation is the...
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Game 51 lineups: Nats at Giants

Game 51 lineups: Nats at Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - Hello again from AT&T Park, where the Nationals and Giants will play the second game of their series tonight. Whether there's anything in addition to baseball taking place here tonight remains to be seen. With Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland suspended but appealing, both guys are eligible and available to play. And Harper is in the lineup, batting third as always in between Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. We'll see if Strickland gets into the game out of the Giants...
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Harper suspended four games, Strickland gets six; both appeal

Harper suspended four games, Strickland gets six; both appeal
SAN FRANCISCO - Bryce Harper has been suspended four games by Major League Baseball for charging the mound yesterday after getting hit with a 98 mph fastball by Hunter Strickland, who was suspended six games for his actions. Both players have appealed the suspensions and will be eligible to play tonight when the Nationals and Giants meet in the second game of their three-game series at AT&T Park. The suspensions were doled out by Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, and varied somewhat...
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Harper, Murphy lead early All-Star Game voting

Harper, Murphy lead early All-Star Game voting
SAN FRANCISCO - Major League Baseball made an announcement today about Bryce Harper. But not the one everyone has spent the last 18 hours anticipating in the wake of yesterday's brawl at AT&T Park. This announcement, though, underscored just how popular Harper is, not only among Nationals fans but across the sport. Which is why the 24-year-old has received more All-Star votes so far than any other player in the National League. The first All-Star Game ballot update of the year was unveiled...
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Before brawl, Roark continues recent return to form

Before brawl, Roark continues recent return to form
SAN FRANCISCO - So, there was an actual ballgame played yesterday afternoon at AT&T Park. Easy as that might have been to forget once Hunter Strickland decided to reignite a three-year-old feud with Bryce Harper. The Nationals beat the Giants, 3-0, with one of those runs made possible by Strickland's apparently premeditated plunking of Harper in the top of the eighth. It was a nice way to start this long West Coast trip, and it leaves the Nats with a 31-19 record, the best record they've...
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Three-year-old grudge fuels brawl between Harper, Strickland

Three-year-old grudge fuels brawl between Harper, Strickland
SAN FRANCISCO - Baseball grudges are a strange thing. They carry over from year to year, sometimes longer. Events you think would bury the hatchet instead only allow the bad vibes to fester. Everybody in this game remembers everything that happened before. And so when Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth this afternoon at AT&T Park, with Hunter Strickland on the mound in what had been a nondescript game that eventually ended a 3-0 Nationals victory over the Giants,...
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Harper-Strickland brawl mars Nationals' 3-0 win over Giants

Harper-Strickland brawl mars Nationals' 3-0 win over Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - The Giants won the war over the Nationals in the 2014 playoffs. That apparently didn't stop Hunter Strickland from starting a fight against Bryce Harper three years later. A major benches-clearing brawl broke out after Strickland drilled Harper with a first-pitch fastball in the top of the eighth inning today as a long-festering vendetta marred what eventually ended as a 3-0 victory for the Nationals over the Giants. Strickland had faced Harper only twice before, both times in...
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Zimmerman inching up home run leaderboard (Nats win 3-0)

Zimmerman inching up home run leaderboard (Nats win 3-0)
SAN FRANCISCO - Ryan Zimmerman's ascent up the franchise home run leaderboard took a brief hiatus, but he's back at it this afternoon in the opener of the Nationals' long West Coast trip. Zimmerman launched a solo homer to left-center to lead off the top of the second and stake the Nationals to an early lead against the Giants. His 420-foot moonshot off left-hander Matt Moore was his 14th of the season, one behind club leader Bryce Harper. That blast ended a power drought for Zimmerman, who...
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Drew activated off DL, Heisey begins rehab assignment

Drew activated off DL, Heisey begins rehab assignment
SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals' bench got a major boost today at the start of a long West Coast trip when Stephen Drew was activated off the disabled list, his right hamstring strain finally healed enough to allow him to play on the big league roster. Drew had been out since April 12, suffering his hamstring injury only three days after teammate Trea Turner did the same. But while Turner was able to return only 12 days later, Drew needed nearly seven weeks to be cleared for game...
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Game 50 lineups: Nats at Giants

Game 50 lineups: Nats at Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - Hello from the banks of McCovey Cove, where it's currently 54 degrees with a nice marine layer hovering over everything as the Nationals begin their week-long tour of the Bay Area. Yes, this is a rare (and nice) road trip that includes three games against the Giants, an off day and then three games against the Athletics on the other side of the bay. These Giants are not the Giants we've come to know over the last half-decade or so, languishing near the bottom of the National...
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Taylor's numbers continue to rise since assuming everyday role

Taylor's numbers continue to rise since assuming everyday role
The caveats will continue, because it has only been 24 games and because he'll need to do this over a much longer period of time before anything declarative can be said. But in those 24 games since he took over as the Nationals' starting center fielder, Michael A. Taylor sure has done everything he can to make sure he can continue holding that role. With another key home run in yesterday's 3-0 victory over the Padres, Taylor added to his growing resume. In 24 games since Adam Eaton tore his...
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With robotic precision, Strasburg dominates another opponent

With robotic precision, Strasburg dominates another opponent
When Max Scherzer does something big, you know it. Scherzer puts all his emotions on display, celebrates when he succeeds, laments when he fails. When Stephen Strasburg does something big, you have no idea. Strasburg rarely reveals any emotions, and his expressions and words aren't much different after a win than they are after a loss. Take, for example, the Nationals right-hander's response this evening to a question about the 15 strikeouts he recorded in a 3-0 victory over the Padres, a...
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Strasburg strikes out career-high 15 Padres (Nats win 3-0)

Strasburg strikes out career-high 15 Padres (Nats win 3-0)
Stephen Strasburg isn't getting a ton of help from his defense, so he's taking matters into his own hands this afternoon. Strasburg has seven strikeouts through three scoreless innings against the Padres, overcoming two errors by his Nationals infield but struggling to keep his pitch count manageable. Ryan Zimmerman and Trea Turner each were charged with errors in the game's first two innings, prolonging things for Strasburg. Zimmerman made a wide throw to second base in the top of the...
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Murphy sidelined with illness, Difo gets another start

Murphy sidelined with illness, Difo gets another start
Daniel Murphy is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight day, and this one is no simple planned-in-advance day off. Murphy is under the weather, dealing with a stomach bug, according to acting manager Chris Speier. "He's just not feeling all that hot," said Speier, who is filling in for Dusty Baker this weekend while the latter attends his son's high school graduation in California. Murphy, along with Ryan Zimmerman, didn't play in Friday night's series opener against the...
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Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Padres

Game 48 lineups: Nats vs. Padres
Stop me if you've heard this one before: It's a cloudy day in D.C. with a chance of rain being a factor for this afternoon's game. As always, stay tuned and hope for the best as the Nationals and Padres attempt to start and complete the second game of their weekend series. San Diego native Stephen Strasburg is on the mound for the Nats, making his seventh career start against the favorite team of his childhood, though his first since 2015. Strasburg, not surprisingly, has fared well against...
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With 95 mph slider, Glover seizing opportunity to close

With 95 mph slider, Glover seizing opportunity to close
Max Scherzer was the story of last night's 5-1 victory, but let's not overlook Koda Glover, who made quite an impression himself despite only throwing four pitches. Summoned to relieve Scherzer with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Glover was thrown into a major fire but immediately doused it by striking out Hunter Renfroe to earn his fourth save. It was the kind of situation - one bad pitch could have tied the game and ruined everything Scherzer did for 8 2/3 innings...
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