Werth's streak reaching base continues (Nationals win 4-1)

Werth's streak reaching base continues (Nationals win 4-1)
SAN FRANCISCO - It's not the kind of streak that draws headlines, but that doesn't make what Jayson Werth has been doing for more than a month now insignificant. Werth has successfully reached base in 32 consecutive games now, easily the longest such streak of his career and tied for the third-longest streak in the majors this season. Werth broke his previous career-best of 29 games Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland, then extended it Thursday night and again tonight in San Francisco. His...
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Lopez to start Saturday; could Papelbon be headed to DL?

Lopez to start Saturday; could Papelbon be headed to DL?
SAN FRANCISCO - Reynaldo Lopez will, as anticipated, start Saturday afternoon's game against the Giants, forcing the Nationals to make a corresponding roster move that could tie directly in with their current closer dilemma. With Lopez set to be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse for his second career start, the Nationals will need to drop one of the eight relievers on their active 25-man roster. And it's possible that reliever could be Jonathan Papelbon, who has struggled mightily in his last...
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Game 103 lineups: Nats at Giants

Game 103 lineups: Nats at Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - It's a new day in the Bay Area, which means the Nationals will start anew after last night's near-disaster in the bottom of the ninth. We don't know yet who will be closing for them if the situation arises, but we do know they've got a very different lineup tonight against Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Ben Revere is back atop the lineup and in center field. Danny Espinosa gets his first day off in a long time, but his replacement at shortstop isn't who you might have...
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Lobaton placed on DL with elbow tendinitis, Severino recalled

Lobaton placed on DL with elbow tendinitis, Severino recalled
SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals have placed backup catcher Jose Lobaton on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow tendinitis and recalled Pedro Severino from Triple-A Syracuse to take his spot on the big league roster. Lobaton hadn't appeared in any of the Nationals' last eight games, so the transaction is retroactive to July 20 and makes him eligible to return as soon as August 4. The 31-year-old's playing time has been minimal in recent weeks, with All-Star Wilson Ramos getting the vast...
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What do the Nationals do with Jonathan Papelbon now?

What do the Nationals do with Jonathan Papelbon now?
SAN FRANCISCO - Decisions, certainly the big ones with long-lasting ramifications, aren't made minutes after a ballgame ends, when emotions are still running hot and the opportunity for reflection has yet to arrive. So Dusty Baker wasn't about to make any definitive statements about Jonathan Papelbon's future role in the Nationals bullpen in the wake of Thursday night's near-calamitous bottom of the ninth at AT&T Park. "I don't know," Baker said. "You're asking me some questions,...
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Nationals avoid ninth-inning disaster, escape with 4-2 victory

Nationals avoid ninth-inning disaster, escape with 4-2 victory
SAN FRANCISCO - Tanner Roark gave them the seven strong innings they needed from their starter. The lineup delivered a quick burst of two-out hits off Johnny Cueto that put the Nationals in position to lead nearly the entire night. But no victory is compete until the ninth inning is complete. And anyone who has followed the Nationals recently knows just how difficult it has been to complete that ninth inning with a lead intact. The Nationals did manage to do it tonight and pull off a 4-2...
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Baker on Turner, Revere and Harper (Nationals win 4-2)

Baker on Turner, Revere and Harper (Nationals win 4-2)
SAN FRANCISCO - Trea Turner is starting in center field again tonight for the Nationals, the rookie's third straight game at the position he had never played professionally until a six-game tryout at Triple-A Syracuse a month ago. That shouldn't come as a huge surprise, given Turner's offensive performance the last two days in Cleveland - 4-for-8 with two doubles, three RBIs, a walk and a stolen base - and his adequate play in the outfield. But manager Dusty Baker isn't committing to the...
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Grateful for opportunity with Giants, Span ready to face Nats

Grateful for opportunity with Giants, Span ready to face Nats
SAN FRANCISCO - Denard Span isn't having a great season, not by his standards. But the 32-year-old outfielder is healthy again after an agonizing 2015 with the Nationals that included three different surgeries, never-ending rehab and then the uncertainty that accompanied that once he hit free agency last fall. So as he prepares to face his former club this weekend, Span has come to appreciate the opportunity he was given by the Giants, who despite his health questions over the winter were...
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Game 102 lineups: Nats at Giants

Game 102 lineups: Nats at Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - Hello from AT&T Park, simply one of the finest venues in baseball, where the Nationals and Giants tonight open a four-game weekend series between a pair of first-place clubs sporting identical 59-42 records. Between the strong matchup on the field and the specter of Monday's trade deadline looming, this is obviously a big weekend. The Nationals come here with some significant question marks, but Dusty Baker has chosen to answer one of those (who is leading off and playing...
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Strasburg, Murphy and Werth's contributions to yesterday's win

Strasburg, Murphy and Werth's contributions to yesterday's win
SAN FRANCISCO - Good morning from the left coast, where tonight the Nationals open a four-game weekend series with the Giants, another significant test for this team during a long road trip. (OK, so I need to be honest with you: I'm not actually in San Francisco as I type this. I'm somewhere over the Midwest, 33,000 feet in the air, en route from Cleveland. It's still Wednesday night. But by the time you read this in the morning, I will be in San Francisco. Promise.) Before we move ahead and...
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Pressed into new roles, Turner and Treinen lead Nats to win

Pressed into new roles, Turner and Treinen lead Nats to win
CLEVELAND - Ballclubs can plan a season out, think they have everything set as they prefer, even have contingencies in place in case something goes awry. But sometimes they still have to adjust on the fly and go with something that may not have been their preferred course of action but became necessary to attempt to win that day's game. The Nationals thought they had most everything planned out properly this season, and even well into the summer. But when things started to go awry in the last...
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Nationals bounce back with 4-1 victory in Cleveland

Nationals bounce back with 4-1 victory in Cleveland
CLEVELAND - Two sure ways to wash away the bitter taste of back-to-back losses via bullpen meltdown: 1) Get a dominant start from one of your aces, and 2) Score enough runs that you don't need to send your embattled closer back to the mound. The Nationals did both this afternoon, riding Stephen Strasburg's seven innings of scoreless ball and clutch hits from Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy to a 4-1 victory over the Indians that salvaged a two-game series split at Progressive Field. Back to work...
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With closer struggling, Baker pleads for offense (Nats win 4-1)

With closer struggling, Baker pleads for offense (Nats win 4-1)
CLEVELAND - Jonathan Papelbon has pitched four of the last five days, and has given up six total runs in two most recent outings, leaving Dusty Baker facing quite a conundrum: Who does he turn to if he needs a closer in this afternoon's series finale against the Indians? The Nationals manager couldn't offer up a definitive answer this morning. "Sometimes as a closer you've got to go four or five days in a row sometimes, which I don't like to do," Baker said. "A closer either pitches a...
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Dizziness lands Drew on disabled list; Difo recalled

Dizziness lands Drew on disabled list; Difo recalled
CLEVELAND - The illness that made Stephen Drew unavailable to the Nationals for six days last week has now landed him on the disabled list. Drew was placed on the 15-day DL this morning after a recurrence of the dizziness that plagued him last week while he was out with what the club initially called "flu-like symptoms." The veteran infielder no longer has those traditional symptoms, but he continues to feel dizzy, so the club is now referring to his ailment as "vertigo-like symptoms." Drew...
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Game 101 lineups: Nats at Indians

Game 101 lineups: Nats at Indians
CLEVELAND - And we're back. Only 11 hours have passed since the Nationals walked off the field in disgust following a 7-6 loss to the Indians, but everyone is back at Progressive Field, preparing for today's early matinee (12:10 p.m.) to wrap up this unusual two-game interleague series. This could be a good thing (no time to stew over the loss) or it could be a bad thing (the hangover effect). We'll just have to wait and see. One good thing from the Nats' perspective: Stephen Strasburg is...
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An eventful debut night in center field for Turner

An eventful debut night in center field for Turner
CLEVELAND - Trea Turner had been standing out in center field in a big league game for all of two minutes when the first ball came his way. It was a drive to the gap in right-center by the Indians' Jason Kipnis, and though Turner ran a good route in an attempt to make the play, he pulled up ever so slightly at the fence and couldn't do much as the ball struck the warning track and bounced over the fence for a ground rule double. Then, fewer than 10 minutes later, it happened again. Jose...
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Nationals left to decide what to do with Papelbon now

Nationals left to decide what to do with Papelbon now
CLEVELAND - Jonathan Papelbon has blown more than a few saves in his career. Forty-nine of them, to be precise. So when it happens, he refuses to convey any sense of fear. "My confidence in this game has never fluctuated, and it never will," the 35-year-old closer said tonight. "I think that's something that's never really happened to me." Papelbon's confidence may not fluctuate, but his opinion honestly isn't the one that matters most right now. In the wake of his latest meltdown, a...
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Bullpen implodes again as Indians walk-off stunned Nats 7-6

Bullpen implodes again as Indians walk-off stunned Nats 7-6
CLEVELAND - The new-look lineup produced some early runs, knocking out a tough opposing starter. The erratic lefty bounced back from a shaky first inning to turn in a quality start. All the Nationals needed was for the back end of their bullpen to close out the opener of a tough road trip. Which that much maligned unit once again could not do. Jonathan Papelbon blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, suffering his second loss in as many games as the Nationals were left stunned by the...
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Turner gets nod in center, but for how long? (Nats lose 7-6)

Turner gets nod in center, but for how long? (Nats lose 7-6)
CLEVELAND - When the Nationals chose to demote Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse as the corresponding move for Ryan Zimmerman's activation off the disabled list, they dropped something of a hint in the process: Trea Turner was going to find his way into the lineup, perhaps in center field. Sure enough, when he filled out his lineup card for tonight's interleague series opener against the Indians, Dusty Baker went with the rookie in the leadoff spot and (for the first time in his brief...
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Ross healthy again, but will need another rehab start

Ross healthy again, but will need another rehab start
CLEVELAND - Joe Ross is back with the Nationals this week, part of their traveling contingent for their interleague series against the Indians. But he's not back in their rotation just yet, still needing to make at least one more rehab start before he can be activated off the disabled list. Ross made the first of his rehab starts Sunday at Single-A Hagerstown, tossing three scoreless innings on 43 pitches. The right-hander said he emerged from that outing with no shoulder issues, but he...
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