Zim's big night carries Nats over Cards

Zim's big night carries Nats over Cards

ST. LOUIS -- With a pair of solo homers and a go-ahead RBI double off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals salvage a win during their three-game visit to Busch Stadium. Washington's 4-3 victory halted the Cardinals' winning streak at four games.

Zimmerman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, took fill-in starter Tyler Lyons deep with solo shots in the fourth and sixth. Jayson Werth preceded those blasts with one of his own, a solo homer in the third inning that erased the Cardinals' early lead.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vintage Zimmerman on a tear for Nats

Vintage Zimmerman on a tear for Nats

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Zimmerman cannot be stopped. He is the Nationals' hottest hitter, and it was his bat that helped his team edge the Cardinals, 4-3, on Wednesday night.

How hot is Zimmerman? In his last seven games, he is 12-for-29 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. He has homered in five out of his last seven games, and he homered in all three games in St. Louis.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper exits with tightness in left glute

Harper exits with tightness in left glute

ST. LOUIS -- Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper left Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Cardinals because of tightness in his left glute and was replaced by Matt den Dekker.

Harper went 0-for-2 before exiting in the middle of the fourth inning.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Pen session, but no start, for Stras Friday

'Pen session, but no start, for Stras Friday

ST. LOUIS -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will throw a bullpen session on Friday, but he will not make his scheduled start against the Braves that night, according to manager Matt Williams. The news comes after Strasburg threw on flat ground on Wednesday without any pain in his back. Tightness in his back caused him leave Sunday's game against the Marlins after four innings.

"[Strasburg] has to get through the bullpen, which doesn't allow enough time [to make a start]," Williams said. "We have to make sure he feels good letting [the ball] go."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats add Martin, Grace to overworked 'pen

Nats add Martin, Grace to overworked 'pen

ST. LOUIS -- Needing to replenish an overworked bullpen, the Nationals recalled right-hander Rafael Martin and left-hander Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday.

Help was needed because six relievers pitched six innings in Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats face Braves, looking to gain ground

Nats face Braves, looking to gain ground

The Braves have had their struggles, but they may gain a bit of solace in the role of spoiler in a series against the Nationals, who are trying to make a postseason run though they begin the series 6 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East race.

The four-game series begins Atlanta's next-to-last road trip of the season. The Nationals return to D.C. for a seven-game homestand after losing two out of three games in St. Louis.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For Nats' bullpen, loss to Cards twice as tough

Janssen takes defeat for second straight game in St. Louis, this time serving up walk-off homer

For Nats' bullpen, loss to Cards twice as tough

ST. LOUIS -- For the second consecutive game, the Nationals' bullpen was unable to contain the Cardinals. Tuesday night, the struggles led to an 8-5 walk-off loss at Busch Stadium.

With the Nationals leading, 5-3, in the eighth inning, the Cardinals had runners on first and second and no outs, when Greg Garcia bunted toward reliever Drew Storen, who tried to get the forceout at third base. But the ball went past third baseman Yunel Escobar for an error, allowing Tommy Pham to score and make it a one-run game.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats erupt early, only to drop heartbreaker

Nats erupt early, only to drop heartbreaker

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss' three-run home run capped a two-out ninth-inning rally as the Cardinals prolonged their home dominance over the Nationals with an 8-5 win Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

The win extended the Cardinals' lead to six games over the Pirates in the National League Central, while the Nationals remained 6 1/2 behind the Mets in the NL East.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals call up catching prospect Severino

Solis recalled from Triple-A; Uggla activated from disabled list

Nationals call up catching prospect Severino

ST. LOUIS -- The Nationals added to their Major League roster by selecting the contract of catcher Pedro Severino from Double-A Harrisburg and recalling left-hander Sammy Solis from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. The team also activated Dan Uggla from the 15-day disabled list.

Severino, ranked by MLB.com as the Nationals' No. 9 prospect, is considered an above-average defensive catcher, throwing out 38 percent of would-be basestealers in 331 Minor League games.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Voth dominates for Senators, Skole shows off power

Nationals No. 10 prospect scatters three hits in seven scoreless, No. 22 prospect homers twice

Voth dominates for Senators, Skole shows off power

A pair of Nationals prospects stole the show Tuesday night as Austin Voth dominated on the mound for Double-A Harrisburg while Matt Skole paced Triple-A Syracuse's offense with two home runs.

Voth, the Nationals' No. 10 prospect, scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings in Harrisburg's 5-0 victory over Richmond, marking his sixth scoreless outing in 26 starts this season. He walked two and struck out four, throwing 64 of 97 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals to send six prospects to AFL

No. 4 prospect Difo leads Washington contingent on the Rafters

Nationals to send six prospects to AFL

ST. LOUIS -- Nationals pitchers Dakota Bacus, Nick Lee, John Simms, catcher Spencer Kieboom, infielder Wilmer Difo and third baseman Drew Ward will play for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. The team will be managed by Tripp Keister, who managed Class A Advanced Potomac.

Difo, the Nationals' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com, is the only one with Major League experience. He had a couple of stints in the big leagues this year and went 1-for-8 in eight games. Difo also had a solid Minor League season, hitting .290 with four home runs and 51 RBIs for Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen inconsistency stunting Nats' progress

Ineffectiveness, injuries plague relief corps

Bullpen inconsistency stunting Nats' progress

ST. LOUIS -- After losing a heartbreaker to the Cardinals, 8-5, on Monday night at Busch Stadium, the Nationals lost a chance to keep pace with the Mets, who won their game against the Phillies and now lead the Nationals League East by 6 1/2 games.

It was Washington's bullpen that couldn't hold a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning. It started with right-hander Casey Janssen, who looked like he was going to get out of the inning when he induced Greg Garcia to hit into a double play. But it went downhill after that.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zim's big night overshadowed in setback

Zim's big night overshadowed in setback

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Heyward smashed a two-run double off of the left-field wall to highlight a five-run seventh as the Cardinals beat the Nationals, 8-5, on Monday night at Busch Stadium. With the win, the Cards extended their lead in the National League Central to 5 games, while Nats fell to 6 1/2 back in the NL East.

Heyward's double was the only extra-base hit of the night for the Cardinals. All eight position players reached base, and Heyward, Kolten Wong, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta each had a pair of hits.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmerman swinging a hot stick

Credits regular playing time for offensive groove

Zimmerman swinging a hot stick

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Zimmerman couldn't deny it. The Nationals lost a heartbreaker Monday night. They blew a three-run lead and lost to the Cardinals, 8-5, at Busch Stadium.

It was Zimmerman who gave Washington a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh before the bullpen gave it right back in the bottom of the inning, as the Nationals dropped to 6 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East race.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats rally to take rubber game from Marlins

Nats rally to take rubber game from Marlins

WASHINGTON -- A combination of long balls and long rallies paced the Nationals on Sunday as they clinched their fourth consecutive series victory with a 7-4 win over the Marlins at Nationals Park. Washington remains 5 1/2 games back of the Mets, who beat the Red Sox, 5-4.

"We've got a long way to go," outfielder Jayson Werth said. "We've got a tough three-game road trip in St. Louis. We need to keep winning series and keep winning ballgames to give ourselves a chance. I don't think anybody in here has given up. I think everyone believes in each other and believes in this team. We've got a long way to go."

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fister earns win with strong effort out of bullpen

Fister earns win with strong effort out of bullpen

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Doug Fister came out of the bullpen and picked up the win in the Nationals' 7-4 victory over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

It was Fister's first win since July 29 against the Marlins. It was also his first win as a reliever this year. Fister lost his spot in the rotation to Joe Ross and was assigned to a long-relief role on Aug. 6.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Schrock on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Astros prospect homers thrice, on list for record-tying fourth time in 2015

Schrock on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

A.J. Reed is at it again. The Astros first-base prospect homered three more times and drove in seven more runs last week at Double-A Corpus Christi, earning Prospect Team of the Week honors for the fourth time in 2015. That ties Reed with Kyle Schwarber for the most recognition this year.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats outfielder Johnson plans to play in 2016

Nats outfielder Johnson plans to play in 2016

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Reed Johnson said he plans to return for the 2016 season. He said playing with Class A Advanced Potomac during a recent rehab stint helped him decide on his future.

"I'm going to try to play again," Johnson said. "When I was in the rehab stint with those guys, it was one of the great times I had all year. … It reassured me to keep playing."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Three homers help Nationals top Marlins, gain game

Three homers help Nationals top Marlins, gain game

WASHINGTON -- Backed by three home runs, including back-to-back blasts from Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond in the sixth inning, Jordan Zimmermann turned in seven strong innings in the Nationals' 5-1 series-tying victory against the Marlins on Saturday night.

Zimmermann, who improved to 11-8 with the win, scattered seven hits. Justin Bour's second-deck home run in the seventh was the only interruption in a string of zeros.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Awaiting surgery, Span reflects on injury-plagued '15

Awaiting surgery, Span reflects on injury-plagued '15

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span knew something was wrong with his left hip after he saw a back specialist a few weeks ago. Span would later learn that he had a torn labrum in the hip, and he will have surgery Tuesday to repair it.

Span said every time he had back spasms, he would feel pain in the hip, but that pain felt secondary to the back spasms. But once he received a cortisone shot for his back, that's when Span knew something was wrong with the hip.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Turner impresses in first MLB start -- at second

Natural shortstop and No. 2 Nats prospect makes dazzling play

Turner impresses in first MLB start -- at second

WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner made his first Major League start on Friday night, and the natural shortstop showed impressive defensive ability at second base in the Nationals' 4-3 loss to the Marlins.

In the sixth inning, Turner, the No. 2 prospect in the Nationals' system and 11th-ranked prospect in all of baseball, covered a lot of ground toward the right-field foul line and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a Marcell Ozuna pop fly into the Bermuda Triangle in shallow right field. According to Statcast™, Turner ran up to 20.6 mph and covered 107.4 feet to make the grab.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Velocity OK, is location Scherzer's problem?

Nationals' ace continues to struggle since All-Star break, allowing four runs vs. Fish

Velocity OK, is location Scherzer's problem?

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer acknowledged that the losses are painful. He admitted that he made mistakes in the 4-3 defeat to the Marlins on Friday night.

Scherzer allowed two home runs, and they proved costly in a game Washington needed to win. With the first-place Mets losing, the Nationals remained 6 1/2 games back in the National League East.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats can't rally after Scherzer struggles early

Nats can't rally after Scherzer struggles early

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins scored four runs in the first four innings off Max Scherzer on Friday night, then held on tight, earning a 4-3 win over the Nationals in the series opener.

Scherzer's counterpart, rookie Adam Conley, limited the Nats to three runs on six hits over five-plus innings in his fifth career start. Washington squandered its best chance to erase the deficit when it loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning, but managed only one run.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Aggressive Nats pick up slack for Harper vs. Koehler

Outfielder, who entered with four HRs off righty, goes hitless, but Zim, Robinson, Desmond homer

Aggressive Nats pick up slack for Harper vs. Koehler

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals hit three home runs off Tom Koehler on Saturday night, but Bryce Harper went hitless in three at-bats against the Marlins' right-hander. There was a feeling that Harper might do some damage against Koehler, considering the outfielder hit four homers off him in eight at-bats this season, including three in one game on May 6.

Ryan Zimmerman, Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond were the ones to homer off Koehler in Saturday's 5-1 win at Nationals Park. They didn't waste time hitting the home runs, either.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taylor OK, but injuries force Nats to shuffle lineup

Taylor OK, but injuries force Nats to shuffle lineup

WASHINGTON -- Given the speed and severity of Michael Taylor's crash into the outfield wall on Thursday night, the news out of the Nationals camp on Friday was promising.

Taylor underwent tests on his right knee, and no structural damage was revealed, confirming the original diagnosis of a right knee contusion.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon ends Padres' rally with fantastic stop

Rendon ends Padres' rally with fantastic stop

WASHINGTON -- With the Nationals' collective back against the wall and Melvin Upton Jr. on third base, Anthony Rendon dove to his stomach.

In doing so, the third baseman robbed Jedd Gyorko of a hit, preserved a two-run lead and helped the Nationals to a 4-2 win over the Padres, ensuring Washington wouldn't lose ground in an already uphill chase for the National League East crown.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How Strasburg got back to being an ace

50/7 K/BB in 41 2/3 innings since first trip to disabled list

How Strasburg got back to being an ace

This is shaping up to be a pretty disappointing season for the Washington Nationals, and that seemingly goes double for Stephen Strasburg, who has visited the disabled list twice this year and carried an ERA north of 5.00 into July. Even now, he still has an unsightly 4.22 mark, the second worst of the six Washington pitchers with at least 10 starts, and higher than 84 other pitchers who have thrown at least 80 innings this year. As the Nationals have watched their playoff odds sink from 89 percent in early July to under 8 percent on Thursday, the seemingly subpar season from Strasburg has looked like a big reason why.

Now, it's fair to say that when we look back on Strasburg's career, 2015 won't stand out among his best. But that pedestrian ERA hides the many ups and downs of Strasburg's year, from the fact that he's actually been a lot better than his line looks, to the multiple reasons why he hasn't been able to keep runs off the board, to what's different now that he's been absolutely dominant in four starts since returning from the disabled list (32/2 K/BB, five earned runs in 26 innings).

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross goes 6 strong as Nationals top Padres

Ross goes 6 strong as Nationals top Padres

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals, who are chasing the Mets in the National League East race, got a much-needed win on Thursday night against the Padres. Right-hander Joe Ross pitched six strong innings in a 4-2 victory at Nationals Park. Washington remains 6 1/2 games back of the Mets, who topped the Phillies.

"We need to win series. We can't worry about anything else or anybody else. We have to take care of our business. It was a good win tonight," Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.