Murphy delivers again for Nats: "He's carrying our team"

Murphy delivers again for Nats: "He's carrying our team"
PHILADELPHIA - Daniel Murphy isn't going to do this the entire season. It's just not possible in this day and age to do what only a handful have come close to doing in the 75 years since Ted Williams last broke the .400 barrier. But Memorial Day has now come and gone, and Murphy still owns a .395 batting average, so why shouldn't the Nationals enjoy every moment of this remarkable run? Especially on nights like this, when Murphy not only produces but produces in big spots to help lift his...
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Nats rally after Harper injury to beat Phillies 4-3

Nats rally after Harper injury to beat Phillies 4-3
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals lost Bryce Harper to an apparent right knee injury. They refused to also lose another game to the Phillies. Harper's seventh-inning departure shortly after taking a pitch off the outside of the knee cast a pall over this Memorial Day series opener at Citizens Bank Park. But thanks to a furious rally by his teammates, most notably Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy, the Nationals turned what would have been a demoralizing loss into an impressive, come-from-behind, 4-3...
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Harper day-to-day after suffering right knee contusion (updated)

Harper day-to-day after suffering right knee contusion (updated)
PHILADELPHIA - Bryce Harper was forced out of tonight's game against the Phillies after taking a seventh-inning pitch from Jeremy Hellickson off his right knee, but the Nationals MVP slugger appears to have avoided serious injury and may not have to sit out more than a day or two to recover. "It hurts," Harper said, limping slightly around the clubhouse following the Nats' 4-3 victory. "Whenever you get squared up like that, definitely something that didn't feel good. I think we'll...
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Murphy breaks scoreless streak vs. Phillies (Nats win 4-3)

Murphy breaks scoreless streak vs. Phillies (Nats win 4-3)
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have had all kinds of trouble producing against the Phillies over the last month. But at least they can count on their most reliable offensive threat to deliver for them, no matter the opponent. Daniel Murphy has provided all of the Nats' offense so far tonight at Citizens Bank Park, doubling in the top of the second and then homering in the top of the fourth, knotting up this series opener at 1-1. Murphy drove Jeremy Hellickson's 0-1 pitch over the out-of-town...
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Could this be the road trip that snaps Harper out of slump?

Could this be the road trip that snaps Harper out of slump?
PHILADELPHIA - If ever there was a road trip tailor-made to break Bryce Harper out of his slump, this might well be it. The Nationals open a three-game series tonight at Citizens Bank Park, a hitter's haven that has been awfully kind to Harper of late. Then they head to Cincinnati, home of the bandbox otherwise known as Great American Ball Park and the worst pitching staff in the majors. Perhaps this is the week Harper gets himself back on track after a difficult month that has made his...
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Game 52 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Game 52 lineups: Nats at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where tonight the Nationals open a three-city, nine-game road trip with a Memorial Day opener against the Phillies. This, of course, is the same Philly club that shockingly swept the Nats last month in D.C., but it's not exactly playing like the same club. After winning a bunch of one-run games early in the year, the Phillies have now lost seven of their last nine games and desperately are trying to maintain a winning record. The Nationals will try...
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Ramos parlays video study with daughter into big day at plate

Ramos parlays video study with daughter into big day at plate
Wilson Ramos was playing with his 20-month-old daughter Saturday night, impressed with her ability to operate an iPad. Somehow, she managed to change the cartoon she was watching into a video clip of a certain Nationals catcher hitting a home run at Wrigley Field earlier this month. "For some reason, she was pointing it out and saying: 'Daddy! Daddy!' " Ramos said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. "Kind of like saying: 'This is you.' For whatever reason today, I took that same...
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Werth makes most of day off, launches grand slam off bench

Werth makes most of day off, launches grand slam off bench
Different players approach days off in different ways. Some like to take a full mental and physical break, and just watch the game from the dugout, available only in case of emergency. Others like to take the opportunity to work on something, maybe find what has been missing from their swing that perhaps provoked the day off. Jayson Werth has taken both approaches during his career, preferring rest when he's physically ailing but wanting to tinker when he's healthy and perhaps struggling. So...
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Harper, Ramos deliver during three-run rally (Nats win 10-2)

Harper, Ramos deliver during three-run rally (Nats win 10-2)
The Nationals have nearly been no-hit by Michael Wacha before. They certainly didn't want to find themselves in that same boat today, so it's safe to say they breathed a sigh of relief when Michael A. Taylor broke up the right-hander's shot at history before things started to get too serious. And then it's safe to say they were downright giddy when Taylor's double in the bottom of the fourth set the table for a three-run rally that has given them a 3-1 lead. Taylor's leadoff double...
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Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg

Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg
Matt Belisle believes he's ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals bullpen. The club, however, wants the veteran right-hander to continue his rehab assignment. So after three appearances at high Single-A Potomac, Belisle is now expected to head to Double-A Harrisburg. Belisle, out since April 26 with a strained right calf, pitched two innings last night for Potomac, allowing two runs on four hits (one of them a homer). He also struck out three. That came after two...
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Game 51 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 51 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
Since the Nationals have lost only three series this season, this isn't a familiar position for them today, needing to beat the Cardinals to salvage a four-game split and avoid a 2-5 homestand. So there's a little bit of pressure on them this afternoon after back-to-back losses. The good news: Stephen Strasburg is pitching for the Nats, and he has been fantastic, with eight quality starts in 10 tries this season. In seven of those starts, he has allowed two or fewer earned runs. Five times he...
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Murphy sets new club record with 41 hits in a month

Murphy sets new club record with 41 hits in a month
It wasn't the prettiest hit he's recorded all season, and it probably should have been caught by Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty, but Daniel Murphy won't complain about the second-inning single last night that gave him a new Nationals club record. That single, which came on a blooper to shallow right field that went in and out of a diving Piscotty's glove, was Murphy's 41st hit of May. And that's more hits than any player in Nationals history has ever recorded in a single...
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Gonzalez down on himself for inability to give bullpen a break

Gonzalez down on himself for inability to give bullpen a break
Pitchers can live with the hits they surrender, even the home runs. What they can't live with are the walks they issue that drive up their pitch count and prevent them from reaching the game's latter innings. So when Gio Gonzalez was upset with himself following the Nationals' 9-4 loss to the Cardinals tonight, it wasn't so much because of the six runs he surrendered via a flurry of two-out hits (including one by opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright). It was because he couldn't even complete...
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Cardinals pile up early runs off Gonzalez (Nats lose 9-4)

Cardinals pile up early runs off Gonzalez (Nats lose 9-4)
As he walked off the mound following a dominant top of the first, having struck out all three batters he faced on 15 pitches, Gio Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher primed for a big night. As he walked off the same mound following a disastrous top of the second, having allowed four runs on 40 pitches, Gonzalez had the look of a pitcher primed for a long night. Suffice it to say that things escalated quickly here at Nationals Park, where the Cardinals lead 5-2. The Cardinals rocked Gonzalez...
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Nationals hope Rendon stays red-hot after rare day off

Nationals hope Rendon stays red-hot after rare day off
Dusty Baker likes to plan days off for his regulars well in advance, giving them plenty of time to prepare. So there was nothing unusual about Baker's conversation with Anthony Rendon at the start of the week, during which the Nationals manager told his third baseman he'd be getting Saturday night off. "I told him Monday or Tuesday. I told him he'd be off Saturday," Baker said. "So I said: 'Give me all you've got until your day off on Saturday.' And he did." Did he ever. Rendon has...
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Game 50 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals

Game 50 lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals
It's a hot, muggy Saturday here in the District, as sure a sign as we've experienced yet that summer has arrived. Which, the Nationals can only hope, means the ball is going to fly out of the park tonight. Dusty Baker has insisted all along he thinks he's got a warm-weather lineup. We saw it earlier in the week when the Nats hit five homers on another warm night. We'll see if it holds true tonight. That Nationals lineup will be facing an ace in Adam Wainwright, though this isn't the...
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Baker, Scherzer take exception with ump's late timeout calls

Baker, Scherzer take exception with ump's late timeout calls
Max Scherzer likes to try to disrupt the timing of opposing batters and baserunners. He's perfectly content to hold the ball in the set position for three, four, even five seconds, hoping to catch somebody napping. Because of that, Scherzer has become quite accustomed to the opposition calling for time, stepping out of the box and hitting the reset button. And he takes no issue with any batter who does that. He did, however, take exception with plate umpire Alan Porter's decision twice during...
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Walks, grand slam define Scherzer's latest confounding start

Walks, grand slam define Scherzer's latest confounding start
Max Scherzer's postgame media sessions so far this season can easily be separated into two groups. He's either asked: 1) What allowed him to be so dominant on that particular night, or 2) Why does he continue to give up significant home runs at the worst possible time? There has been precious little middle ground with Scherzer through the first two months of 2016. Sometimes he looks like the best pitcher on the planet. Sometimes he looks like the most-hittable pitcher on the planet. He rarely...
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Scherzer in trouble after walks, grand slam (Nats lose 6-2)

Scherzer in trouble after walks, grand slam (Nats lose 6-2)
Home runs have been Max Scherzer's biggest bugaboo since late last summer. Walks? Not so much. But add a bunch of free passes to yet another bomb surrendered by Scherzer, and the Nationals ace really finds himself in trouble. The Cardinals pounced on Scherzer during a five-run top of the third tonight, the big blast coming via Stephen Piscotty's first career grand slam, taking control of this Friday matchup on South Capitol Street. The home run - the 15th Scherzer has surrendered in 69 1/3...
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With regular reps, Werth finally becoming comfortable in left field

With regular reps, Werth finally becoming comfortable in left field
It was a really nice play. Not a spectacular one that ends up on endless highlight-reel shows. Just a really nice play that leaves fans applauding. Jayson Werth's catch last night of Stephen Piscotty's second-inning sinking liner to left-center, requiring a lot of ground covered and then a slide to complete the maneuver, was the best defensive play of the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals. It also represented merely the latest in a string of really nice plays Werth has made over the...
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