Eaton still sitting, could be ready Monday (Nats up 7-3)

The Nationals remain cautious with Adam Eaton, who hurt his right knee Wednesday night and hasn’t started a game since. But they remain optimistic the right fielder will be back in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Mets.

Eaton took a pitch off the area just below his right knee in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Orioles. He briefly remained in the game, but after struggling to advance from first to third base on Anthony Rendon’s subsequent double, he was removed in favor of Gerardo Parra.

Eaton-Homers-White-sidebar.jpgEaton did return to pinch-hit Friday night and drew a key walk to ignite a seventh-inning rally against the Marlins, but he again struggled to run the bases and was replaced by Max Scherzer, who would eventually score the go-ahead run.

Eaton didn’t play at all Saturday night, and he’s again out of the lineup for today’s series finale against Miami. The Nationals believe he’s making progress, though, and should be back at full strength soon.

“He’s better,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We’re going to use him again today off the bench, but hopefully by tomorrow he’s ready to play.”

Parra has started in Eaton’s place throughout. The Nationals also now have Andrew Stevenson on their bench as another outfield replacement with the expanded September roster.

Update: Patrick Corbin is dealing early on in today’s series finale. The left-hander has retired all nine Marlins he has faced through three innings, striking out five.

Corbin, who already sports an 0.78 ERA in three previous starts against Miami this season, needed only 32 pitches to complete his first three innings.

The Nationals gave Corbin a 1-0 lead, though it required a Marlins gaffe. After Juan Soto led off the bottom of the second with a double, the Nats nearly stranded him on base. But with two outs and Soto on third, Martín Prado fielded Yan Gomes’ routine grounder to third and threw just wild enough across the diamond to pull Garrett Cooper off first base. Gomes was safe, as was Soto, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead.

Soto added an RBI double in the second for a 2-0 edge.

Update II: Well, this game took a surprising turn for the worse. And quick. Corbin retired the first 12 batters he faced, seven via strikeout. He hadn’t so much as dropped one bead of sweat. But then came the top of the fifth, during which four straight Marlins reached base, two of them scoring. Starlin Castro blasted a leadoff homer to center. Three batters later, Austin Dean ripped an RBI double to left. And when Bryan Holaday lofted a sacrifice fly to center, the Marlins suddenly had a 3-2 lead. That’s three more runs than they scored in 27 previous innings vs. Corbin this season. But wait, the Nats came right back to re-take the lead, and you’ll never guess who was responsible for that. Yep, Anthony Rendon has done it again. His two-run homer to left-center was his 32nd of the season, his third in less than 24 hours. And he now has 111 RBIs, breaking Ryan Zimmerman’s single-season club record. The Nationals are back on top, 4-3 after five.

Update III: Speaking of a surprising turn of events, the Nationals have extended their lead to 7-3 thanks to back-to-back homers by Zimmerman and Yan Gomes. Yes, Zimmerman and Gomes. Zimmerman absolutely destroyed his, a 437-foot bomb to left-center with an exit velocity of 110.6 mph. And he finally got to do the dugout dance line for the first time this season. Gomes followed with a ball straight down the left field line. Just like that, the Nationals are rolling again, up 7-3 after six.

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