Back to old tricks, Nats hit 4 HRs in rout of M's

Back to old tricks, Nats hit 4 HRs in rout of M's

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' Majors-best offense awakened from its brief recent slumber, breaking out for eight runs during a rain-soaked fourth inning at Nationals Park to cruise to a 10-1 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.

Washington had averaged 2.8 runs per game during their previous five games, before its lineup erupted for nine hits in the fourth inning, matching a Nats team record. That included back-to-back home runs -- a two-run homer from Jayson Werth followed by a 450-foot moonshot from Bryce Harper -- and a three-run homer from Anthony Rendon, who also went deep in the second inning for his second career multi-homer game. He had five RBIs on the night.

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

Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.

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

Harper, Rendon #ASGWorthy in 8-run 4th

Sluggers, Werth all homer in Nats' big frame; infielder finishes with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs

Harper, Rendon #ASGWorthy in 8-run 4th

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals entered Tuesday night's game in a brief slumber, averaging just 2.8 runs in the previous five games, but their Major League-leading offense has shown to be capable of outbursts at any point.

In a rain-soaked fourth inning of this 10-1 victory against the Mariners, the Nats scored eight runs and hammered nine hits, none louder or more voracious than a mammoth homer from Bryce Harper.

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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.

Ross has career night, familiar help in return

In 1st start back from Minors, righty goes 8 strong, sets record for run support

Ross has career night, familiar help in return

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals weren't certain what Joe Ross would give them Tuesday night.

After an inconsistent start to the season, when Ross recorded a 7.47 ERA through his first three outings, the Nationals sent the right-hander down to Triple-A Syracuse to improve his velocity and arm slot.

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

Nats look to back Roark vs. Mariners' rookie

Nats look to back Roark vs. Mariners' rookie

The Majors' top offensive team will try to support the National League leader in pitches per outing on Wednesday night, when the Nationals continue their Interleague series with the Mariners. Right-hander Tanner Roark (3-2) has watched his ERA increase to 4.73 this season after notching a 2.83 ERA last year. He's struggled to get ahead of hitters, averaging 106.33 pitches per start, a number that has also increased due to Washington's troubled bullpen.

In his last start on Thursday, Roark allowed seven runs while walking four and striking out three in the Nationals' 10-4 loss to the Pirates. Still, the righty's 7.4 strikeout rate per nine innings is on par with what he produced last season.

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

Inbox: Will Nats make trade for closer soon?

Beat reporter Jamal Collier fields Nationals fans' questions

Inbox: Will Nats make trade for closer soon?

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are coming off what qualifies as a modest rough patch, but certainly their first funk of the season, after a 2-4 road trip that included a season-long four-game losing streak against two teams under .500. Still, Washington owns a commanding seven-game lead in the National League East entering this week's six-game homestand against the Mariners and Padres.

This seemed like a good chance to answer some questions from the fans about the state of the team, many of which surrounded their concern about the bullpen. And understandably so, considering the 5.40 ERA from Nats relievers is the worst in the NL.

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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.

Marmolejos hits go-ahead slam in ninth

Marmolejos hits go-ahead slam in ninth

After showing flashes of dominance during his first four starts, left-hander Cionel Perez put it all together on Monday for Class A Quad Cities with an unhittable performance.

The Astros' No. 16 prospect was electric in his best professional start, tossing seven hitless frames with 10 strikeouts, both career highs, as Quad Cities defeated Peoria, 5-1. He issued one walk en route to facing one over the minimum, while throwing 54 of his 87 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.

Stras' deep start, 11 K's crucial for Nats

Nationals starter records 86 strikes, the most by a pitcher this season

Stras' deep start, 11 K's crucial for Nats

ATLANTA -- As Stephen Strasburg was in the midst of dominating the Braves on Sunday afternoon, filling the strike zone with fastballs and unleashing a fury of devastating curveballs and changeups just out of the reach of opposing batters, Braves manager Brian Snitker turned to his hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer.

"I told him we could have had Hank [Aaron], Murph (Dale Murphy) and some of those guys in the lineup, and I don't think it would have mattered because he was really good," Snitker said.

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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.

Stras, Murphy lift Nats over Braves

Stras, Murphy lift Nats over Braves

ATLANTA -- Stephen Strasburg delivered his best start of the season and Daniel Murphy homered off an effective Jaime Garcia as the Nationals snapped their longest losing streak of the season (4 games) with Sunday afternoon's 3-2 win over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Strasburg notched a season-high 11 strikeouts and surrendered two runs over 7 2/3 innings while helping the Nationals avoid being swept by the Braves, who lost for just the third time in their past 10 games.

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

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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

Nats can't rally vs. Braves' bullpen after delay

Nats can't rally vs. Braves' bullpen after delay

ATLANTA -- Rio Ruiz hit a memorable first career home run and Matt Kemp also took Max Scherzer deep before stellar bullpen work helped the Braves claim a 5-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday at SunTrust Park.

The Braves took an early lead on the way to winning for the seventh time in their past nine games and extending the Nationals' season-long skid to four games. Ruiz, who sneaked a two-out, two-run homer over the right-field wall in the second inning, and Kemp, who was 5-for-40 against Scherzer before leading off the fourth with a shot into the left-field seats, put Atlanta ahead, 3-0.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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 labors, struggles with FB command

Scherzer labors, struggles with FB command

ATLANTA -- The Nationals were hoping for a deep outing from right-hander Max Scherzer to provide a breather for their taxed relief corps. They have not had a starter complete the sixth inning in any of their past three games and were hoping Scherzer could help them reset their bullpen and stop a brief skid.

However, Scherzer struggled with his fastball command as he labored through five innings in Saturdays' 5-2 loss to the Braves at SunTrust Park. He battled through 106 pitches to make it that far into the game, and even if he had anything left to push into the sixth, a one-hour, 50-minute rain delay knocked him out.

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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.

Perez lent a hand to grounds crew

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Perez lent a hand to grounds crew

Rain wreaked havoc throughout Saturday afternoon's action, affecting games in ChicagoMinnesota, and Atlanta. The skies opened up in the fifth inning of the Braves' game against the Nationals, but Mother Nature made this delay extra problematic.

The wind was chaotic at SunTrust Park, and it was getting to be almost too much for the grounds crew to handle. One member simply used his body to keep the tarp from blowing away.

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Taylor stepping up in center field for Nats

Taylor stepping up in center field for Nats

ATLANTA -- Michael Taylor has made the most of his chance as the Nationals' starting center fielder since they lost Adam Eaton to a torn ACL.

He was one of the few bright spots in the Nats' 7-4 loss to the Braves on Friday night at SunTrust Park, collecting a pair of hits and an outfield assist. Taylor has a seven-game hitting streak, in which he has hit .407 with two doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs.

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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.

Murphy's homer not enough as Nats falter late

Murphy's homer not enough as Nats falter late

ATLANTA -- Needing to pick up some of the slack with Freddie Freeman sidelined for at least the next two months, Nick Markakis delivered a go-ahead single and Kurt Suzuki homered to further enrich the three-run eighth inning the Braves constructed during Friday night's 7-4 win over the Nationals at SunTrust Park.

Brandon Phillips drew a walk off Enny Romero and then notched his second stolen base of the game before scoring on Markakis' RBI single. Suzuki extended Romero's woes when he drilled a two-run homer into the left-field seats, his third home run of the season and second in as many days.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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

Baker's son ready for next step in baseball

Darren doesn't recall famous scene when he was saved from collision

Baker's son ready for next step in baseball

ATLANTA -- Darren Baker's baseball career at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., is over. The Marauders lost a first-round playoff game earlier this week, ending their 2017 season.

Darren, the only son of Nationals manager Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker Jr., could be heading this fall to play college ball at Cal Berkeley. But then again, he might not. There's a little thing called the 2017 MLB Draft on June 12-14.

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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.

Robles enjoys birthday bash with Potomac

Robles enjoys birthday bash with Potomac

Nationals No. 1 prospect (No. 5 overall) Victor Robles had a 20th birthday to remember on Friday, going 4-for-5 with a triple and a two-run homer in Class A Advanced Potomac's 11-7 loss to Lynchburg. Robles raised his season average by 28 points with the performance to .283.

"We got off to a rough start tonight and got down a bunch, but he goes out and hits an opposite-field homer and then the triple," Potomac manager Tripp Keister told MiLB.com. "When he hit it, you really didn't think he'd get three out of it, but he's so fast and does so many things that make you say, 'Wow.'"

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

Pitch count remains nagging issue for Roark

Nationals starter allows seven runs to Pirates in just five-plus innings

Pitch count remains nagging issue for Roark

PITTSBURGH -- Before his Nationals played the Pirates on Thursday afternoon, manager Dusty Baker emphasized the need for quality innings, and plenty of them, from starter Tanner Roark. It was a task the right-hander had not been up to lately because of high pitch counts.

"We'd like him to go deep today," Baker said. "We got four [relievers] that are throwing two days in a row apiece. We're spinning a little bit in our bullpen. We need him to go deep today."

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh, and covered the Nationals on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roark, bullpen tagged as Nats drop series

Roark, bullpen tagged as Nats drop series

PITTSBURGH -- With a struggling, depleted bullpen, the Nationals needed innings from Tanner Roark on Thursday at PNC Park. He got through five, but the Pirates powered past him and a trio of relievers and won the series finale, 10-4.

The Pirates racked up 13 hits, including three from leadoff man Adam Frazier and two from Andrew McCutchen, as they cruised to a series victory. After losing six straight last week, the Bucs have won four of their last five games.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Thursday.

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

Turner impresses on mound in spot start

Turner impresses on mound in spot start

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole shut down the powerful Nationals lineup Wednesday, which wasn't a huge surprise considering that Cole was an All-Star in 2015 and is flashing the same ace-like skills this season.

But for five innings, Nats manager Dusty Baker said his own starter, the far less-heralded Jacob Turner, "was matching" Cole in the club's 6-1 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday.

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense quieted in loss to Pirates

Offense quieted in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Backed by rare run support and strong defense, Gerrit Cole held the high-powered Nationals offense to a season-low three hits over seven innings and led the Pirates to a 6-1 win at PNC Park on Wednesday night.

After an injury-filled season a year ago, Cole has seemingly discovered his top form. The right-hander has been charged with two earned runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts, and his ERA has dropped to 2.84 after Wednesday night's performance. Cole struck out three hitters as he efficiently worked seven innings on 98 pitches, but he effectively shut down the Majors' highest-scoring lineup.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Wednesday.

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

Nationals place Blanton on 10-day DL

Nationals place Blanton on 10-day DL

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Nationals put veteran reliever Joe Blanton on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation Wednesday, recalling pitcher Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse for a fourth time this season to take his place.

A right-hander, the 36-year-old Blanton has struggled with the Nationals after appearing in a career-high 75 games with the Dodgers last season, when he posted a 7-2 record and a 2.48 ERA.

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Treinen put in tough spot, rises to the challenge

With two on and no outs, reliever preserves lead with clean 7th inning

Treinen put in tough spot, rises to the challenge

PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes it's easy for observers to "get lost in the numbers," Washington Nationals reliever Blake Treinen said, and for Treinen the numbers have not been good this season. Actually, they have been abysmal, notably an 8.10 ERA entering Tuesday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

But it was Treinen who answered the call for a beleaguered Nats bullpen in the seventh inning of an 8-4 victory. The Pirates had cut a 6-1 deficit to 6-4. Another late-game implosion appeared to be taking form. None out, runners on first and second, Josh Harrison at the plate.

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper homers late as Nats hold on vs. Bucs

Harper homers late as Nats hold on vs. Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- After right-hander Blake Treinen put out a fire in the seventh inning, Bryce Harper scorched another home run to put the game away. Harper's 13th home run of the season eased a potentially stressful situation for the Nationals' bullpen and sealed an 8-4 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

"We're still in the process of trying to figure it out and get it together, but in the meantime, our offense is doing the job," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "That was a huge home run that Harp hit, because that made a two-run game into a four-run game, and as you see, they could have had the tying runs on base had he not hit that."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Tuesday.

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

Harper has homered in every NL park

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Harper has homered in every NL park

Bryce Harper has already established quite the career resume, and he hasn't even hit his 25th birthday. Harper has been a four-time All-Star, a unanimous MVP and he already has over 130 homers. That power helped him reach another early milestone during Tuesday night's 8-4 victory over the Pirates.

In the ninth inning, Harper connected on a two-run blast into the Pittsburgh night that happened to find its way to a lucky Nationals fan. This long ball gave Harper an even more remarkable feat, though -- PNC Park was the only ballpark in the National League where he had yet to go deep. He has now homered in all 15 NL parks.

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Baker: Scherzer a 'medical marvel'

Nats manager amazed line drive that hit pitcher didn't do more damage

Baker: Scherzer a 'medical marvel'

PITTSBURGH -- Two days after Max Scherzer took a 100-mph line drive off his right knee Sunday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said his ace right-hander might qualify as a "medical marvel."

"He still has the stitches from the ball," Baker said before Tuesday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. "He says he was a little sore, he couldn't do his normal running. He did some jogging. Max will be fine."

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Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats' struggling bullpen bound to improve

History, exit velocity data suggest relief unit will see better results

Nats' struggling bullpen bound to improve

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals own the best record in the National League, and their bullpen has been their only Achilles' heel, an issue manager Dusty Baker said everyone involved is going crazy trying to solve.

Nationals relievers entered Monday with the third-worst ERA (5.33) and third-worst FIP (4.92) in the Majors. In Sunday's doubleheader against the Phillies, they could not hold a two-run lead in the ninth inning in an eventual 4-3 loss in the first game, and then gave back another late lead in the eighth inning of the nightcap before Michael Taylor's two-run homer led the Nats to a 6-5 victory.

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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.

Taylor's 8th-inning HR lifts Nats in nightcap

Taylor's 8th-inning HR lifts Nats in nightcap

WASHINGTON -- Michael Taylor hit a two-run homer off the foul pole in left field in the eighth inning to fend off another Phillies comeback and lead the Nationals to a 6-5 victory in the nightcap of Sunday's doubleheader.

Philadelphia had beaten Washington in the first game Sunday thanks to a three-run ninth inning and took the lead in the second game in the eighth thanks to a two-run triple from Freddy Galvis. But Taylor helped out a struggling Nats bullpen with the homer off right-hander Pat Neshek.

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

Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Phillies on Sunday.

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

Scherzer regroups to fire immaculate inning

Nationals' ace stays in after 100-mph liner smacks knee

Scherzer regroups to fire immaculate inning

WASHINGTON -- An inning after he was drilled on the left knee by a comebacker, Max Scherzer followed it up with an immaculate inning, striking out the side on nine pitches Sunday night in the Nationals' 6-5 victory over the Phillies.

Scherzer actually began the game dealing with a minor blister on a finger, before he was struck by a 100-mph line drive off the bat of Michael Saunders in the fourth inning. Scherzer joked that the blister hurt much less after that.

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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.