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 win at Nationals Park. Washington entered Thursday 6 1/2 games back of the Mets, who were playing the Phillies.

The Nats pulled ahead during a two-run fifth, with Ryan Zimmerman supplying a go-ahead RBI single. Zimmerman added a solo homer in the seventh, and Jayson Werth went deep in the sixth.

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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.

Taylor exits after crashing into wall in seventh

Taylor exits after crashing into wall in seventh

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor exited Thursday's 4-2 win against the Padres because of a right leg injury.

With two outs in the seventh inning and the Nats leading, 3-1, Melvin Upton Jr. tripled to center field while Taylor crashed into the wall attempting to make the catch. It appeared Taylor hurt his right knee, and he was on the ground for a few minutes before he left the 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.

Yunel hit by pitch, exits with right hand injury

Yunel hit by pitch, exits with right hand injury

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar exited Thursday's 4-2 win against the Padres because of a right hand injury.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Escobar was hit on the right hand by a pitch thrown by right-hander Andrew Cashner. Jayson Werth scored on the play to get the Nationals on the board.

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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.

Span sidelined due to back tightness

Nationals center fielder was activated from DL earlier in the week

Span sidelined due to back tightness

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span was out of the starting lineup on Thursday against the Padres because of back tightness, the same injury that put him on the disabled list in July. Span woke up Thursday morning and felt stiff, according to manager Matt Williams.

The Nationals expected Span to have problems after he was activated, and his back was an issue before Wednesday's game against the Padres, but he was able to loosen up and went 2-for-5 with a run scored during a 6-5 loss. The doctors told Span he would not fully recover until the offseason. He is also dealing with abdominal issues.

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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.

Aggressive approach backfires on Yunel, Nats

With the tying run at third base, infielder grounds into inning-ending DP on 3-0 pitch

Aggressive approach backfires on Yunel, Nats

WASHINGTON -- Yunel Escobar knew the drill. With the Nationals' comeback almost complete and the tying run 90 feet away, Escobar's job was to hit a fly ball, drive Anthony Rendon in and hand the baton over to a hot Ryan Zimmerman.

Instead, on a 3-0 offering from Padres sinkerballer Marc Rzepczynski, Escobar grounded into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. The opportunity turned out to be the Nationals' last, as the score never changed and San Diego evened the series with a 6-5 win on Wednesday night.

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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.

Rally comes up short as Nats fall to Padres

Rally comes up short as Nats fall to Padres

WASHINGTON -- The Padres watched a late lead dwindle on Wednesday night as the Nationals scored one run in the sixth and three more in the seventh. The Padres never lost the lead, though, and evened the series with a 6-5 win at Nationals Park.

Justin Upton paced the Padres' offensive effort with a pair of home runs, including a solo shot in the seventh off right-handed reliever Doug Fister that served as the game's winning run. Wednesday marked the third time this season -- and second time against the Nationals -- that Upton has hit two home runs in a game. He leads the team with 22 home runs.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sources: McLouth likely out for rest of '15

Nationals outfielder has been on DL all season due to shoulder injury

Sources: McLouth likely out for rest of '15

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth is expected to miss the rest of the season because of shoulder issues, according to two baseball sources. The Nationals have not confirmed the news.

McLouth, 33, missed most of the second half of last season because of a labrum tear in his right shoulder after diving for a ball against the Marlins on July 28.

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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.

Strong Stras, slam by Zim carry Nats to win

Strong Stras, slam by Zim carry Nats to win

WASHINGTON -- If Stephen Strasburg's dismal start to 2015 led to plenty of questions, lately he's done nothing but provide answers. On Tuesday, the former No. 1 overall pick turned in his seventh consecutive terrific start as the Nationals toppled the Padres, 8-3, to notch their third consecutive win.

"Health is a big key," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Strasburg, who's been on the disabled list twice this season. "If he feels good when he's out there then he's able to let it go. I don't know how many balls he threw that were 98 miles per hour tonight, but quite a few of them. He sat 95 to 97. That just means he feels good."

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Call extends inning for Nats, who cash in

Harper appears to ground out, but ball is ruled foul; Zimmerman delivers slam

Call extends inning for Nats, who cash in

WASHINGTON -- It was the knockout blow that should have never landed.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryan Zimmerman put the finishing touch on an 8-3 Nationals win over the Padres with a rocket grand slam into the right-center-field seats.

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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.

Span activated, returns to top of Nats' lineup

Club sends Roark to Class A Advanced Potomac to transition to starting role

Span activated, returns to top of Nats' lineup

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in 2015, in the 124th game of the season, the Nationals had all eight projected Opening Day starters in their starting lineup.

Washington activated Denard Span off the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's 8-3 win against the Padres, the final touch on a lineup that -- instead of running away with the National League East like many predicted -- trails the Mets by 5 1/2 games.

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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.

Nationals stretching out Roark in Minors

Righty could be needed for rotation if Ross hits innings limit

Nationals stretching out Roark in Minors

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Tanner Roark was optioned to Class A Advanced Potomac on Tuesday with a specific agenda: increase his pitch count.

"It gives him an opportunity to stretch out a little bit not knowing how the whole month of September is going to go, and it prepares him for starting if we need to have him do that," Nationals manager Matt Williams said before Tuesday's opener against the Padres. "Potomac gives him the opportunity to be close, and we're not necessarily concerned with the competition that he's going to face. It's about increasing his pitch count."

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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.

Eyes wide open: Turner at dawn of career

Nats' No. 2 prospect discusses his learning process and going against the Padres, who traded him

Eyes wide open: Turner at dawn of career

Shortstop Trea Turner -- the No. 2 prospect in the Nationals' organization, according to MLB.com -- made his big league debut this past Friday and is heading into Tuesday's series opener against the Padres, who traded him and right-hander Joe Ross to the Nats as part of the three-team deal that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Rays and outfielder Wil Myers to the Padres.

For now, Turner is expected to come off the bench and provide, as general manager Mike Rizzo put it, speed, youth and athleticism. By next year, Turner is projected to be the starting shortstop, replacing Ian Desmond, who will become a free agent at the end of this season.

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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.

Consistent offense vital for Nats' pursuit

Extended at-bats create opportunities, according to Williams

Consistent offense vital for Nats' pursuit

WASHINGTON -- By pounding the Brewers, 9-5, on Sunday afternoon, the Nationals won their first home series since July 20-22 against the Mets. It was also the first time since late June that Washington won consecutive series.

If the Nationals want to continue to win series moving forward, the offense must stay consistent, according to manager Matt Williams. At times, the offense has been streaky. In the last six games, however, the Nationals are hitting .271 with a .385 on-base percentage.

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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.

Two 4-run frames ignite Nats' second straight win

Two 4-run frames ignite Nats' second straight win

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals finally know what home-field advantage is all about as they pounded the Brewers, 9-5, at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon. Washington took two out of three games from Milwaukee to win its first home series since July 20-22 against the Mets.

The Nationals got off to a slow start, when Jonathan Lucroy gave Milwaukee a 2-0 first-inning lead with a two-run homer off right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. But Brewers right-hander Matt Garza couldn't hold on to the lead as the Nationals scored four runs in the third, highlighted by Danny Espinosa's three-run double, and again in the fifth, capped by Anthony Rendon's three-run homer. Garza was charged with seven runs over 4 2/3 to fall to 6-14.

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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. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper foils shift twice by going opposite way

Hits a pair of doubles against defensive alignment

Harper foils shift twice by going opposite way

WASHINGTON -- In theory, the Brewers' defensive shift against Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper on Sunday was designed to induce outs from a pull hitter. In actuality, it opened up an entire side of the infield for one of the league's best hitters.

"I really don't care if there's guys on the other side or there are guys on one side, I really don't," Harper said after Washington's 9-5 win. "I know I can hit the ball to [the left] side of the field any time I want. So, it doesn't really bother me at all."

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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.

Braun learns the hard way that Harper has a cannon

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Braun learns the hard way that Harper has a cannon

Hey, did you know that Bryce Harper can throw a baseball really hard and really far? On Saturday, Harper put that skill on display when he fired an absolute frozen rope to home plate and just missed catching Jonathan Lucroy trying to tag and score.

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Taylor tearing it up from No. 8 slot

Has homered in three straight games, second on team in RBIs

Taylor tearing it up from No. 8 slot

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper isn't the only one on the Nationals who is hitting for power these days. Center fielder Michael Taylor has been productive as long as he is hitting eighth in the order.

Take Saturday's 6-1 victory over the Brewers: He went 2-for-3 with a key two-run home run in the second inning off right-hander Taylor Jungmann.

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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.

Ross, offense even series against Brewers

Ross, offense even series against Brewers

WASHINGTON -- Rookie right-hander Joe Ross found himself in control on the mound and helped the Nationals get back to the .500 mark by defeating the Brewers, 6-1, at Nationals Park on Saturday night.

"Where we are at, they are all going to be important wins," Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said. "We know what's at stake and where we are at."

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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. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Timing is right for Rendon's offensive breakout

Goes 2-for-2 with homer, double, 2 RBIs and two walks

Timing is right for Rendon's offensive breakout

WASHINGTON -- Somewhere in the middle of his pregame media session on Saturday, Nationals manager Matt Williams, stoic and reserved as ever, acknowledged that Anthony Rendon's breakthrough might not be far off.

"He hasn't had that crispness to his swing as of yet. That can all start tonight," Williams said before Washington's 6-1 win over Milwaukee. "Once he gets that feeling going, it can be a lot of them on an given day."

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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.

Play Ball teaches children about baseball, life

Initiative raising awareness of and interest in game

Play Ball teaches children about baseball, life

WASHINGTON -- Seven-year-old Antonio, like so many other children from Washington, has always preferred football to baseball. For that reason alone, he was a perfect participant in Saturday's Play Ball initiative, a joint effort between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Major League Baseball.

For four hours at King Greenleaf Recreational Center -- less than a mile from Nationals Park -- boys and girls ages 4 to 14 participated in a host of activities, some baseball-related (throwing at a target, running the bases) and some not (negotiating a obstacle course).

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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.

Top position prospect Turner makes MLB debut

Acclaimed infielder goes 0-for-2 against Brewers

Top position prospect Turner makes MLB debut

WASHINGTON -- Nationals top prospect Trea Turner highly recommends the new "Straight Outta Compton" film, though his viewing on Thursday night differed greatly from the average viewer's.

Roughly 24 hours after his movie-watching experience was interrupted with a phone call breaking the news that he'd been called up to the Major Leagues, Turner made his big league debut with the Nationals in a 10-3 loss to the Brewers.

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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.

Nationals struggle to find comfort at home

Nationals struggle to find comfort at home

WASHINGTON -- If the Nationals are going to stay in the pennant race, they have to start playing well in all facets of the game. That wasn't the case Friday night as the Brewers pounded the Nationals, 10-3, at Nationals Park.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning against right-hander Jimmy Nelson on an RBI single by Jose Lobaton. But it was all Brewers the rest of the way as they scored two runs off left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the third inning and added three more in the fifth inning. Domingo Santana, Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect who was promoted to the big leagues earlier in the day, highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer.

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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. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yunel hurts neck chasing foul ball

Head hits fan as third baseman falls over railing

Yunel hurts neck chasing foul ball

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar left Friday's 10-3 loss against the Brewers in the first inning because of a hyperextended neck.

With two outs and a runner on first, Adam Lind hit a ball near the third-base stands. As Escobar was trying to catch the ball, he hit the railing and his head hit a fan's chest. Nationals manager Matt Williams and athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to Escobar's aid.

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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.

Scherzer lines out in rare pinch-hit at-bat

Escobar's injury leaves bench shorthanded

Scherzer lines out in rare pinch-hit at-bat

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals felt they had no choice but to use right-hander Max Scherzer as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning of Friday night's 10-3 loss to the Brewers.

With one out and the Nationals down, 5-1, manager Matt Williams was short on the bench because of a first-inning neck injury to third baseman Yunel Escobar. With first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and rookie shortstop Trea Turner available off the bench, Williams decided to replace left-hander Gio Gonzalez and have Scherzer face right-hander Jimmy Nelson.

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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.