Papelbon, Nats can't finish off Tribe, fall on walk-off

Papelbon, Nats can't finish off Tribe, fall on walk-off

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona paid the Nationals the ultimate compliment before Tuesday's game, saying Washington is "built for October baseball." In the opener of this series between potential postseason teams, the Indians looked like they fit that description as well, pulling off a 7-6 walk-off win at Progressive Field.

Francisco Lindor finished off Washington in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out single through the right side of the infield, scoring Chris Gimenez from third base to set off an on-field celebration. Lindor pumped his arms as he skipped up the first-base line, as fireworks popped overhead. Cleveland now has five walk-off wins this year, and has won 15 of its last 19 home games.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

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.

Dusty on change at closer: 'Too early to say'

Papelbon confident despite not recording an out in second straight rough outing

Dusty on change at closer: 'Too early to say'

CLEVELAND -- Despite the fact that the Nationals began the day tied for the best bullpen ERA in the Majors, Tuesday night's game at Progressive Field underscored why they are aggressively searching for relief help before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon could not protect a two-run lead in the ninth inning and was removed from the game without recording an out as the Indians pulled off a 7-6 comeback 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.

Nationals give rookie Turner chance in center

Nationals give rookie Turner chance in center

CLEVELAND -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker had been initially reluctant to start Trea Turner in center field. After all, Turner's experience there was limited after spending much of the season in the Minors playing shortstop and second base. He received a crash course on the position from Nationals outfielder instructor Gary Thurman, and played six games in center field at Triple-A Syracuse.

Even during the past week with the Major League club, Turner has spent time working in the outfield, and Baker, trusting the reports he receives, finally deemed that the young speedster was ready. Turner made his first start in center field in Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to the Indians.

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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.

Strong after rehab start, Ross needs more time

Strong after rehab start, Ross needs more time

CLEVELAND -- Fresh off his first Minor League rehab outing, Joe Ross joined the Nationals on Tuesday, feeling strong as he nears a potential return.

Ross threw 43 pitches in three scoreless innings for Class A Hagerstown on Sunday. He used the outing primarily to work on his changeup, command and a small mechanical tweak that could help prevent his right shoulder inflammation from recurring.

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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.

Strasburg duels with Carrasco in finale with Indians

Strasburg duels with Carrasco in finale with Indians

Indians manager Terry Francona had high praise for the Nationals as the two teams wrap up this brief two-game series at Progressive Field on Wednesday afternoon.

"They are built for October baseball," Francona said before his Tribe walked off on the Nationals, 7-6, on Tuesday night in a game played in a postseason atmosphere. "They've got pitching, they've got bullpen, they've got team speed and they've got power. They put this team together to play in October. This will be fun to play them, because they are good. I hope we beat them. If we do or don't, doesn't mean anything other than a win for now. They are the team you are going to be hearing from later in the season, because they are really 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.

Pipeline preview: Voth throwing in Duel of the Day

Pipeline preview: Voth throwing in Duel of the Day

Here's a look at top prospects to watch in Wednesday in Minor League action:

Hitter to watch: Francisco Mejia (Indians' No. 8), Lynchburg vs. Wilmington (6:30 p.m. ET)

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

Nats running wild thanks to Lopes

Washington is eighth in Majors with 67 steals, with help of veteran coach

Nats running wild thanks to Lopes

WASHINGTON -- In the third inning of the Nationals' win on July 16 over the Pirates, Danny Espinosa timed Pittsburgh righty Gerrit Cole's delivery and took off for third base, sliding in ahead of the tag for his sixth stolen base of the year.

The extra base didn't end up mattering to the score of the game -- the next two batters struck out to end the inning -- but it carried symbolic relevance nonetheless: It was the Nats' 57th steal of the season, tying their output for 2015.

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

Giolito sent back to Minors to work on command

Baseball's top prospect chased in 4th inning during 3rd MLB start

Giolito sent back to Minors to work on command

WASHINGTON -- When the Nationals sent Lucas Giolito to the Minors after his last Major League start, they pointed to the fact that he would need more work on his offspeed pitches.

Those same troubles plagued Giolito, baseball's No. 1 prospect accoring to MLBPipeline.com, on Sunday afternoon during a 10-6 loss to the Padres at Nationals Park. He could not throw his curveball and changeup consistently for strikes, and Padres hitters were able to hone in on his fastball. It forced Washington to remove Giolito from the game with one out in the fourth, after he allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks.

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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.

Griffey's sweet swing, personality resonate with Harper

Griffey's sweet swing, personality resonate with Harper

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper was just like so many other children who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s and mimicked Ken Griffey Jr.'s swing while playing ball in the yard.

It's part of what stood out to Harper about Griffey, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday afternoon along with Mike Piazza.

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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 option Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse

Nationals option Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse

WASHINGTON -- After Sunday's 10-6 loss to the Padres, the Nationals optioned outfielder Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse.

Taylor has had problems making contact this season. In 66 games, Taylor is hitting .222 with seven home runs, 14 RBIs and has struck out 70 times in 207 at-bats. Taylor has a weakness for going after breaking balls and high fastballs.

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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.

Lopez among top prospect performers Sunday

Nationals' No. 5 prospect hurls his first shutout following big league debt

Lopez among top prospect performers Sunday

Reynaldo Lopez is eager to get back to the big leagues.

In his first start since debuting with the Nationals on July 19, Lopez recorded his first shutout on Sunday as Triple-A Syracuse defeated Rochester, 6-0. The Nationals' No. 5 prospect scattered four hits and struck out seven in nine dominant innings, throwing 69 of his 99 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.

Zimmerman, Solis activated from disabled list

First baseman was out since July 6 with left rib cage strain

Zimmerman, Solis activated from disabled list

WASHINGTON -- After playing three rehab games for Class A Potomac, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman had the day off on Sunday. However, he traveled with the Nationals to Cleveland after Sunday's game against the Padres and was activated in time to play in Tuesday's game against the Indians.

Left-hander Sammy Solis was also activated from the DL on Tuesday.

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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.

Nats lose late lead, drop slugfest to Padres

Nats lose late lead, drop slugfest to Padres

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Padres found themselves in a slugfest on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. When it was over, the Padres outslugged the Nationals, 10-6.

Tied 6-6 after eight innings, the Padres scored four runs in the ninth off Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon. Yangervis Solarte broke the tie with an RBI single, and Alexei Ramirez broke the game open with a three-run double.

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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 can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. He covered the Padres on Sunday.

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

Triple threat! Drew, Nats walk off on Padres

Triple threat! Drew, Nats walk off on Padres

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Drew had been battling an illness that prevented him from taking an at-bat since Sunday before he roped a walk-off, pinch-hit triple in the ninth inning to lead the Nationals to a 3-2 victory over the Padres on Saturday night at Nationals Park.

It capped off a week where Drew dropped at least seven pounds and received IV fluids earlier in the day Saturday before coming through with Washington's sixth walk-off hit of the season off Padres right-hander Kevin Quackenbush.

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

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Padres on Saturday

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

'Super sick' Drew strong enough to be a hero

Infielder shakes off illness to deliver walk-off hit vs. Padres

'Super sick' Drew strong enough to be a hero

WASHINGTON -- Nobody knew if Stephen Drew was strong enough to pinch hit. Over the last three days, he had a bad case of the flu and was unavailable to do anything on the baseball field until Saturday night, and it was big.

His pinch-hit, walk-off triple in the ninth inning gave the Nationals a 3-2 win over the Padres at Nationals Park.

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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.

Nats fall on rare off night from Roark

Nats fall on rare off night from Roark

WASHINGTON -- During the past week, Matt Kemp has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He launched a pair of homers and drove in four runs Friday night at Nationals Park to help lead the Padres to a 5-3 victory over the Nationals, who have lost four of their last five.

Kemp got the Padres on the board with a solo homer in the first inning off right-hander Tanner Roark, and increased San Diego's streak of consecutive games with a homer to 20, extending a franchise record. It was the first homer Roark had surrendered since June 21, a streak of 32 innings.

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

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. He covered the Padres on Friday

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

Baker: Changes needed to fix Nats' RISP struggles

Washington held to two runs in Friday's loss to Padres

Baker: Changes needed to fix Nats' RISP struggles

WASHINGTON -- For much of this season, Nationals manager Dusty Baker has bemoaned his team's approach in crucial situations, particularly their seeming inability to collect a two-out hit. His latest and perhaps strongest statement on his team's approach came after Friday night's 5-3 loss to the Padres, Washington's fourth loss in five games.

"At this stage of the game, almost two-thirds of the season gone, we've got to make some changes," Baker said. "We've been waiting and waiting and waiting, and it's getting frustrating on the guys and frustrating on fans and frustrating to us, too. You had to be patient and you hope that we make some changes and some theories and philosophies and getting a good pitch to hit."

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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, Solis set for rehab outings

Nats' lefty reliever could return for series in Cleveland next week

Ross, Solis set for rehab outings

WASHINGTON -- Nationals pitchers Sammy Solis and Joe Ross are expected to go on rehab assignments this weekend.

Solis, who is on the disabled list with right knee inflammation, is scheduled to pitch for Class A Potomac on Friday and Saturday. He is expected to rejoin the Nationals when they play the Indians starting Tuesday in Cleveland. Solis is having a productive season for Washington, going 1-3 with a 2.43 ERA.

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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.

Strasburg battles, but takes 1st loss of '16

Strasburg battles, but takes 1st loss of '16

WASHINGTON -- The Dodgers showed on Thursday afternoon that right-hander Stephen Strasburg is not invincible, as Justin Turner took the Nats ace deep twice to lead Los Angeles to a 6-3 win at Nationals Park. The Dodgers won two out of three games in the series.

After starting the season 13-0, Strasburg picked up his first loss of the season. The righty lasted six innings, allowed six runs on seven hits and fanned 10 batters. It marked the eighth time this season that Strasburg has struck out at least 10 in a game. Thursday marked just the second game this season that the Nats lost when Strasburg was on the mound. The first was on June 4 against the Reds in a game in which he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. The last time Strasburg lost a decision was September 9 against the Mets.

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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 can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

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.

End of streak just a blip on Stras' masterful run

In first loss of '16, Nats ace K's 10 and sets down 12 of final 13 hitters

End of streak just a blip on Stras' masterful run

WASHINGTON -- Even though Stephen Strasburg had built an unbeaten record through his first 17 starts this season and had not suffered a loss since last September, outings like the one Thursday afternoon have left the Nationals encouraged by what the pitcher has become.

Yes, Strasburg's undefeated run came to an end at the hands of a 6-3 Dodgers victory at Nationals Park that dropped him to 13-1; however, manager Dusty Baker said he came away more impressed by Strasburg's ability to battle through the early damage and still turn in a respectable outing.

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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 politely shoos away pigeon

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Murphy politely shoos away pigeon

Daniel Murphy is putting together quite a season in his first year with the Nationals, and one enterprising D.C. pigeon wanted to get a better look at the team's new slugger during the Nats' 6-3 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday. Who knows? Maybe they'd hit it off and become fast friends. 

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Nats power up, speed up to down Dodgers

Nats power up, speed up to down Dodgers

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper led the hitting barrage on Wednesday night, and the Nationals pounded the Dodgers, 8-1, at Nationals Park.

It was Harper who put Washington ahead in the first inning off right-hander Bud Norris. After Daniel Murphy doubled with two outs, Harper swung at a 3-1 pitch and launched the ball into the third deck in right field for a two-run homer, his 20th. It marked the fourth time Harper has hit 20 home runs in a season.

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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 Dodgers on Wednesday.

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

Harper launches moon shot into third deck

Harper launches moon shot into third deck

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper launched one of the longest home runs ever hit to right field at Nationals Park in the first inning of Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Dodgers when he deposited a 3-1 fastball from right-hander Bud Norris into the third deck.

The homer, Harper's 20th of the season, traveled an estimated 451 feet, for his longest of the season and his second longest of the Statcast™ era. The ball left his bat at 112.7 mph, the second-hardest-hit ball he has put into play this season. It also gave the Nationals a two-run lead.

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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.

Turner turns on the burners, swipes home

Turner turns on the burners, swipes home

WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner's speed has already had an impact in his brief stint with the Nationals this season, but he joined an elite club during Wednesday night's 8-1 win, pulling off just the third steal of home in team history.

In the sixth, with runners at the corners, Danny Espinosa was caught between first and second base on a pickoff throw from Dodgers right-hander Louis Coleman. Turner made a dash for the plate after first baseman Adrian Gonzalez threw the ball toward shortstop Charlie Culberson, and by the time Culberson turned and fired toward the plate, Turner was sliding in safely.

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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.

Fun for kids and Nats at the PLAY event

Fun for kids and Nats at the PLAY event

WASHINGTON -- Joe Ross does not remember much about his days playing youth baseball, but one event does stand out. His A's youth team got to stand on the field with the Oakland A's during the national anthem one day, and former first baseman Jason Giambi picked him up as he walked by.

That's the kind of memory Ross hoped to create during the Nationals PLAY event at Nationals Park on Wednesday morning, when about 75 children participated in activities designed to promote the importance of an active lifestyle.

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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.

Lopez's talent shines through in up-and-down debut

Nats' No. 5 prospect fans 9, but allows 6 runs, in loss to Dodgers

Lopez's talent shines through in up-and-down debut

WASHINGTON -- While they have a spot in their starting rotation free, the Nationals wanted to take the opportunity to see what their young pitching prospects could do in the Majors. It started with Lucas Giolito, baseball's top prospect, earlier this month and continued with the debut of hard-throwing right-hander Reynaldo Lopez on Tuesday night.

For stretches during his Major League debut in Tuesday's 8-4 loss to the Dodgers, Lopez showed flashes of the talent that has advanced him so quickly through the Nationals' organization. But the Dodgers were able to lock in on his fastball from the start of the outing and drive him out of the game after he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, although he finished with nine strikeouts.

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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' rally falls short in Lopez's debut

Nats' rally falls short in Lopez's debut

WASHINGTON -- There was good news and not-so-good news when it came to Reynaldo Lopez's Major League debut on Tuesday night. He struck nine batters, which was five short of the Nationals rookie record set by Stephen Strasburg in 2010. The not-so-good news was that Lopez was hit hard as the Dodgers beat the Nationals, 8-4, at Nationals Park.

The problems started in the first inning, when Chase Utley hit a leadoff home run as part of a three-RBI night. The next two hitters -- Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner -- reached base on a single and a double, respectively. Lopez managed to get the next two outs, but Kendrick and Turner scored on a single by Joc Pederson. Lopez acknowledged he was nervous when the game started.

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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 Dodgers on Tuesday.

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