Strasburg likely to need one more rehab start

Strasburg likely to need one more rehab start

MIAMI -- The Nationals are planning another rehab start next week for right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who struck out five and allowed three runs on four hits over four innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday night.

Strasburg, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, is expected to pitch five innings next week before returning to the Nationals' rotation, according to manager Matt Williams.

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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.

Harper homers twice, lifts Nats over Marlins

Harper homers twice, lifts Nats over Marlins

MIAMI -- Propelled by two towering Bryce Harper home runs for his National League-leading 28th and 29th blasts of the year, the Nationals beat the Marlins, 7-2, on Wednesday night at Marlins Park to even the three-game set. Harper's first homer to right field came in the fifth inning and broke a 2-2 tie to back a strong outing from starter Doug Fister.

Marlins starter Tom Koehler took the loss in a rare rough outing at home. The righty entered having allowed just nine earned runs in 48 1/3 innings this season at Marlins Park (1.68 ERA), but Washington got to him for five earned runs on six hits in six innings.

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

Papelbon wants to win, eyes saves record

New Nats closer eager for chance with first-place teams, talks about Rivera's all-time mark

Papelbon wants to win, eyes saves record

MIAMI -- A day after agreeing to a trade to the Nationals, new Washington closer Jonathan Papelbon said he felt free and is starting a new life with his new team. As he put it, he gave up $2 million to win and be at a place where he is happy.

Papelbon is having one of his most productive seasons, going 17-for-17 in save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA with the Phillies. The veteran said he is having a great season because he has learned how to pitch. He no longer can blow hitters away like he did during his days with the Red Sox, but he said he has learned "how to read swings" and throw fewer pitches per inning. Papelbon is one of the few players on the Nationals with World Series experience.

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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.

Harper hits upper deck twice to take NL homer lead

Harper hits upper deck twice to take NL homer lead

MIAMI -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper offered his Babe Ruth impression on Wednesday night, hitting two Ruthian clouts in a 7-2 victory over the Marlins. Harper went 3-for-4 with the two homers, which were his National League-leading 28th and 29th of the season.

After striking out in the first inning on a fastball against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler, Harper made adjustments in the later innings and became a monster at the plate.

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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.

Storen perfect in first outing since losing job

Storen perfect in first outing since losing job

MIAMI -- Nationals reliever Drew Storen lost his closer's job after the team's new acquisition, Jonathan Papelbon, arrived Wednesday afternoon. Later that night, getting demoted had no effect on Storen on the field in a 7-2 victory over the Marlins.

Storen pitched one shutout inning in the eighth and struck out Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich. Not bad for a guy who hasn't pitched since last Wednesday. The performance shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Storen was a setup man at this time last year before becoming the closer in September.

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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.

Strasburg allows 3 runs in 4 innings in rehab start

Strasburg allows 3 runs in 4 innings in rehab start

MIAMI -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique, pitched in a rehab game for Triple-A Syracuse in an 8-5 loss to the Buffalo Bisons on Wednesday night.

Strasburg pitched four innings, allowed three runs on four hits and struck out five batters. All three runs came in the second, but he managed to strike out the side in the inning.

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

Nationals prospect Turner impresses Werth

Nationals prospect Turner impresses Werth

MIAMI -- During his rehab stint with Triple-A Syracuse recently, Nationals veteran outfielder Jayson Werth was impressed with what he saw from shortstop Trea Turner, the Nats' No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com.

Werth noticed that Turner is fast and his bat makes a loud noise that one only hears in the Major Leagues.

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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.

Nationals can't solve Fernandez in Miami

Nationals can't solve Fernandez in Miami

MIAMI -- Not that Jose Fernandez is too shabby on the road, but home certainly has been where the wins are for the Miami ace. The right-hander, despite not being his sharpest, gave up one run with five strikeouts in six innings on Tuesday night in the Marlins' 4-1 win over the Nationals.

With the victory, Fernandez improved to 4-0 on the season and 15-0 in his career at Marlins Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1900, only Johnny Allen (1932-33) and LaMarr Hoyt (1980-82) have started their careers winning more consecutive decisions than Fernandez. They each won 16.

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

Nats get Werth, Zimmerman back from DL

Duo combines for three hits in return; club looks forward to seeing full lineup

Nats get Werth, Zimmerman back from DL

MIAMI -- The return of left fielder Jayson Werth and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the disabled list on Tuesday didn't ultimately produce enough runs in the Nationals' 4-1 series-opening loss to the Marlins.

Still, manager Matt Williams looked at the positives as Zimmerman went 2-for-3 with a double and Werth went 1-for-4.

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

Stammen named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

Stammen named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

The active Major League players and Hall of Famers nominated for the 2015 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award were revealed Tuesday.

The award, now in its third year, honors the legacy of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who became the first professional athlete to enlist in the U.S. military after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A current MLB player, a Hall of Famer and a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer are recognized each Veterans Day in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Bryce part of 25-and-unders dominating

Bryce part of 25-and-unders dominating

If we had to pinpoint the one theme of this 2015 season that stands out above all others, it's unquestionably the dominating impact and the infusion of youth on the Major League scene. Never was this more evident than on Monday night when 23-year-old Cubs rookie Kris Bryant cracked his first career walk-off homer into the Wrigley Field bleachers to give the Cubs a dramatic 9-8 win against the Rockies.

And just an hour or so before Bryant's blast landed, the mere suggestion that the Dodgers might consider trading 24-year-old Yasiel Puig turned social media upside down.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross comes up on the short end of duel with Bucs' Cole

Ross comes up on the short end of duel with Bucs' Cole

PITTSBURGH -- All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole picked up his Major League-leading 14th win of the season, as the Pirates beat the Nationals, 3-1, at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon.

A day after the Nationals pounded out nine runs on 14 hits, Cole limited Washington to one run on seven hits while striking out eight over 7 2/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.24, the third-lowest mark in the National League.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross continues to show he belongs on big league stage

Ross continues to show he belongs on big league stage

PITTSBURGH -- With Stephen Strasburg (left oblique strain) slowly regaining his health, Joe Ross' spot in the Nationals' rotation may be nearing its expiration date. But he's taking advantage of each Major League start, looking like a seasoned veteran in the process.

The 22-year-old rookie's composure was showcased yet again in a 3-1 series-finale loss to the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park. Ross, in his fifth career start, dealt with conviction -- yielding three runs but just five hits, while needing only 78 pitches to complete six strong innings.

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

Taylor busts out with first 4-hit game

Nats center fielder swats 2-run homer, flashes leather

Taylor busts out with first 4-hit game

PITTSBURGH -- It was only a matter of time until everything came together for Michael Taylor.

That time was Saturday night.

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

Once again, Gio delivers against Bucs

Washington 6-0 since '12 when lefty faces Pittsburgh

Once again, Gio delivers against Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Entering Saturday night, the Nationals were 5-0 since 2012 in the five games Gio Gonzalez started against the Pirates. 

Complemented by run support and an understanding with catcher Jose Lobaton, Gonzalez delivered yet again in a 9-3 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park, moving that record to 6-0.

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

Nationals get key piece back in Rendon

Werth, Zimmerman moving closer to rejoining club

Nationals get key piece back in Rendon

PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals' lineup is slowly starting to take its intended shape as infielder Anthony Rendon was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

Rendon, who was placed on the DL with a left quad strain retroactive to June 25, was in the starting lineup Saturday night at second base, contributing a sacrifice fly in a 9-3 win over the Pirates.

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

Nats give Gio lots of support, blow out Bucs

Nats give Gio lots of support, blow out Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- After dropping back-to-back games, the Nationals rebounded in a big way Saturday night at PNC Park, piling up 14 hits as they beat the Pirates, 9-3.

Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor led the way, going 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, three RBIs and a stolen base atop Washington's lineup. Yunel Escobar added three hits and Ian Desmond went deep for the third time in as many games. Aside from Anthony Rendon, everyone in Washington's starting lineup recorded at least one hit, and Rendon lifted a sacrifice fly in his return from the disabled list.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On hot streak, Desmond leaving slump behind

Nationals shortstop hits clutch tying homer one day after clubbing 100th career dinger

On hot streak, Desmond leaving slump behind

PITTSBURGH -- Ian Desmond did his best to switch momentum to the Nationals' side, and for a half-inning, he did.

It didn't last, however, as the Pirates came back to deal the Nats a 7-5 loss Friday night. But at the very least, Desmond's sixth-inning solo home run added more juice to the personal run he's been on.

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

Scherzer can't fend off power-packed Pirates

Nationals ace lasts five innings, allows three homers for first time since 2011

Scherzer can't fend off power-packed Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- After seeing Max Scherzer carve Pittsburgh's lineup to shreds for a no-hitter just over a month ago, Nationals manager Matt Williams had a feeling how his ace's Friday night outing would go.

"Human nature tells us that if that happens to you, as an individual or a team, you're going to try to not let it happen again," Williams said before the game.

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

Nationals run out of rallies in loss to Pirates

Nationals run out of rallies in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates clubbed three home runs off Max Scherzer and rallied for two more runs in the sixth inning as they beat the Nationals, 7-5, on Friday night at PNC Park.

Scherzer no-hit the Pirates at Nationals Park on June 20, but Pittsburgh struck quickly this time. Pedro Alvarez homered in the second, and Gregory Polanco and Neil Walker hit back-to-back shots in the fifth. One out from a perfect game the last time he faced the Bucs, Scherzer left after allowing five runs in five innings.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth, Rendon on verge of return to Nats

Williams said duo could be back for Marlins series beginning Tuesday

Werth, Rendon on verge of return to Nats

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth and infielder Anthony Rendon could be activated from the disabled list and rejoin the team for Washington's Tuesday-Thursday series against the Marlins, manager Matt Williams said Friday.

"It's reasonable," Williams said. "That could be an option if they feel good about the next two or three days."

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

Danny Espinosa becomes a frog to rob Jung Ho Kang

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Danny Espinosa becomes a frog to rob Jung Ho Kang

By the time Jung Ho Kang came to bat for the Pirates in the bottom of the fifth of their game against the Nationals on Friday, his team had already scored three runs that inning. The score was 5-4 Pittsburgh, with two outs, when Kang rocketed a pitch from Max Scherzer right toward third.

Danny Espinosa didn't have much time to react.

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Fister searching for consistency with sinker

Fister searching for consistency with sinker

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals starter Doug Fister doesn't feel as inconsistent as he's been, but after yet another bruising outing, the 31-year-old knows something isn't right.

Fister, who was tagged for four runs in five innings in a 7-3 loss to the Pirates on Thursday night at PNC Park, said it's been "frustrating" to see his go-to sinker moving side-to-side as opposed to down in the zone -- a major cause for concern over recent outings.

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

Desmond notches 100th HR but Nats fall short

Desmond notches 100th HR but Nats fall short

PITTSBURGH -- After a disappointing trip through Milwaukee and Kansas City to open the second half, the Pirates got back on track as they returned home with a 7-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday night at PNC Park.

The Pirates looked a lot more like the team with the second-best record in the National League than the one that limped through a 1-5 trip coming out of the All-Star break. Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Francisco Cervelli each went deep for the Pirates, turning around an offense that managed only one run in four of its last six games.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryce signs baseball for fan, fan feels all the feels

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Bryce signs baseball for fan, fan feels all the feels

One Pirates/Nationals hybrid fan by the name of Tessa arrived to Thursday's Pirates-Nats game with an important message for Bryce Harper:

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Harper, Scherzer among most popular jerseys

MadBum, Bryant debut in Nos. 1-2 spots on Most Popular rankings

Harper, Scherzer among most popular jerseys

The Most Popular Jerseys rankings, traditionally dominated by Derek Jeter before No. 2's exit last year, have a new and younger look with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and Cubs rookie third baseman Kris Bryant making their debuts on the list at Nos. 1-2, respectively.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association released the top 20 rankings on Thursday, based on sales of Majestic Athletic jerseys at the MLB.com Shop from Opening Day through last week's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats widen East lead with late rally vs. Mets

Nats widen East lead with late rally vs. Mets

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals, looking for some breathing room in the National League East race on Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, were able widen their lead to three games by edging the Mets, 4-3, thanks to Michael Taylor, who drove in two key runs in the eighth inning.

The Nationals were down, 3-1, in the bottom of the eighth when they scored three runs off reliever Bobby Parnell. Taylor tied the score with a two-run single, then Danny Espinosa drove in the go-ahead run with a single to left, scoring Taylor.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, 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.