Nats back Roark early to take Phils opener

Nats back Roark early to take Phils opener

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals began a stretch of 22 consecutive games against National League East opponents on Monday night, a chance, perhaps, for them to get on a roll considering they began the day with the best record against their own division in the Majors.

They began that stretch with a gem from right-hander Tanner Roark, combined with a two-run first inning, for a 4-0 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Roark held the Phillies to four hits in seven innings while Jayson Werth continued to torment his former team with a solo homer in the first inning.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth keeps raking at Citizens Bank Park

Werth keeps raking at Citizens Bank Park

PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth does not care much that he still gets booed at Citizens Bank Park, even though he spent four successful seasons here and won a World Series in 2008.

"If they didn't care, they wouldn't boo or cheer," Werth said. "So on some level I think they still care."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All signs positive for Stras after bullpen session

All signs positive for Stras after bullpen session

PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session at Citizens Bank Park prior to Monday night's game against the Phillies, one week after he was placed on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow.

The Nationals said placing Strasburg on the DL was strictly precautionary and that they hoped he would be able to return once he is eligible. So far the signs have all been positive for Strasburg, who has also played catch numerous times in the past week.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals promote Taylor, option Giolito

Nationals promote Taylor, option Giolito

The Nationals are adding even more speed to their already swift center-field situation.

Washington recalled speedster Michael Taylor from Triple-A on Monday, giving them another blazing outfield option to go along with Trea Turner and Ben Revere. Right-handed starter Lucas Giolito was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse in a corresponding move.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Nats will call up Latos in September

Veteran right-hander had clause to opt out of Minor League deal Monday

Source: Nats will call up Latos in September

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Mat Latos is expected to join the Nationals once the Major League rosters expand to 40, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com.

The Nationals have not confirmed the report.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Scherzer faces Phils aiming to build on 10-K outing

Scherzer faces Phils aiming to build on 10-K outing

Max Scherzer returned to vintage form in his most recent start, on Thursday, after a pair of middling outings preceding it. As the Nationals look to extend an already firm lead in the National League East against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday, they will hope Scherzer's 10 strikeouts over eight shutout innings against the Orioles can propel him into his Tuesday start and on a run into the postseason.

Only once this season has Scherzer not been able to follow a double-digit-strikeout performance either with another or by holding his opponent to one run or fewer.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals launch 3 jacks, can't rally in finale

Nationals launch 3 jacks, can't rally in finale

WASHINGTON -- Nolan Arenado proved to be too much for the Nationals. He drove in three runs and was a double short of the cycle as he helped the Rockies defeat the Nats, 5-3, at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon. The Rox have been tough on postseason contenders, going 8-4 against the Nationals and Cubs this season.

"It's still frustrating, knowing that we beat the best team, and then we lose to teams that aren't really in the race," said Arenado, whose Rockies won two of three in Washington after being swept in Milwaukee. "We've got to find a way to put it all together. But it feels good. I'm going home happy."

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giolito frustrated despite deepest outing

Nats' top prospect knows he needs to set down batters after getting ahead

Giolito frustrated despite deepest outing

WASHINGTON -- Don't tell Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito that he pitched one of his better games as a big leaguer in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Rockies.

Even though Giolito threw five innings, the most he has pitched in the big leagues thus far, he was quick to point out his shortcomings. Giolito, the No. 1 prospect in the Nationals' system, said he has to get better at getting ahead of hitters and finishing them off with the pitch he wants to throw.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Umpire Muchlinski hit by WP, stays in game

Descalso scores from second base on Glover's errant fastball

Umpire Muchlinski hit by WP, stays in game

WASHINGTON -- When a Koda Glover fastball hit home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski's shoulder in the seventh inning Sunday, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos' first instinct was to turn around and see if Muchlinski was all right.

But as Ramos checked on the umpire, the ball ricocheted to the backstop, allowing Rockies baserunner Daniel Descalso to score from second base. The run extended Colorado's lead in an eventual 5-3 win over the Nationals.

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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Robles among top prospect performers Sunday

Yankees No. 2 prospect collects first four-hit game for Tampa; No. 7 allows 1 hit in 5 scoreless

Robles among top prospect performers Sunday

Shortstop Gleyber Torres and left-hander Justus Sheffield, two of the New York Yankees' key prospect acquisitions from the non-waiver Trade Deadline, have made strong impressions as teammates on Class A Advanced Tampa. On Sunday, the duo paced their new club to an 8-2 victory over Brevard County, with Torres leading the offense with four hits and Sheffield tossing five scoreless innings.

Making his fifth start for Tampa after coming over from the Indians along with Clint Frazier (Yankees' No. 1) as part of the Andrew Miller trade, Sheffield, the Yankees' No. 7 prospect, tossed three hitless frames before yielding a knock to begin the fourth. It was the only hit allowed in five innings by the No. 87 overall prospect, who walked three and struck out five while throwing 53 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth's game-saving single nixed by 5-run 11th

Werth's game-saving single nixed by 5-run 11th

WASHINGTON -- Charlie Blackmon hammered a pair of home runs, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the 11th to catapult the Rockies to a 9-4 victory over the Nationals on Saturday afternoon in 11 innings at Nationals Park.

Cristhian Adames singled to open the 11th, and Blackmon said he was trying to hit the ball to the right side. He did so, all right, lifting Yusmeiro Petit's 80-mph changeup into the right-field seats for his 23rd homer and fifth multi-homer game this season.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper tossed after striking out in 10th

Harper tossed after striking out in 10th

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper turned and slammed his helmet at the feet of home-plate umpire Mike Winters, irate at a called third strike in the 10th inning of Saturday afternoon's 9-4 loss to the Rockies at Nationals Park.

Harper was almost immediately ejected, but not before he let Winters know he much he adamantly disagreed with the 2-2 call given to Rockies left-hander Jake McGee.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On right track, Ross ready to begin rehab

Right-hander could return as a member of Nationals' bullpen

On right track, Ross ready to begin rehab

WASHINGTON -- After two encouraging bullpen sessions this week, Nationals right-hander Joe Ross will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Syracuse.

The remaining question for the Nats is whether there is enough time in the season for Ross, who has not pitched since July 2 with right shoulder inflammation, to build his pitch count up as a starter. Syracuse will play its final game on Sept. 5, and earlier this week the Nationals opened the possibility that Ross could return as a reliever instead this year.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hot Nats bats vs. Rox help Gio to 100th win

Hot Nats bats vs. Rox help Gio to 100th win

WASHINGTON -- With two-fifths of their rotation in flux thanks to injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, the Nationals will lean more heavily on the veterans in their rotation to give them strong outings similar to the one left-hander Gio Gonzalez turned in to help guide them to a 8-5 victory over the Rockies on Friday night at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez picked up the 100th victory in his career after he held the Rockies to two runs on four hits in six innings with five strikeouts. He was aided by a pair of solo homers from Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy, who drove in two runs and collected the 500th RBI of his career.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3rd time's a charm: Gio reaches milestone

Lefty earns 100th career win; strong performance key due to Nats' injured rotation

3rd time's a charm: Gio reaches milestone

WASHINGTON -- Awaiting outside the Nationals' clubhouse was Gio Gonzalez's family, with smiles on their faces and balloons with the number 100 to celebrate his accomplishment.

Gonzalez earned his 100th career victory Friday night in the Nationals' 8-5 victory against the Rockies. He held Colorado to two runs on four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and just one walk. After the game, Gonzalez was reluctant to admit that the achievement meant much to him, instead choosing to hand out congratulations to his teammates.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard thrilled to join Nats' ring of honor

Howard thrilled to join Nats' ring of honor

WASHINGTON -- To say Frank Howard was the happiest man at Nationals Park is an understatement. A few minutes before they played the Rockies on Friday night, the Nationals put Howard's name in the ring of honor, located on the right-field facade near the foul pole. Howard's name sits next to Jackie Robinson and former Nats manager Frank Robinson.

"I'm not one to live in the past, but I'll tell you what -- any time you have a chance to be on Frank and Jackie Robinson's team, it's a real thrill for me," Howard said. "It's nice when someone says, 'Welcome to the ring of honor.'"

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

Fedde, Soto among top prospect performers Friday

Indians' No. 7 outduels Blue Jays' No. 17 in impressive matchup

Fedde, Soto among top prospect performers Friday

Fans in attendance for Friday's matchup between Class A Lake County and Lansing were treated to a pitchers' duel between starters Triston McKenzie and Ryan Borucki, who combined for 11 scoreless innings and 18 strikeouts. Ultimately, it was McKenzie, the Indians' No. 7 prospect, who recorded the win as the Captains shut out Lansing, 3-0.

Making his fifth start for Lake County, McKenzie surrendered just two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings. He struck out nine, throwing 57 of his 84 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Barrett in good spirits despite setback

Righty optimistic he'll be 'stronger than ever' upon return

Barrett in good spirits despite setback

WASHINGTON -- It was a cruel twist of fate that the day Nationals right-hander Aaron Barrett fractured his right elbow was also the day he felt best during his long recovery from Tommy John surgery. On the 11th pitch of a 20-pitch simulated game in late July, he felt a snap in his arm.

Barrett had been watching every Nationals game from the team's Spring Training home in Viera, Fla. -- he still does, even on the West Coast -- and was hoping to return this season and contribute in September as a possible callup when rosters expand. He was set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week, the end finally in sight as he worked his way back from a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Those dreams came to a halt.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dominant Scherzer leads Nats' shutout of O's

Dominant Scherzer leads Nats' shutout of O's

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Max Scherzer was dominant at Nationals Park on Thursday night as the Nationals blanked the Orioles, 4-0, to win the finale of the four-game, home-and-home Battle of the Beltways clash. The Nats put the brakes on a four-game skid, while ending the O's three-game winning streak.

The Nats extended their National League East lead to eight games after the Marlins lost Thursday. The O's, meanwhile, remained one game behind Boston and Toronto -- who both lost -- in the American League East, and they hold a two-game edge in the second AL Wild Card spot.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore and covered the Orioles on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals acquire lefty Rzepczynski from A's

Club deals Minors infielder Schrock in exchange; Lopez optioned to Triple-A

Nationals acquire lefty Rzepczynski from A's

WASHINGTON -- In need of another pitcher in the bullpen, the Nationals acquired left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and cash in a trade with the A's for Minor League infielder Max Schrock on Thursday.

Rzepczynski was activated before Thursday's 4-0 win over the Orioles, while the Nationals optioned right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to Triple-A Syracuse. Rzepczynski did not see action with Max Scherzer picking up most of the load with eight dominant innings.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.

'That's what aces do': Scherzer devises gem

With Nats stuck in 4-game skid, righty studies O's before allowing 2 hits in 8 IP, fanning 10

'That's what aces do': Scherzer devises gem

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer realized the circumstances heading into his start Thursday night against the Orioles. The Nationals had lost four consecutive games with a bullpen that had been taxed regularly lately after so many short outings from starters.

With that in mind, Scherzer turned in a dominant performance at Nationals Park. He held the Orioles to two hits in eight innings and struck out 10 to lead the Nationals to a 4-0 victory. It gave Washington a much-needed win and gave its bullpen a breather heading into the weekend.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats encouraged as Strasburg plays catch

Club hopeful righty will be ready after DL stint; Ross could restart rehab assignment soon

Nats encouraged as Strasburg plays catch

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg has played catch on back-to-back days, an encouraging sign just days after he was placed on the disabled list with right elbow soreness.

"[The ball is] coming out pretty easy," manager Dusty Baker said. "I asked him how he felt afterwards, and he said he felt good and his ball's coming out pretty good."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer pulled off a between-the-legs trick play

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Scherzer pulled off a between-the-legs trick play

OK, we get it, it's time to just give Max Scherzer a YouTube channel for trick videos. After all, this is a pitcher who struck out 20 batters in a game, has thrown multiple no-hitters and thoroughly dominated the Orioles on Thursday night in the Nats' 4-0 victory (8 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K). So of course, his next move is to just start turning trick plays during games. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

'Old school' Dusty thriving in new-look MLB

'Old school' Dusty thriving in new-look MLB

WASHINGTON -- John "Dusty" Baker Jr. is sitting in the confines of his office at Nationals Park, sifting through information about the Orioles, Thursday night's opponent.

Assiduously, Baker is marking down information in black ink on the lineup card. He doesn't use a computer or handheld device. In fact, there is none on his desk.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ledecky brings pool's gold in DC

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Ledecky brings pool's gold in DC

Some people get nervous before throwing out a first pitch. Katie Ledecky is not some people.

Fresh off winning five medals, including four golds, at the Rio Olympics, Ledecky came back home to kick off Wednesday's O's-Nats game at Nationals Park. It's hard to throw a baseball with all of that hardware around your neck, though, so she decided to seek some help -- from Bryce Harper.

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Murphy's slam part of Nats' unfinished rally

Murphy's slam part of Nats' unfinished rally

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado lit up the scoreboard all night and Matt Wieters contributed a late three-run homer to help the Orioles slug their way past the Nationals, 10-8, at Nationals Park on Wednesday night. Both Wieters and Machado -- who finished with four hits, including his 29th homer -- drove in four runs in support of left-handed starter Wade Miley, who was acquired by Baltimore last month and earned his first win as an Oriole with five-plus innings of two-run ball.

The win was the Orioles' third straight over the Nationals and came hours after the team placed ace Chris Tillman on the disabled list.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Orioles on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Turner continues rise with Nats-record 8 straight hits

Turner continues rise with Nats-record 8 straight hits

WASHINGTON -- It wasn't until Trea Turner was watching video of his last at-bat of the night -- a strikeout in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 10-8 loss to the Orioles -- that he realized the significance of his accomplishment over the previous eight at-bats.

There Turner saw a graphic flash on the screen that with a hit in eight consecutive plate appearances, he had tied a franchise record. Turner matched Andre Dawson (June 4-7, 1983, with the Expos) and Dimitri Young (May 31-June 1, 2007, with the Nationals) as the two players in franchise history with a hit in eight consecutive plate appearances.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Nationals on solid ground with Rizzo in charge

Nationals on solid ground with Rizzo in charge

WASHINGTON -- There's no secret to Mike Rizzo's success, and thus the success of the Nationals, who are running away with the National League East as the baseball season heads toward Labor Day.

"It's like anything else, it starts with scouting and player development," Rizzo, the Nationals' president of baseball operations and general manager, told MLB.com prior to Wednesday night's 10-8 loss to the Orioles at Nationals Park.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.