A strong start from Strasburg (but a tie game)

A strong start from Strasburg (but a tie game)
PHILADELPHIA - Stephen Strasburg couldn't have asked for a much better start than the one he's gotten through three innings. Strasburg has held the Phillies hitless thus far, has struck out six, and has yet to allow a ball out of the infield. The lone blemish on his line so far is a two-out walk to Chase Utley in the first. Other than that, it's been smooth sailing for the Nationals' right-hander. Strasburg struck out the side in the first, with all three Ks coming on curveballs. He then...
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Nats face Bernadina in opener of three-game set with Phillies

Nats face Bernadina in opener of three-game set with Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals will cross paths with Roger Bernadina tonight for the first time since Bernadina was released Aug. 19 by the only major league organization he'd ever known. After his release, Bernadina pulled a John Lannan and signed with the Phillies, choosing to stay in the National League East and play in a park with which he has a good bit of familiarity. Bernadina will hit eighth and play right field for the Phillies tonight, and he'll dig in against Nats righty Stephen...
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Bernadina signs with Phillies, Ohlendorf returns (plus Nats lineup)

Bernadina signs with Phillies, Ohlendorf returns (plus Nats lineup)
CHICAGO - Roger Bernadina was released by the Nationals on Monday, but he won't be going too far, either geographically or within the realm of Major League Baseball. Bernadina has signed with the Phillies, the team announced today, meaning the Nats will see the speedy outfielder in about a week and a half when they head to Philadelphia for a three-game set against their division rivals. After clearing waivers, Bernadina - who had been the longest-tenured Nats player prior to Monday - was...
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Werth and Johnson on Manuel's firing and chances he joins Nats

Werth and Johnson on Manuel's firing and chances he joins Nats
ATLANTA - The news of Charlie Manuel's firing by the Phillies this afternoon made its way through the Nationals' clubhouse prior to tonight's game against the Braves, and one guy had a lot more to offer on the topic than anyone else. Jayson Werth played under Manuel in Philadelphia for four seasons from 2007-2010, and it's evident from talking with Werth how much he cares about his former manager. Werth didn't want to discuss the circumstances of Manuel's firing in too much detail, but...
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Lombardozzi starting at second base as Nats go for sweep

Lombardozzi starting at second base as Nats go for sweep
The Nationals will shoot for the sweep in this three-game series against the Phillies this evening, with Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01 ERA) taking the ball for the Nats and right-hander Kyle Kendrick (9-8, 4.29) going for the Phils. Steve Lombardozzi will play second base for the Nats today, with Anthony Rendon getting a day off. This will be Wilson Ramos' eighth time starting behind the plate in the Nats' last nine games. For the Nats CF Denard Span 3B Ryan Zimmerman LF Bryce Harper RF...
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A Ruf inning for Jordan (the deficit is trimmed further)

A Ruf inning for Jordan (the deficit is trimmed further)
After facing the minimum in his first inning of work tonight, Taylor Jordan nearly didn't get out of the second. Jordan allowed four runs on five hits in the second inning, allowing nine Phillies hitters to come to the plate and forcing the Nationals bullpen into action early. Darin Ruf delivered the big blow for the Phillies, crushing the first pitch he saw from Jordan out to left for a two-run homer. It was Ruf's sixth longball of the season, and marked just the third homer Jordan has...
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Nats, Phillies lineups

Nats, Phillies lineups
Taylor Jordan gets a tough test tonight, matching up against Phillies starter Cliff Lee and his 3.13 ERA in game two of this three-game set between the Nationals and Phils. Lee has fared well against the Nats over the course of his career, but the Nats got to him for four homers (all solo shots) the last time they faced the left-hander, in Philly back on July 10. The Nats won that game 5-1. Jordan's team-imposed innings limit is quickly approaching; he said after his last outing he thought...
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Less than textbook baseball being played in Philly (Nats lose 3-1)

Less than textbook baseball being played in Philly (Nats lose 3-1)
PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies have committed four errors through five innings of play. Somehow, they've still managed to grab a 1-0 lead. Chase Utley has committed three errors himself, two of which came on one play in the fourth that put Jayson Werth on third with two outs. Michael Young committed a two-base error in the fifth that put Kurt Suzuki in scoring position with no outs. The Nationals converted neither opportunity. As sloppily as the Phillies have played defensively, the Nats...
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Nats, Phillies lineups for finale in City of Brotherly Love

Nats, Phillies lineups for finale in City of Brotherly Love
PHILADELPHIA - After facing left-handers each of the last three days, the Nationals will take their hacks against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick tonight in the finale of this four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. With a win, the Nats would salvage a split in this set despite dropping the first two games. Bryce Harper is 7-for-14 career off Kendrick with a homer and three doubles and Ian Desmond is 10-for-28 with two homers, a triple and two doubles off the righty. Jordan Zimmermann...
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A battle of two tough lefties

A battle of two tough lefties
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals have struggled mightily against left-handed pitching this season, and they'll face one of the toughest left-handers in the bigs tonight when they take on Cliff Lee. Lee is 10-2 with a 2.73 ERA this season, and he held the Nats to two runs over eight strong innings back on June 18 in a Phillies win here at Citizens Bank Park. The Nats are hitting .215/.281/.336 against left-handers this season. What's there to that? "I don't know," Adam LaRoche said last...
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Hairston leading off, playing left in Nats debut

Hairston leading off, playing left in Nats debut
PHILADELPHIA - Not only is Scott Hairston making his Nationals debut tonight in just his second day with the team since coming over in a trade with the Cubs, he's also in the leadoff spot. I did expect to see Hairston in the lineup tonight. I did not expect him to lead off. Anyone that says they did is probably lying. Hairston will play left field tonight, bumping Bryce Harper over to center. Denard Span will get the night off. This is the first start for Harper in center field this...
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Lannan holding Nats in check, Haren survives shaky start (Nats lose 3-2)

Lannan holding Nats in check, Haren survives shaky start (Nats lose 3-2)
PHILADELPHIA - Through five innings tonight, John Lannan is outpitching the guy the Nationals replaced him with this offseason and sticking it to his former team in the process. Lannan has held the Nats to just two hits over five scoreless innings, and he and the Phillies hold a 2-0 lead. The Nats had their only real chance against Lannan in the fourth. Bryce Harper walked and then appeared to have second base stolen, but slid into the bag incredibly late, allowing Jimmy Rollins to slap down...
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Nats, Phillies lineups for series finale (Bernadina scratched due to eye issue)

Nats, Phillies lineups for series finale (Bernadina scratched due to eye issue)
PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals will look to snap a three-game losing streak and salvage a game out of this three-game set in Philly tonight. If they aren't able to do so, the Nats will fall to a season-worst three games under .500 and drop back into third place in the National League East behind the Braves and Phillies. Davey Johnson has Adam LaRoche back in the cleanup spot tonight against the right-handed Kyle Kendrick, and the left-handed-hitting Roger Bernadina will play left field....
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Two dealing southpaws (another instant update)

Two dealing southpaws (another instant update)
PHILADELPHIA - That headline sounds like a movie title. Maybe something set in the old west. Don't anyone steal that idea. I might have a stop in Hollywood in my future. Not only have Ross Detwiler and Cliff Lee each thrown three scoreless innings and allowed just two hits between them so far tonight, but they've been incredibly efficient in the process. Detwiler has needed just 32 pitches to get through his three frames, 22 of which have been strikes. Lee, meanwhile, has thrown 37...
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Span returns to Nats lineup

Span returns to Nats lineup
PHILADELPHIA - It absolutely poured here in Philly a couple of hours ago, and as I was trying to get off an exit ramp near Citizens Bank Park, I had to drive my Mazda3 through a two-foot-high puddle that felt more like a river. I made it through just fine, and avoided having to roll down the window and swim to the ballpark. I guess the positive side is that my car won't need to be washed for a little while. The rain has eased up a bit from where it was at around 1:30 p.m., but it's still...
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Johnson discusses Nats' 5-4 walk-off loss

Johnson discusses Nats' 5-4 walk-off loss
Tonight, for just the second time this season, the Nationals entered the ninth inning trailing and were able to tie the score or take the lead. Chad Tracy's solo homer off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth turned what looked like another frustrating loss into a big momentum booster. Then, it became a frustrating loss yet again. Domonic Brown's two-out, two-strike RBI single off Nats left-hander Fernando Abad scored Ben Revere from...
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Tracy hits another clutch home run, but Nationals come up short

Tracy hits another clutch home run, but Nationals come up short
Chad Tracy is "Mr. Clutch" for the Nationals this season. He has only two hits in his last 10 games, but both were home runs to tie games in the late-going. He also hit the first pinch-hit home run of the season in San Diego. Each home run felt, at the time, that it might be one of those hits that could change the season. It felt like that Monday in Philadelphia when, in the top of the ninth, Tracy crushed an 0-2 fastball by Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon down the right field line and...
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Span, LaRoche out of Nats lineup vs. Lannan

Span, LaRoche out of Nats lineup vs. Lannan
PHILADELPHIA - Both Denard Span and Adam LaRoche are out of the Nationals lineup for tonight's series opener against the Phillies. Span fouled yet another ball off his right foot yesterday (something he's done quite a bit over the last couple of months) and will get today off. So will LaRoche, who is mired in an 0-for-15 slump, with six strikeouts in his last four games. With Phillies left-hander John Lannan getting the ball tonight, Nats manager Davey Johnson is sitting two left-handed...
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Nats break it open in the seventh (Nats win 6-1)

Nats break it open in the seventh (Nats win 6-1)
After six more innings of offensive futility, the Nationals have broken open this ballgame with a monster five-run seventh inning that has given them a 5-0 lead and will allow Stephen Strasburg quite a cushion to work with as he takes the mound for the eighth. The Nats had managed just three hits off Cole Hamels entering the seventh inning, but a few well-placed hits and a couple of sub-par defensive plays from the Phillies allowed them to pile it on. Ryan Zimmerman led off the inning with an...
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Strasburg, Hamels locked in a duel (Strasburg absolutely dealing)

Strasburg, Hamels locked in a duel (Strasburg absolutely dealing)
The type of battle we're getting between Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels could be one we'll see many times for years to come. Strasburg and Hamels have both thrown four scoreless innings today, with each allowing just two hits. Hamels has six strikeouts to this point, while Strasburg has four. Both teams have put two runners in scoring position thus far, but neither has done anything with those opportunities. Bryce Harper reached third with one out in the first inning (and he put his...
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