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Nats fall 8-5 after blowing late lead

ST. LOUIS - With two outs in the first, Kolten Wong misplayed a grounder, allowing Bryce Harper to reach safely on the error. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double sliced down the right field line. With Stephen Piscotty dealing with the carom off the corner of the wall, Nationals third base coach Bob Henley aggressively waved the hustling Harper around. As the relay throw reached

Nationals game blog: Nats face tall test with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS - Fighting for their playoff lives, the Nationals are set to begin a three-game set against the National League Central division-leading Cardinals, owners of the best record in the majors. Gio Gonzalez is 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA in his last three starts, but the left-hander holds a 2-1 career mark against the Cardinals with a 0.93 ERA in four starts. The Cardinals

Matt Williams updates the latest on Stephen Strasburg

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals decided to rest Stephen Strasburg a day after the right-hander’s start was ended prematurely by upper back stiffness. “He’s not gonna throw today,” manager Matt Williams said before tonight’s game. “We’ll let the medication kick in a little bit and see how he is tomorrow. As of right now, we don’t have an update because he just hasn’t thrown a

Jayson Werth leads Nats into St. Louis, Yunel Escobar returns (with lineups)

ST. LOUIS - The Nationals enter tonight’s game against the Cardinals as winners of eight of their last 12 games, backed by an offense that has scored 71 runs over the stretch, second best in the National League. Jayson Werth continues his success in the leadoff spot. In 10 games since moving to the top of the order, Werth is slashing .325/.413/.650 with two homers,

Nationals set to open crucial series in St. Louis

Trailing the Mets by 5 1/2 games, the Nationals are set to open a crucial three-game series in St. Louis while New York prepares to host the last place Phillies. Yesterday’s 7-4 win over the Marlins secured the Nats’ fourth consecutive series win since Aug. 18, yet they’ve actually lost a game in the standings to the red-hot Mets over the stretch. “We got a

Back tightness derails Stephen Strasburg’s start in Nats’ 7-4 win

The frustrations of Stephen Strasburg’s season continued again today as the right-hander was forced to leave a 7-4 win over the Marlins with recurring back discomfort after throwing just 60 pitches over four innings. “It’s just a little bit of back tightness,” Strasburg said. “It’s something that I kind of dealt with in the middle of the year. It’s got some sort of little ball

Werth homers, drives in three as Nats beat Marlins 7-4

Dee Gordon dropped a bunt down the third base line on Stephen Strasburg’s second pitch of the afternoon, reaching on a leadoff single. Ichiro Suzuki then ripped Strasburg’s next offering into right field for a double, giving the Marlins runners at second and third. After getting Martin Prado to pop out to Ryan Zimmerman, it appeared Strasburg had a chance to battle his way out

Stephen Strasburg looks to continue dominant stretch (with lineups)

Stephen Strasburg aims to deliver the Nationals’ fourth consecutive series win when he takes the mound in the finale against the Marlins this afternoon. Strasburg has overmatched hitters in four starts since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 8 after missing more than a month with a strained left oblique. The hard-throwing right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA while striking out 32 and

Nationals focused on taking care of their own business

It’s been a volatile month for the Nationals, beginning with a sweep by the Mets in New York, where the balance of power in the National League East changed hands. Boosted by several trade deadline moves, including the acquisition of slugger Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets have gone from one of the worst offenses in baseball to the best over the past month. New York owns

Nats flex their muscles with three homers in 5-1 win

For the first time in 11 days, the Nationals actually gained ground on the Mets. The Red Sox helped the Nats by knocking off the Mets 3-1, while Washington took care of business, smacking three homers in a 5-1 win over Miami. Ryan Zimmerman began the longball parade with a solo shot into the Red Porch to start the second. He has now driven in

Nationals overpower Marlins in 5-1 win

Ryan Zimmerman crushed a solo homer into the Red Porch at Nationals Park to lead off the second inning. It was Zimmerman’s 12th home run of the season. He has 11 RBIs over his last six games. Danny Espinosa and Jordan Zimmermann reached on bunt singles to start the second. After Jayson Werth grounded into a double play, Anthony Rendon ripped a base hit to

Denard Span: “It’s been a terrible eight months for me”

Denard Span received hugs and handshakes from teammates and coaches as he walked into the Nationals clubhouse for possibly one of the last times on Saturday afternoon. The 31-year-old center fielder will have season-ending surgery on his left hip on Tuesday. “I have a torn labrum, an impingement in my left hip,” Span said. “I just gotta get it worked on. I gotta get it

Turner making first major league start (with lineups)

Center fielder Denard Span’s trip to the disabled list with left hip inflammation this afternoon, and injuries sustained last night by infielder Yunel Escobar (right hand contusion) and center fielder Michael A. Taylor (right knee contusion), will result in prized Nationals rookie Trea Turner making his first major league start tonight. Turner will play second base and bat eighth in the opening game of a

Nats recall den Dekker, DL Span (updated)

The Nationals this afternoon recalled outfielder Matt den Dekker from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the 25-man roster spot of center fielder Denard Span, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left hip inflammation. den Dekker, acquired from the Mets on March 30 in a trade for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins, has hit .184 with two homers and five RBIs in three previous stints

Lineups for Padres-Nationals finale (game on MASN2)

After going 2-for-9 in two games since returning from the disabled list following a prolonged bout with back spasms, Denard Span is getting the night off from the starting lineup as the Nationals complete their three-game series against the Padres. Left fielder Jayson Werth will take over leadoff duties in Span’s absence, with Michael A. Taylor playing center field and hitting eighth against San Diego

Bryce Harper: “I’m trying to come in here and play as hard as I can no matter what”

The Nationals seemed to be in prime position to not only tie last night’s game in the seventh inning but potentially surge ahead of the Padres. After San Diego right-hander Shawn Kelley issued a bases-loaded walk to Anthony Rendon to cut the Nats’ deficit to three, left-hander Marc Rzepczynski entered the game to face Bryce Harper. Down 0-1 in the count, Harper delivered as he

Aggressive play backfires as Nationals lose ground with 6-5 loss

The Nationals can’t afford to battle themselves and the Mets at this point in the season. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez came out sluggish, forcing the Nats to fight uphill all night. An error by Yunel Escobar coupled with an ill-timed double play grounder interfered with a comeback effort as the Nationals fell 6-5. Gonzalez trudged through a 26-pitch first inning, but escaped with consecutive strikeouts of

Comeback falls short, Nats lose 6-5

Gio Gonzalez labored through a 26-pitch first inning that included a hit and a walk before finally escaping with back-to-back strikeouts of Justin Upton and Jedd Gyorko. Denard Span drilled a leadoff double in the first and then advanced to third on Jayson Werth’s groundout. But Span was stranded as Padres starter Tyson Ross fanned Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to end the inning. Ross

Nats’ season of injuries gets bizarre as Reed Johnson strains oblique on sneeze (Update)

If the Nationals miss these playoffs, injuries will undoubtedly be blamed for the team not meeting the sky-high expectations placed on them. Some have been blatant like Jayson Werth’s fractured left wrist on a darting fastball, while others, such as Anthony Rendon’s sprained MCL on a diving play, seemed otherwise harmless. Just last week, there was the unlucky Tyler Moore spraining his left ankle while

Gio Gonzalez aims to continue winning streak (with lineups)

Gio Gonzalez looks to get back on track against the Padres tonight. Gonzalez was on a roll, going 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA over eight starts from June 21-Aug. 10. But since then, the left-hander has battled command issues, dropping two straight games while surrendering 11 runs (10 earned) over just 7 2/3 innings (11.74 ERA). Gonzalez is 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 10

Fair or foul, Bryce Harper helped Nats to 8-3 win

The Nationals held a two-run lead in the sixth last night when Ryan Zimmerman’s grand slam changed the complexion of the game, allowing Washington to coast to their third straight win 8-3. Zimmerman’s epic homer would not have happened if not for a blown call by home plate umpire David Rackley. With two outs and Anthony Rendon on first, the Nationals had Bryce Harper at

Stephen Strasburg shuts down Padres in Nats’ 8-3 win

This Nationals season has been marred by injuries since spring training. Most of tonight’s pregame attention was dominated by the return of Denard Span from the disabled list, finally making the Nats lineup whole for the first time year in the 124th game. But it was Stephen Strasburg, who twice lost large chunks of the season to DL stints, dominating the Padres over six strong

Strasburg, Zimmerman lead Nats to 8-3 win

Stephen Strasburg gave up a leadoff single to Yonder Alonso in the second. Jedd Gyorko then smacked Strasburg’s 97 mph fastball over the wall in left for a two-run homer. Strasburg retired the next three Padres in order. The right-hander has four strikeouts through two innings. The fans at Nationals Park welcomed Denard Span back from the disabled list with a standing ovation before his

Williams explains Roark decison, lines up Scherzer to face Mets

In order to make room for the return of Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams were left with the tough decision to option right-hander Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac. Roark, who went 15-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 31 starts last season, has worked primarily out of the bullpen this season. He’s 1-3 with a

Nationals get Denard Span back for playoff push (Tanner Roark optioned)

It only took 123 games, but it finally appears the Nationals will play with their entire projected opening day lineup when they take on the Padres tonight. Center fielder Denard Span has been reinstated from the disabled list after back spasms sidelined him on July 7. Span missed the first 12 games of the season after undergoing core muscle surgery in early March. It was

Denard Span returns to the Nationals lineup

The Nationals get Denard Span back in the leadoff spot tonight for the first time since 31-year-old went on the disabled on July 7 with back spasms. When Span starts, the Nats are 35-24 this year. He is batting .304 with five homers, 15 doubles, 22 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Yunel Escobar also returns to the lineup after missing the past two games with

Nationals look to go streaking

It doesn’t appear that the New York Mets will make it easy for the Washington Nationals to catch them. The Mets extended their lead in the National League East to 5 1/2 games after bashing a club-record eight home runs in a 16-7 win in Philadelphia last night. The Mets, who welcomed David Wright back from the disabled list, play three more against the Phillies

Anthony Rendon heating up for stretch run

A large part of the expectations heaped on the Nationals this year had to do with Anthony Rendon. The 25-year-old was coming off a breakthrough season, leading the National League in runs scored (111), while slashing .287/.351/.473 with a .824 OPS. In just his second year in the big leagues, he finished fifth in the NL MVP voting. But his promising season was derailed before

Offense finally clicking as Nationals take series with 9-5 win

Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon went deep and Danny Espinosa delivered a three-run double as the Nationals opened up their offense in a 9-5 win over the Brewers. It was the Nationals’ first back-to-back series win since they took three straight series from the Pirates, Braves and Phillies from June 19-June 28. The Nats also claimed only their second series win in D.C. since the

Ramos and Rendon homer as Nats take series with 9-5 win

The Brewers didn’t take long to jump on Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann. Scooter Gennett started the game with a single and then Jonathan Lucroy unloaded on a hanging slider, smacking it over the wall in left-center for a two-run homer. Ryan Braun followed with a shot off the wall in right, but Bryce Harper came up throwing, nailing Braun on a laser at second base.

Jordan Zimmermann aims for series win (with lineups)

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound looking to claim just the second series win for the Nationals at home since the All-Star break. Zimmermann didn’t fare so well facing his home-state Brewers in Milwaukee on June 12. In his second shortest outing of the season, the right-hander allowed six runs on nine hits before being bounced after 3 1/3 innings. Zimmermann is 2-0 with a 3.55

Jayson Werth delivering in a leading role

When Jayson Werth showed up at the ballpark Saturday afternoon, he wasn’t on manager Matt Williams’ original lineup card. The Nationals skipper was looking to give the 36-year-old a night off to recover after the long and late trip back early Friday morning. But moments later, a new batting order was posted with Werth penciled in to lead off. “I really just wanted to play,

Michael A. Taylor powers Nats to 6-1 win

Michael A. Taylor loudly introduced himself tonight, crushing a towering two-run homer in the second to spark the Nationals to a much-needed 6-1 win. It’s the third straight night Taylor has flexed his muscles with a titanic blast, beginning with Thursday’s monstrous 493 foot moonshot at Coors Field. When asked what it meant to own the majors’ longest home run this season after the Nats’

Michael A. Taylor, Anthony Rendon homer in Nats’ 6-1 win

The Nationals lost a quality scoring opportunity in the first. Jayson Werth led off with a single and Anthony Rendon followed with a walk. Bryce Harper then blistered a ball to deep center that Shane Peterson made a sensational diving catch on. Werth tagged, but Peterson’s throw nailed him at third for the second out. Ryan Zimmerman struck out to end the inning. With two

Nats need a late push from Anthony Rendon

It hasn’t been the 2015 season Anthony Rendon or the Nationals expected. After a solid rookie year, Rendon broke through in his sophomore campaign, leading the National League in runs scored (111) and tying for fifth in hits (176) while smacking 21 homers with 83 RBIs. Those impressive numbers led to a Silver Slugger Award and a fifth place finish in the NL MVP vote.

Yunel Escobar not in Nats lineup (updated with Jayson Werth leading off)

Yunel Escobar sits tonight after hyperextending his neck in the first inning of Friday’s 10-3 loss to the Brewers. The Nationals third baseman collided with the railing and then a fan while pursuing a foul ball, which eventually sailed into the seats. Anthony Rendon slides over to third and leads off with Jayson Werth out of the lineup. Rendon is just 2-for-22 over his last

Bryce Harper homers in Nats’ 10-3 loss

With no consistent threats surrounding Bryce Harper in the lineup, the Nationals slugger doesn’t get many opportunities to show his power these days. Boosted by a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning last night, Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson challenged with a first-pitch heater and Harper walloped it deep over the right-center field wall for his National League-leading 31st homer. Harper’s home run drew the Nats

Promising homestand starts with a dud

This was not the start the Nationals were looking for to begin a crucial nine-game homestand. After traveling all night back to D.C. following Thursday’s loss in Denver, the Nats appeared to sleepwalk through much of tonight’s 10-3 blowout at the hands of Brewers. The Nationals pointed to this run of games in front of their home crowd as a chance to make a move

Aaron Barrett was pitching with pain before DL stint

The move to call up top prospect Trea Turner garnered all of the attention earlier today. As part of the announcement, the Nationals placed Tyler Moore on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle and transferred right-hander Aaron Barrett to the 60-day DL with a right elbow sprain. Barrett made his second trip to the DL this season on Aug. 8, two days

Nats blown out 10-3 (Escobar hurt, Turner debuts)

With two outs in the first, Milwaukee’s Adam Lind lifted a foul pop toward the seats on the third base side. Third baseman Yunel Escobar chased in pursuit, crashing into the railing and then into a fan. Unable to make the catch, Escobar remained down as Ian Desmond signaled for assistance. It appeared Escobar injured his left side colliding with the top rail and then

Ian Desmond reacts to Trea Turner joining Nationals

Ian Desmond is experiencing the toughest season of his seven-year career. The 29-year-old has slashed a lowly .211/.255/.334 with a .589 OPS through the first three months, hitting just eight homers, driving in only 24 runs and committing a whopping 20 errors. But since the All-Star break, Desmond revived his season, batting .274 while leading the Nationals with eight homers and 21 RBIs. The Nats

Nats hope home cooking leads to run (with lineups)

After a lengthy West Coast road trip, the Nationals return home, where they will play nine games in a row and 16 of their next 19. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez looks to redeem himself from his worst start of the season last Saturday night. Gonzalez surrendered six run on five hits, departing after just 2 2/3 innings in a 12-6 loss to the Giants. With Brewers

Nats summon top prospect Trea Turner

Highly touted prospect Trea Turner will be in uniform for the Nationals when they open a three-game series with the Brewers tonight. The Nationals selected the contract of the 22-year-old shortstop from Triple-A Syracuse earlier this afternoon. Turner slashed .314/.353/.431 with seven doubles, three triples, three homers, 14 stolen bases and 15 RBIs in 48 games since being promoted to Syracuse on June 26. The

Max Scherzer falls to 11-10 after disappointing road trip

After experiencing his shortest outing of the season, throwing just three innings in an 8-5 loss to the Giants last Friday night, Nationals ace Max Scherzer turned in extra work to fine-tune his mechanics prior to yesterday’s outing in Colorado. “I could tell in the (bullpen sessions) with all the work I’ve been doing in between starts to get that right,” Scherzer told reporters. “I

Nationals limp home after 3-7 road trip

After scoring 15 runs in the opener, the Nationals managed to plate just two in the series finale as the Rockies prevented a sweep with a 3-2 win Thursday night. With the loss, the Nats wasted a prime opportunity to gain a half-game on the Mets, who were off tonight. Despite claiming just their third series win of the second half, the Nationals’ detrimental road

Nats’ bats quiet in 3-2 loss

The Nationals have nothing working on offense tonight. Rockies starter Yohan Flande has limited the Nats to just three baserunners through the first five innings. Bryce Harper’s double in the first is the Nats’ lone hit of the evening. Yunel Escobar followed with a groundout to end the frame and strand Harper. Harper and Ryan Zimmerman have reached on walks tonight. Max Scherzer held the

Nationals game blog: Ryan Zimmerman feasting on Rockies pitching

With the Mets idle tonight, the Nationals look to finish off a sweep over the Rockies and gain a half-game in the race for the National League East crown. The Nationals took the first two games of the series in very different fashion. After pouring in 15 runs on Tuesday night, the Nats were held scoreless until Bryce Harper raced home on a wild pitch Continue reading ....

Max Scherzer looks to rebound for series sweep (with lineups)

For much of this season, Max Scherzer was the game’s most imposing right-hander, tossing a no-hitter and one-hitter in consecutive games. But Scherzer has come back to earth in August. He’s 0-1 with a 7.80 ERA while surrendering five home runs over three starts this month. Scherzer takes the hill tonight aiming to correct his recent troubles and claim the Nationals’ first series sweep since

A healthy Stephen Strasburg proves dominance

Stephen Strasburg watched the Nationals and Rockies combine for 21 runs on 28 hits, including four homers on Tuesday night. He entered Wednesday’s start having lost his only two outings at Coors Field, dinged with a 5.56 ERA. But the talented right-hander blocked all of that out as he blitzed the Rockies lineup with a blazing, high-90s fastball, a baffling changeup and a filthy curveball

Nats gain ground as Jayson Werth delivers late

A night after lighting up the scoreboard, the Nationals’ offense fell asleep for most of Wednesday’s game. With the game knotted at 1-1 with two outs in the eighth, Jayson Werth woke them up, thumping a two-run triple to propel the Nats to a 4-1 win over the Rockies. “I’m just trying to be aggressive,” Werth said on MASN’s “Nats Xtra”. “Things haven’t really been

Stephen Strasburg dominant in 4-1 win

An error and wild pitch led to the Rockies’ first run of game. With one out, Ben Paulsen hit a sharp grounder down the first base line. Ryan Zimmerman shifted to his left but the ball skipped over his glove and into right field. Paulsen hustled to second on Zimmerman’s third error of the season. D.J. LeMahieu’s groundout advanced Paulsen to third. With Nick Hundley

Nationals game blog: Stephen Strasburg aims to foil Rockies

The Nationals snapped their six-game losing streak, scoring a whopping 15 runs, in last night’s win over the Rockies. It was the eighth time the Nats scored 10 or more runs this season. Ian Desmond continued swinging a hot bat, going 3-for-6 with a double and four RBIs. In his last 27 games, Desmond is slashing .313/.376/.606 with eight homers, three doubles, one triple, 19

Anthony Rendon sits, Danny Espinosa starts again (with lineups)

Other than slotting Stephen Strasburg in as tonight’s starter, Nationals manager Matt Williams didn’t touch his lineup card from last night, a lineup that produced 15 runs. That means Jayson Werth remains the leadoff hitter and Anthony Rendon sits for the second consecutive night while Danny Espinosa starts at second base. Espinosa was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored

Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman break out with a big night

Searching for a way to ignite his slumping offense and jumpstart his grizzled veteran’s season, Nationals manager Matt Williams opted to pencil in Jayson Werth in the leadoff spot Tuesday night. For one night, the move delivered, with Werth ripping a double and a single, drawing a walk and scoring all three times he reached base in the Nationals’ 15-6 win over the Rockies in

Losing streak ends with offensive explosion

It wasn’t pretty for a while, but the Nationals finally took advantage of Coors Field to put an end to their six-game losing skid with a lopsided 15-6 win over the Rockies. With the Mets beating the Orioles 5-3, the Nats needed this seesaw battle to tip in their favor just to remain within 4 1/2 games of the lead in the National League East.

Nats offense wakes up in 15-6 win

In the leadoff spot for the first time this year, Jayson Werth flew out to right to start the game. After striking out Danny Espinosa, Rockies starter David Hale walked Bryce Harper. Yunel Escobar then tangled with Hale in an eight-pitch battle, finally making the right-hander pay with a two-run homer drilled to right-center field. It was Escobar’s ninth home run of the season. The

Nationals game blog: Nats need Jordan Zimmermann to be the stopper

The Nationals limp into Denver after being booted out of L.A. and San Francisco on this disastrous 10-game road trip. The numbers are terrible: .179 team batting average over a six-game losing streak, which includes three shutouts, and starting pitchers unable to pitch out of the fifth inning in four of the six defeats. Time to throw them all out of the window. With 45

Jayson Werth leading off (with lineups)

After a day off to regroup, the Nationals open the final series of their 10-game road trip against the Rockies tonight. Washington comes in losers of their past six, hitting .179 and averaging just two runs per game as a team over the slide. In the absence of Denard Span, Nationals manager Matt Williams continues searching for a leadoff hitter. Left fielder Jayson Werth tops

Time for Nationals’ starting rotation to deliver

Offseason dreams of a parade down Constitution Avenue began with the assembly of the Nationals’ impressive starting rotation. While dominating at times, the Nats’ starters haven’t come close to living up to their historic billing. Veteran right-hander Doug Fister, arguably the team’s best pitcher last year, spent more than a month on the disabled list, never got his season on track and was eventually bounced

The consistently inconsistent Nationals offense

No question Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner was lights out yesterday, just as Dodgers aces Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw were in their blanking of the Nationals earlier in the week. But how monotonous has that cop out become for the Nats scuffling offense? The season has reached the point where simply “tipping your cap” to the guy on the mound is unacceptable. “We gotta grind

Reeling Nats swept in Madison Bumgarner’s dominating performance

The Nationals were shut out for the third time on their disastrous road trip, this time at the hands of Madison Bumgarner, who surrendered just two hits in the Giants’ 5-0 win. The four-game sweep in San Francisco extends the Nats’ losing streak to six games, matching their worst run from April 22-April 27. If you’re looking for a silver lining, the Pirates also swept

Nats shut out for third time in last six games

Joe Ross mowed down the Giants lineup the first time through, striking out six of the first nine batters he faced over three perfect innings. But, in the fourth, the rookie right-hander ran into trouble. Gregor Blanco led off with a single, advanced to second on Matt Duffy’s deep fly out to center and then scored on Brandon Belt’s double off the left field wall.

Nationals game blog: Nats look to Joe Ross to end skid

The Nationals send rookie Joe Ross to the mound in hopes of ending a five-game losing streak. Ross is coming off his worst outing since making his major league debut on June 6. The 22-year-old surrendered five runs on six hits with four walks in the Nats’ 5-0 loss to the Dodgers last Tuesday. It was the first time Ross allowed more than three runs

Bryce Harper in lineup for finale in San Francisco

Bryce Harper, the National League’s home run leader, will start in right field this afternoon as the Nationals attempt to prevent a four-game sweep in San Francisco. Harper fouled a ball off his left foot in the seventh inning last night, dropping the young slugger to his knees. He continued the at-bat, lining out to center before heading for the clubhouse. Harper told reporters after

Nationals heading the wrong way at the wrong time

Do you remember the scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” when the couple is yelling frantically at John Candy and Steve Martin, “You’re going the wrong way” as two 18-wheelers are approaching the duo’s car? That’s exactly what’s happening to the Nationals as they appear lost in their 10-game, 11-day journey out west. There’s no method to the madness, either. When the offense shows up,

Losing streak reaches five as Giants double up Nats 12-6

It’s hard to win ballgames when your starting pitchers can’t make it past the third inning. Friday night, Max Scherzer was knocked out after five early runs, and on Saturday, the Giants sent Gio Gonzalez to the showers, plating six in the third as the Nationals dropped their fifth straight game, 12-6. The Nationals presented Gonzalez with an early two-run lead on Yunel Escobar’s RBI

Gio Gonzalez knocked out in third, Nats lose 12-6

The Nationals jumped on the scoreboard in the opening frame. After Michael A. Taylor and Anthony Rendon lined out sharply, Giants starter Jake Peavy walked Byrce Harper. Yunel Escobar then dove a ball to the gap in right-center field. Hunter Pence appeared to take a bad route to the ball and it flew over his head. Harper raced all the way around to the plate

Nationals game blog: Bryce Harper looks for power surge

The reeling Nationals haven’t won since Gio Gonzalez last took the mound. Gonzalez twirled eight scoreless innings in the Nats’ 8-3 win over the Dodgers on Monday night. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA and 43 strikeouts over his last eight starts. According to Elias, the only other Washington pitcher to have at least five wins, no losses, an ERA under 1.50 and

Needing a win, Nationals turn to Gio Gonzalez (with lineups)

Gio Gonzalez heads to the mound to take his turn at stopping the Nationals’ losing streak, now at four games. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in his last eight starts. Gonzalez is coming off his best outing of the season, holding the Dodgers scoreless over eight innings in the Nationals’ 8-3 win last Monday. After failing to finish six innings in his

Add Max Scherzer to the list of Nationals’ concerns

In a season filled with inconsistencies, Max Scherzer was one of the Nationals’ constants. But in the dog days of summer, even the once-dominant right-hander is floundering. The Giants attacked Scherzer for six runs on seven hits in just three innings Friday night as the Nationals fell 8-5 for their fourth straight loss. “The last couple times out, it hasn’t been his best,” Nationals manager

Espinosa and Harper homer, but Giants win 8-5

So far, so good for Nationals manager Matt Williams’ lineup changes. The reconfigured batting order provided right-hander Max Scherzer a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound tonight at AT&T Park. The Nationals are hoping to break a three-game losing streak and even the series in San Francisco. Leadoff man Michael A. Taylor drew a walk from Matt Cain and stole second. Yunel Escobar’s

Nationals game blog: Offense looks to break through

The Nationals have plated just one run over a current three-game losing streak. They will face struggling Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who has allowed four or more runs in five of his seven starts this season. Cain is 5-5 with a 3.34 in 14 career regular season starts against the Nats. Ian Desmond is 4-for-13 (.308) with two homers, three RBIs and two walks over

Max Scherzer aims to regain dominant form (with lineups)

The Nationals send ace Max Scherzer to the mound tonight looking to end a three-game losing streak. Scherzer, who was arguably the National League’s best pitcher through the first half of the season, has not been as dominant since the All-Star break. Scherzer is 1-1 with a 3.90 in his last five starts. The 31-year-old is coming off six innings on Sunday where the Rockies

Matt Williams hints at possible changes to scuffling lineup

The Nationals came out of the All-Star break by beating the Dodgers to climb a season-high 10 games over .500 on July 17 with a three-game hold on first place in the National League East. Since then, the Nats have gone 9-17 to drop 4 1/2 games behind the Mets in the race for the division. With 48 games remaining, including six against the Mets,

Introducing the Nationals’ All-Decade Team

As part of the 10th anniversary celebration for the Nationals, MASNsports.com wanted to determine who were the best players at each position during the team’s first nine seasons in D.C. Born out of some office debate, this process culminated with the selection of a Nationals All-Decade Team by a panel of 16 media members. Let’s be clear: There’s no perfect way to determine the best

Slumping Nats drop third straight

After suffering back-to-back shutouts in Los Angeles, the Nationals managed to muster only one run as their losing streak reached three with the Giants’ 3-1 win. With the Mets completing a sweep of the Rockies earlier Thursday, Washington slid 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East. The night began with heavy promise when Yunel Escobar sent Ryan Vogelsong’s first pitch

Offense quiet again as Nats lose 3-1

The Nationals broke a 19-inning scoreless streak right out of the gates. Yunel Escobar drove Ryan Vogelsong’s first pitch of the game just over the wall in left-center for his third leadoff homer of the year. It was Escobar’s eighth longball of the season and the Nats’ seventh to start a game this season. After Vogelsong walked Bryce Harper, Giants shortstop Brandon Belt robbed Ryan

Nationals game blog: Stephen Strasburg looks for momentum

The Nationals’ 10-game, 11-day West Coast trip continues tonight in San Francisco as Washington opens a four-game set with the Giants. The Nats outscored the Giants 14-5 in a three-game sweep in D.C. July 3-5. Stephen Strasburg started the second game of that series and held San Francisco scoreless over 3 2/3 innings before departing with a strained left oblique. The injury forced Strasburg to

Nats hoping Stephen Strasburg continues dominant form (with lineups)

The Nationals begin a four-game set in San Francisco needing a win to remain 3 1/2 games back of the Mets, who finished off a sweep of the Rockies earlier today. Stephen Strasburg aims to end the Nats’ two-game losing streak. The right-hander returned from the disabled list to spin seven dazzling innings last Saturday night, limiting the Rockies to one run on just three

Drew Storen shaky for third straight time

Drew Storen isn’t pitching with the same dominance he displayed over the season’s first four months. The easy assumption is either his confidence was shot or simply his focus was altered after the Nationals bumped him out of the closer role in favor of Jonathan Papelbon two weeks ago. In 38 appearances pitching the ninth inning or later before Papelbon was acquired, Storen allowed just

Gap widens after Nats shut out for second straight night

The reeling Nationals offense wasted a brilliant performance from Jordan Zimmermann, falling to the Dodgers 3-0. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw retired the first 16 Nationals, taking a perfect game into the sixth before Michael A. Taylor ripped a one-out double over Joc Pederson’s head in center. But Kershaw calmly coaxed two groundouts from Zimmermann and Yunel Escobar to strand Taylor. Anthony Rendon smoked a leadoff

Kershaw outduels Zimmermann in Nats’ 3-0 loss

A leadoff walk to Joc Pederson in the third turned into the Dodgers’ first run. Jose Peraza followed with a broken bat floater that Ian Desmond barehanded on one hop and fired to first for the out. But Pederson advanced to second, where he would score from on Carl Crawford’s two-out single. Jordan Zimmermann has allowed one run on two hits, with one walk and

Nationals game blog: Jordan Zimmermann aims for series win

Jordan Zimmermann is 0-2 with a 4.25 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. That stretch began with an abbreviated four-inning outing against the Dodgers, which was interrupted by a power outage at Nationals Park on July 17. After a lengthy delay, Zimmermann wasn’t able to continue. He gave up two runs on a homer to Adrian Gonzalez before the lights went out. Despite

Bryce Harper returns for matchup with Clayton Kershaw (with lineups)

Bryce Harper returns to the Nationals lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Dodgers. The 22-year-old was scratched yesterday with soreness and swelling in his left knee, resulting from two diving attempts in right field in Monday’s 8-3 win. Harper looks to build on a current 10-game hitting streak. He’s batting .361 (13-for-36) over the stretch, but - despite leading the National League with 29

Best of the Decade: Jayson Werth’s epic Game 4 walk-off homer

As the Nationals celebrate 10 seasons in Washington, D.C., we reflect on some of the best moments since the franchise moved to the nation’s capital. Each Wednesday through mid-August, check out Nationals Pastime for a remembrance of one of the watershed moments in Nationals history. Jayson Werth’s arrival in D.C. late in 2010 was not unanimously approved. Many debated the seven-year, $126 million contract given

Nationals lose ground after 5-0 shutout loss

Rookie right-hander Joe Ross labored through the shortest outing of his young career and the Nationals failed to score against Dodgers ace Zack Greinke for the second time this year, falling 5-0 to slide 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East. Ross had displayed pinpoint control through his first seven starts, walking just four batters while striking out 47 over 45

Joe Ross knocked out in fifth, Nats lose 5-0

Rookie Joe Ross is battling control issues for the first time in the big leagues. The right-hander entered tonight’s game with just four walks in his seven starts in the majors. He had never walked more than one in a game. Tonight, Ross issued back-to-back walks to Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal to start the second. But Ross settled down and retired the next three

Nationals game blog: Ryan Zimmerman looks to continue hot streak

The Nationals will face Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke without the services of Bryce Harper. Harper, the National League’s home run leader, was scratched from tonight’s lineup with soreness in his left knee. The Dodgers have lost four straight, not winning since Greinke last took the mound on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia. Greinke, the NL’s Cy Young favorite, had his worst start of the year that

Bryce Harper scratched, Clint Robinson starts (with lineups)

The Nationals get their second crack at Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke tonight. The National League All-Star starter handcuffed the Nationals in D.C. on July 19, striking out a season-high 11 while yielding just three hits over eight scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ 5-0 shutout win. Greinke’s 1.71 ERA is still the best in the majors, but he was tagged for six runs in six innings

Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond trigger offense to start road trip

The Nationals offense showed no jet lag after flying cross-country to face the Dodgers in the opener of a lengthy 10-game road trip. Washington rapped 13 hits and poured in eight runs as the lineup continues to show signs of gelling. The scorching bat of Ryan Zimmerman started the Nationals’ attack in the second with a leadoff double ripped into the right-center field gap. Two

Gio Gonzalez dominates in Nationals’ 8-3 win

Gio Gonzalez has pitched at a high level for the past two months. The left-hander raised it another notch Monday night, throwing eight scoreless innings in an 8-3 Nationals win. “I just thought he was in command the whole night,” Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters. “The key for him is pitch count early and keeping it down. That allowed him to get through eight

Nats start road trip with impressive 8-3 win

Ryan Zimmerman continued swinging his red-hot bat, ripping a double to right-center in the second. It was Zimmerman’s 10th extra-base hit in his last 13 games since returning from the disabled list. Two batters later, Ian Desmond launched left-hander Brett Anderson’s hanging curveball over the wall in left for a two-run homer. Desmond leads the Nationals with six home runs and 15 RBIs since the

Nationals game blog: Important road trip begins in L.A.

The Nationals are set to begin an 11-game, 10-day road trip, which is likely to prove crucial for playoff positioning. “Look, it is what it is,” pirtcher Max Scherzer said. “You have to win all these games. You have to find a way to dig deep and win these series. I know we’re playing some great teams. We’re going to face the Dodgers, Giants and

Jayson Werth looking to build momentum (with lineups)

The Nationals hope yesterday’s performance from Jayson Werth is a sign of what’s to come from the veteran outfielder for the remainder of the season. The 36-year-old had his first multi-hit game since returning from the disabled list on July 28 after missing 61 games with a fractured left wrist. Werth connected on a fastball in the second inning, drilling it over the wall in

Ryan Zimmerman on Drew Storen: “He’s the least of our worries”

Drew Storen watched his ERA jump from 1.52 to 2.70 over the weekend after two innings of work. The right-hander blew a three-run lead in the blink of an eye on Friday, surrendering a grand slam to Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez. And then yesterday, Storen loaded the bases in the eighth before DJ LeMahieu bounced a ball through the hole to score the eventual game-winning

Home not so sweet for Nationals after series loss to lowly Rockies

The Nationals blew a prime opportunity to gain ground on the New York Mets by dropping two of three to the lowly Rockies with this afternoon’s 6-4 loss. After being swept out of the Big Apple last weekend, the Nats looked to take advantage of seven games in D.C. against the sub .500 Diamondbacks and the Rockies, who live in the basement of the National

Rockies score twice on Drew Storen, Nats lose 6-4

Carlos Gonzalez ruined the Nationals’ night on Friday with his eighth inning grand slam off Drew Storen. In the first inning today, Gonzalez belted a hanging curveball from Max Scherzer deep to right for a two-out solo homer to give the Rockies an early lead. Rockies All-Star Nolan Arenado followed with a base knock to center before Scherzer whiffed Ben Paulsen with a 95 mph

Max Scherzer continues Nats pitching attack; Aaron Barrett to DL (with lineups)

The Nationals send ace Max Scherzer to the mound looking to claim a series win in the finale this afternoon against the Rockies. Scherzer is aiming for his first win at Nationals Park since throwing his no-hitter against the Pirates on June 20. The right-hander didn’t get a decision in the Nats’ 5-4 win over Arizona on Tuesday night when he allowed three runs on

Still buzzing about Stephen Strasburg

It’s a shame that injuries made us wait until August 8 to see the best of Stephen Strasburg this season. The right-hander missed nearly two months, or approximately nine valuable starts, with two separate trips to the disabled list, not to mention a few other nagging discomforts he tried to but was never really able to pitch through. After last night’s dazzling 12-strikeout, three-hit lockdown,

Stephen Strasburg blows away Rockies in Nats’ 6-1 win

The Nationals may have found their secret weapon for the playoff run and he has a familiar face. Stephen Strasburg reintroduced himself to the season with his a 12-strikeout domination of the Rockies in the Nationals’ 6-1 win. Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon welcomed Strasburg back with a leadoff double in the first, but then the tall right-hander went to work. He finished the frame

Stephen Strasburg strikes out 12, Nats win 6-1

Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon welcomed Stephen Strasburg back from the disabled list with a leadoff double in the first. No worries though as Strasburg retired the next three Rockies in order, stranding Blackmon after whiffing National League RBI leader Nolan Arenado on a filthy curveball. Strasburg threw 12 pitches in the opening frame, reaching 98 mph with the heater. In the second, Strasburg added

Denard Span suffers setback

Denard Span traveled to New York one week ago to test out his ailing back with workouts at Citi Field. After taking his first swings in over three weeks, Span told reporters it was time to “put the rubber to the road and see where I’m at and test it out ... just rev it up.” But Span wasn’t able to make his scheduled live

Rendon moves to third, Espinosa starts at second with Escobar out (with lineups)

The Nationals can’t seem to catch a break. Once again, they will play without once of their most effective hitters with Yunel Escobar sick. “Yunel is feeling terrible,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s been feeling bad for a couple days. Today is the worst day.” Anthony Rendon will make his seventh start of the season at third base while Danny Espinosa plays second. Espinosa sparked

Nationals reinstate Stephen Strasburg, place Dan Uggla on disabled list

The Nationals welcome Stephen Strasburg back to the mound tonight. The right-hander was reinstated after landing on the 15-day disabled list back on July 5. Strasburg strained his left oblique the day before in the fourth inning of a start against the Giants. The Nationals look for Strasburg to regain the form he showed before the setback. The 27-year-old was 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA

Nats looking for boost from Stephen Strasburg’s return

The Nationals need a dominant and healthy Stephen Strasburg to return to the mound tonight and remain in the rotation until the final out of the year. Bothered by injuries since spring training and derailed twice by lengthy stints on the disabled list, Strasburg is set to make just his 14th start of the season tonight against the Rockies. Strasburg emerged from his first trip

Nats stunned after Drew Storen bombed for late grand slam

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made a controversial decision to acquire closer Jonathan Papelbon 10 days ago. The move, before the non-waiver trade deadline, knocked Drew Storen back to the eighth inning, despite his 29 saves. There was a need for backend of the bullpen help coupled with concerns with Storen’s mental makeup in October based on postseason mishaps in 2012 and 2014. Storen bristled

Drew Storen surrenders grand slam, Nats lose 5-4

The Nationals jumped out to an early lead sparked by Danny Espinosa in the first. Espinosa ripped a double down the left field line and then took third when Kyle Parker misplayed the ball. Bryce Harper followed with a groundout to second which scored Espinosa easily. It was Harper’s 69th RBI, placing him fifth in the National League. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has yielded one hit

Doug Fister reacts after demotion to bullpen

After struggling through most of the season as a starter, right-hander Doug Fister learned yesterday he’ll spend the remainder of the season pitching out of the Nationals bullpen. “It’s not the most fun message to go across,” Fister said. “But you’ve gotta have a positive outlook on it and stay with it. It’s one of those situations where it’s not something you want to do,

Anthony Rendon gets day off to start series against Rockies (with lineups)

Anthony Rendon will get the day off in the series opener against the Rockies at Nationals Park. Danny Espinosa will start at second base for the Nationals after having started for Ian Desmond at shortstop two days ago. In just 30 games with the Nats this season, Rendon is hitting .279 after going 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in last night’s win.

Desmond, Ramos and Robinson provide punch in Nats offense

Lost a bit after another stellar performance from Joe Ross, and the subsequent big news that he was taking Doug Fister’s spot in the rotation, was the spark that Ian Desmond provided early in yesterday’s 8-3 win over Arizona. Desmond was given Wednesday off after going through a 4-for-31 stretch, which included a startling 14 strikeouts. In the second inning, Desmond jumped on right-hander Jeremy

Joe Ross remains in rotation, Doug Fister sent to bullpen

Following another impressive performance from rookie Joe Ross in the Nationals’ 8-3 win over the Diamondbacks, manager Matt Williams announced a major shakeup to the starting rotation. “Doug (Fister) is gonna go to our bullpen,” Williams said. Ross will remain in the rotation with Stephen Strasburg (strained left oblique) set to return from the disabled list to start Saturday night against the Rockies at Nationals

Joe Ross leads Nats to 8-3 win

For the third straight game, the Nationals have scored first. Ian Desmond mashed right-hander Jeremy Hellickson’s first offering deep over the wall in the left-center alley in the second. The solo shot was Desmond’s 12th homer on the season. Nationals rookie right-hander Joe Ross has struck out three over the first two innings while yielding one hit. Update: Desmond roped a double off the wall

With Nats looking up at first place, no worries for Bryce Harper

On the heels of last night’s 11-4 drubbing by the Diamondbacks, the Nationals find themselves two games behind the Mets for the lead in the Naional League East. Oh, how the tables have turned in one week. Last Thursday at this time, the Nats led the division by two games, fresh off a two-homer, four RBI performance from slugger Bryce Harper in Miami the night

Bullpen collapses after Gio Gonzalez departs

For the third straight start, Gio Gonzalez was unable to pitch out of the sixth inning. Manager Matt Williams yanked Gonzalez after 95 pitches and turned to his bullpen, which promptly allowed four quick runs to change the complexion of the game in the Nationals’ 11-4 loss to the Diamondbacks. The decision surrounding Gonzalez’s removal seemed strange. The left-hander yielded seven hits with one walk

Bullpen bombed in Nats’ 11-4 loss

Led by Yunel Escobar, the Nationals came out swinging the bats aggressively for the second straight night. Escobar drilled Rubby De La Rosa’s first-pitch heater over center fielder A.J. Pollock to start the game with a double. Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper drew consecutive walks to load the bases for Ryan Zimmerman with no outs. Zimmerman lifted a fly ball to right that was deep

Ian Desmond sits as erratic season continues

Ian Desmond’s erratic season in the field and at the plate has led him to be the most criticized Washington Nationals player this season. So it’s quite ironic that public sentiment is for Danny Espinosa, the most criticized Nat of the past few years, to replace Desmond in the lineup. Either way, Desmond sits tonight and Espinosa makes his fifth start of the season at

Danny Espinosa gets start (with lineups)

Danny Espinosa has made just one start since Anthony Rendon returned from the disabled list July 25. Tonight, Espinosa gets the nod at shortstop, with Ian Desmond receiving a night off. Espinosa has slashed .249/.320/.411 with 10 homers this season while showing stellar defense at five different positions. However, Espinosa’s production at the plate dropped off significantly at the plate over the past month, like

Best of the Decade: Stephen Strasburg’s electrifying debut

As the Nationals celebrate 10 seasons in Washington, D.C., we reflect on some of the best moments since the franchise moved to the nation’s capital. Each Wednesday through mid-August, check out Nationals Pastime for a remembrance of one of the watershed moments in Nationals history. When Stephen Strasburg took the mound for the first time in a Nationals uniform on June 8, 2010, Sports Illustrated

Nats get gritty performance from Max Scherzer in 5-4 win

The Nationals offense came out of the gates quick, fell asleep for a couple hours and then awakened just in time to beat the Diamondbacks 5-4 to remain one game behind in the National League East race. Yunel Escobar smacked his second leadoff homer of the year to get things going in the first. A base knock from Anthony Rendon and a blistered double from

Wilson Ramos delivers in clutch, Nats win 5-4

Yunel Escobar wasted no time helping the Nationals offense get on the board tonight. Escobar launched a 1-1 fastball off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin over the center field wall for his second leadoff homer of the season. The hit parade continued with a single to center from Anthony Rendon followed by a scorched double to right by Bryce Harper. Ryan Zimmerman’s drilled liner to left

Stephen Strasburg appears ready to return to mound for Nats (game started)

Stephen Strasburg appears ready to rejoin the Nationals rotation. The right-hander made what’s expected to be his final minor league rehab start last night for Triple-A Syracuse. Strasburg tossed 85 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, yielding two runs on five hits while striking out 11 without a walk. “I felt good,” said Strasburg, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 5 with

Can Max Scherzer be the stopper? (with lineups)

The Nationals haven’t won since Max Scherzer took the mound last Thursday. The right-hander spun another gem, throwing seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in a 1-0 shutout in Miami. Tonight, they’ll lean on their ace as they attempt to end a four-game losing skid, which has left them outside of the playoff picture looking in. The Diamondbacks send left-hander Patrick Corbin to the hill

Offensive funk continues for Nats in four-game slide

No one would argue that the Nationals haven’t faced some of the game’s most imposing arms since the All-Star break - Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom - but Arizona’s Zack Godley doesn’t fall into that category. Yet the unheralded rookie baffled the Nats lineup Monday night, tossing six scoreless innings while yielding just three singles with six strikeouts in only his third

Sinking Nats fall out of first place while Fister’s inconsistent season continues

For the third straight night, a Nationals starter ran into trouble with the longball. This time it was the Diamondbacks shelling Doug Fister for three homers as the Nationals fell out of first place in the National League East for the first time since June 19 with a 6-4 loss. “(I’m) continuing to work through some of the trials that I’ve got,” Fister said. “Just

Diamondbacks bomb Fister, Nats lose 6-4

Doug Fister rolled through the first two innings facing the minimum batters. With one out in the third, Fister fell behind 3-1, and then left a sinker out over the plate and Nick Ahmed pummeled it deep over the wall in left-center field. The solo shot was Ahmed’s seventh homer of the year and the tenth longball allowed by Fister. The Nationals are still looking

Doug Fister looks to build momentum on the mound (with lineups)

Fresh off one of his better performances of the season, veteran right-hander Doug Fister looks to build some momentum tonight against the Diamondbacks at Nationals Park. Fister tossed six strong innings last Wednesday in Miami, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts to claim the win. The Diamondbacks send rookie right-hander Zack Godley to the hill for his third career start. Godley, who

Nats hoping comforts of home lead to more runs

The Nationals return to the comforts of their home ballpark tonight after a long 3-7 road trip over the past 11 days. They battled top flight pitching throughout the journey beginning with the likes Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole in Pittsburgh and finishing off with hot-shot young arms Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in New York. Despite Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan

No panicking for Nats after being swept out of New York

FLUSHING, N.Y. - After a disastrous weekend in New York, the Nationals find themselves deadlocked atop the division and in a dogfight with the Mets for the remaining two months of the season. The finale unraveled in a flash for Jordan Zimmermann. The Mets unloaded with three homers off the right-hander in the third inning as New York went on to sweep the Nationals with

Zimmermann pounded for three homers, Nats lose 5-2

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Anthony Rendon wasted no time giving the Nationals offense a much-needed early spark. Rendon drilled a 98-mph heater from Mets starter Noah Syndergaard to straightaway center for a solo homer with one-out in the first. The umpires initially ruled that the ball stayed in the park, but after a brief crew chief review, the call was overturned and Rendon was awarded his

Nationals game blog: Pressure-packed finale in the Big Apple

FLUSHING, N.Y. - With 60 games left in the season, the Nationals hold a slim one-game lead over the Mets in the National League East heading into tonight’s series finale. Washington has been on the wrong side of two narrowly contested one-run ballgames the last two days in playoff-type atmospheres. “I think it’s great,” said Jayson Werth after the second-largest crowd in Citi Field history

Jordan Zimmermann aims to avoid sweep (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound looking to hold off the Mets in the National League East. Washington will need more offense to avoid the sweep after plating a combined three runs in the first two losses of the series. The Nats have scored two or fewer runs in five of their last six games. The Nationals have won six

Composed and confident, rookie Joe Ross continues to impress

FLUSHING, N.Y. - For the second time in less than two weeks, Nationals rookie right-hander Joe Ross went toe-to-toe with Mets ace Jacob deGrom, last year’s National League Rookie of the Year. Ross was stingy, dominating eight of the nine batters in the Mets lineup. Lucas Duda, the lone exception, was the difference in the game. “He pitched well,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said about

Division lead down to one after Lucas Duda makes Nats pay on late gamble

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The second largest crowd in Citi Field history watched Mets first baseman Lucas Duda basically beat the Nationals single-handedly in New York’s 3-2 come-from-behind win on Saturday night. After plating two early runs in the first off All-Star Jacob deGrom, the Nats bats went silent and the shoulders of rookie Joe Ross got heavier. Ross sped through the Mets order in the

Denard Span looking to “rev it up”

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Denard Span joined the Nationals this afternoon as his rehab progresses. The veteran center fielder picked up a bat for the first time since back spasms forced him to the 15-day disabled list on July 7. Span took around 30 swings off the tee in the indoor cage at Citi Field before going outside to throw. “I’ve been doing a lot of

Lucas Duda, Mets take down Nats 3-2

FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Nationals were all over Mets ace Jacob deGrom out of the gates. Back-to-back one-out singles from Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper gave the Nats runners at the corners. After Ryan Zimmerman drilled a ball right at Curtis Granderson, Jayson Werth worked a walk to load the bases. Ian Desmond then delivered a clutch two-out broken bat liner up the middle, which

Nationals game blog: Bryce Harper looks to spark Nats’ offense early

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Nationals manager Matt Williams said he had a talk with Bryce Harper after last night’s 11th-inning ejection. Williams chose not to expand on the conversation. Following the 2-1 loss, Williams repeatedly said of Harper, “he needs to stay in the baseball game.” Williams moved Harper up to third in the lineup to maximize his opportunities against Mets starter Jacob deGrom. Harper is

It won’t get easier for Nats’ scuffling offense against deGrom tonight (with lineups)

FLUSHING, N.Y. - After totaling two runs over 21 innings the last two days, it won’t get any easier for the scuffling Nationals offense facing Mets ace Jacob deGrom this evening. The Nats went 15 innings between Ryan Zimmerman’s solo homer early Thursday and Yunel Escobar’s RBI single late Friday without scoring a run. In last night’s 2-1 loss, the Nats struck out 16 times

Heavy work for Nats bullpen leaves concern

FLUSHING, N.Y. - After displaying improved control and command over the past month, Gio Gonzalez labored through his abbreviated start last night. Gonzalez walked four and let his pitch count balloon up to 105 pitches, forcing Nationals manager Matt Williams to yank the left-hander with two men on and two outs in the fifth. “I just put my team in a tough situation,” Gonzalez said.

Matt Williams on Bryce Harper: “He needs to stay in the baseball game”

FLUSHING, N.Y. - In a tie game with postseason implications in a playoff-type atmosphere, Bryce Harper, arguably the MVP of the National League, got himself ejected after striking out in the 11th inning. “He needs to stay in the baseball game,” manager Matt Williams repeated three times, after the Nationals lost 2-1 on Wilmer Flores’ walk-off homer in the 12th. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals

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