Nationals, Strasburg seek series edge vs. Cubs

Nationals, Strasburg seek series edge vs. Cubs

The Cubs will continue to miss some key players as they play the third game of a deadlocked four-game series against the Nationals at Nationals Park on Wednesday night, but others have stepped up in their absence, most notably Ian Happ.

Happ had hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games and was batting .340 (18-for-53) with five homers and 13 RBIs in that span before going hitless Tuesday, and the Cubs hope the 22-year-old can continue to help their depleted lineup when they face Stephen Strasburg.

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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 run past Cubs: 4 SB's served on Trea

Statcast of the Day: Turner ties own club record set vs. Mets on June 18

Nats run past Cubs: 4 SB's served on Trea

WASHINGTON -- For the first two months of the season, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner had been hampered by a strained hamstring that landed him on the disabled list for 11 games, but it also quelled his impact on the bases in general. But Turner has started to hit his stride in June, including a record performance Tuesday night.

The Nationals stole seven bases in a 6-1 victory against the Cubs as Turner led the way with four, matching his own franchise record set less than two weeks ago.

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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.

P-Nats to host ode to Tommy John surgery

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P-Nats to host ode to Tommy John surgery

Before ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery -- better known as Tommy John surgery -- there were still elbow injuries. Usually, they meant the end of a pitcher's career. Sure, a pitcher might stick around for a few years and reinvent themselves with a new style, but eventually the trauma on the elbow was too much. 

And then, surgeon Frank Jobe emerged and changed everything when he gave John a second career after his elbow injury. It reshaped the game -- just look at this list of players that have had the surgery if you doubt that. 

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Scherzer dominates on mound and at plate

Scherzer dominates on mound and at plate

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals exploited a Cubs weakness and ran wild on the basepaths Tuesday night, setting a Nats record, and tying the franchise mark, with seven stolen bases to add another dimension to their top-ranked offense.

Washington's running game combined with another strong performance from Max Scherzer led the Nats to a 6-1 victory in a matchup of the past two Cy Young Award winners in the National League.

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

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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

Harper, Bryant pose for photo together in Vegas

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Harper, Bryant pose for photo together in Vegas

Las Vegas is quite the town: Flashing lights, world-class shows and a couple of native-son MVPs. Yes, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant both hail from the desert oasis, though they've also both moved on to even brighter lights in The Show.

Still, they will always feel linked by their hometown pride, as evidenced by this photo Harper shared on his Instagram Tuesday night:

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Source: Nats, K-Rod agree on Minors deal

Owner of 437 career saves was recently released by the Tigers

Source: Nats, K-Rod agree on Minors deal

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez have agreed to a Minor League deal and the veteran reliever will report to Triple-A Syracuse, a source has told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Rodriguez can opt out of the deal if he's not promoted to the big leagues by July 12.

The club has not confirmed the report, first shared by MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman.

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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' bullpen lacking stability without Glover

On DL, closer yet to throw; Kelley, Solis rehabbing as club seeks reinforcements

Nats' bullpen lacking stability without Glover

WASHINGTON -- Nationals closer Koda Glover hasn't started throwing since he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back stiffness on June 11. Without him, Washington has used multiple pitchers to fill in.

Relievers had begun to grow comfortable in defined roles when manager Dusty Baker named Glover the closer May 25, but they are struggling without him. The group entered Tuesday with the second-worst ERA in the Major Leagues.

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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.

Nationals save best for last, fall just short

Down 5-0 in ninth, Nats plate four before stranding tying, winning runs in scoring position

Nationals save best for last, fall just short

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper has become fond of the mantra "when we're down, we're never down" to sum up the Nationals' top-ranked offense.

So even after they lay dormant for eight innings, in danger of being shut out for the first time all season, they still believed they had a chance to come back. And they nearly did Monday night at Nationals Park. Trailing by five runs in the ninth, the Nats sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs before falling just short in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs.

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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.

Gio gives Nats chance for valiant rally in loss

Gio gives Nats chance for valiant rally in loss

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Cubs have hovered around .500 this season, the Nationals are treating this four-game series as a measuring stick against the defending World Series champions. And this scene at Nationals Park is serving as a potential postseason preview, with the National League East winner currently on track to match up with the winner of the NL Central in October.

Their first meeting Monday night was a thriller, as the Cubs staved off a furious ninth-inning comeback from the Nationals to hang on for a 5-4 victory. Chicago led the game from the first batter thanks to a leadoff homer from Willson Contreras, while sparkling defense from Javier Baez and stellar pitching performances helped hold the Major Leagues' top-ranked offense scoreless for eight innings.

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

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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

Zim, Murphy lead; Harper top vote-getter

Give Nationals a final push, All-Star voting ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Zim, Murphy lead; Harper top vote-getter

WASHINGTON -- For all Ryan Zimmerman has accomplished in his career, he has only been an All-Star once, back in 2009.

"Well, I'm not a notorious fast starter," Zimmerman said with a laugh. "So that's always been kind of the tough part for me. July's usually my month, which is just a little too late."

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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.

Harper not pleased with Baez's robbery

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Harper not pleased with Baez's robbery

The Cubs and Nationals began a four-game series at Nationals Park on Monday night, and it didn't take long for something flashy to happen. In the bottom of the third in the Cubs' 5-4 win, Bryce Harper laced an outside pitch from Eddie Butler toward left-center field, surely destined to land in the gap for an extra-base hit. 

But instead, Javy Baez -- playing shortstop in the absence of Addison Russell while he deals with a shoulder issue -- did this. 

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Werth preparing for return to Nationals' lineup

OF considering rehab assignment; Baker targeting first game after All-Star break

Werth preparing for return to Nationals' lineup

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said he's "close" to resuming baseball activities as he recovers from a left foot contusion that put him on the 10-day disabled list June 5.

Werth, who recently stopped wearing a walking boot, is considering going to Florida for a rehab assignment. Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he'd be happy if Werth returned to the Nats' lineup when the team comes back from the All-Star break on July 14.

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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.

Numbers don't tell full story of Roark's start

Righty tagged for six runs in first two frames, settles down after that

Numbers don't tell full story of Roark's start

WASHINGTON -- It was a puzzling game that encompassed this puzzling season for Tanner Roark. At times he was hit hard. At times he was a victim of some tough luck, as some balls bounced just out of the reach of Nationals defenders, who also failed to convert some key outs.

Still, Roark came away encouraged despite the outcome of Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Reds, which featured another forgettable pitching line. But after surrendering five runs in the first inning and a solo homer in the second, he was able to battle through six innings.

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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 HRs again, but Nats drop finale to Reds

Taylor HRs again, but Nats drop finale to Reds

WASHINGTON -- The Reds entered Sunday with just one win in their past 13 contests, largely due to their struggling rotation. During that stretch, Cincinnati starters were 0-8 with an 8.49 ERA.

But Scott Feldman reversed that trend against the Nationals. The right-hander allowed two runs in seven innings, receiving an early cushion from the offense as the Reds defeated the Nationals, 6-2, at Nationals Park. They avoided their first series sweep vs. Washington since 2008.

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Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

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.

Read keeps driving in runs for Harrisburg

Read keeps driving in runs for Harrisburg

After hitting .097 in 14 games with the Brewers, Lewis Brinson was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs and immediately got back on track.

The No. 13 overall prospect was a perfect 4-for-4 and nearly hit for the cycle as Colorado Springs topped Omaha 14-3 on Monday night.

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

Nats pour it on in double-digit win over Reds

Nats pour it on in double-digit win over Reds

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' top-ranked offense flexed its muscles during Saturday afternoon's 18-3 rout over the Reds, showing off the depth and relentlessness of their lineup. Michael Taylor matched a career high with four hits and a pair of homers, Trea Turner reached base in all six of his plate appearances -- going 5-for-5 with a walk -- and Daniel Murphy drove in four runs.

Each Nationals starting position player had at least a hit and five Nats recorded multi-hit games as they hammered out 19 hits and scored double-digit runs for the 13th time this year. The 18 runs are the second most the Nats have scored this season behind their 23-run outburst on April 30 against the Mets. The large offensive output allowed right-hander Joe Ross to cruise through seven innings of one-run ball.

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

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, and covered the Reds on Saturday.

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

Killer T's: Taylor (2 HRs), Turner (5 hits) excel

Killer T's: Taylor (2 HRs), Turner (5 hits) excel

WASHINGTON -- Michael Taylor's work in the batting cage the day prior convinced manager Dusty Baker that he was healthy enough to play Saturday, although Baker worried that perhaps Taylor had worked more than he would have liked.

Those worries were squashed by Taylor on Saturday afternoon, as career performances from both he and Trea Turner helped lead the Nationals to an 18-3 drubbing of the Reds. Taylor matched a career high with four hits, including a pair of home runs, while Turner reached base in each of his six plate appearances, collecting a career-best five hits and adding a walk.

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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 host kids clinic at Nationals Park

Nationals host kids clinic at Nationals Park

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third-base coach Bob Henley was jealous of catchers when he was a 12-year-old. He wanted to be involved in every play, but as a shortstop he often waited for the ball to come towards him.

So, his dad drove him about 10 miles from their home in Mobile, Ala., to a University of South Alabama baseball clinic, where Henley learned the fundamentals of playing catcher. He continued to develop those skills, and became a Major League backstop.

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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.

Read drives in four for Harrisburg

Read drives in four for Harrisburg

Austin Riley's perfect day at the plate helped lead Class A Advanced Florida to a 4-3 win over Fort Myers on Saturday.

The Braves' No. 12 prospect put together his first two-homer game of the season -- and second of his career -- as he finished 3-for-3 with two homers and tied his season high with a trio of RBIs.

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

Harper, Nats walk off vs. Reds in extras

Harper, Nats walk off vs. Reds in extras

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had spoiled chances to score all night and were hitless in their first eight at-bats with a runner in scoring position as their offense leaned heavily on the solo home run. But with two on and two outs in the 10th inning, Bryce Harper strolled to the plate and what remained of the crowd of 36,347 fans at Nationals Park rose to its feet.

Harper delivered again in the clutch, lining a walk-off single to the warning track in right field off Raisel Iglesias to give the Nationals a 6-5 victory over the Reds on Friday night.

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

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington who covered the Reds on Friday.

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

Goodwin playing like a man determined to stay

Goodwin playing like a man determined to stay

WASHINGTON -- With a chance to play every day, Brian Goodwin is making the most of his opportunity. He continued a recent power surge on Friday night when he notched his first career multi-homer game, including hitting the game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the Nationals' 6-5 victory against the Reds in 10 innings.

Goodwin, who is filling in in left field while Jayson Werth is on the disabled list, has helped soften the blow from losing Werth. Goodwin's OPS this month was .875 before he hit two home runs Friday to increase his homer total to six this month and, well, six in his career. He has been on an especially hot streak during his past 10 games, during which he is hitting .333 with eight extra-base hits that include three doubles and five homers.

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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.

Baker, Nats satisfied with Difo's CF debut

Infielder called up from Triple-A before Friday's game for first career start in center field

Baker, Nats satisfied with Difo's CF debut

WASHINGTON -- Wilmer Difo's first career start in center field started off a bit rough, as he seemed unsure or tentative on whether he should go after a few fly balls. He had only received a two-game crash course at the position in the Minors before he was called up from Triple-A Syracuse prior to Friday's game against the Reds to start in center field.

Difo played center field for six of the 10 innings it took for the Nats to come away with a 6-5 victory, but it was enough for Nats manager Dusty Baker to come away satisfied with the experiment.

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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.

Handy man: Rendon dangerous in any count

Nats 3B has uncanny ability to foul off tough pitches

Handy man: Rendon dangerous in any count

The first thing anyone mentions about Anthony Rendon are his hands. Then you shake one, cavernous and workman-like, and it swallows yours whole.

"For me, they are how I can control the bat," the Nationals' third baseman said one recent afternoon, his right hand clamped over the barrel of his Marucci maple bat. "I don't have 250 pounds ... coming from my frame. If I can manipulate this barrel, I can be successful."

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

Robles single short of cycle for Potomac

Robles single short of cycle for Potomac

After a dominant start to his season with Class A Advanced Carolina, Corbin Burnes is continuing to make it look easy in Double-A.

The Brewers' No. 20 prospect tossed a four-hit shutout on Friday as Biloxi defeated Mississippi, 2-0, in Game 1 of a doubleheader. He threw 62 of his 94 pitches for strikes over seven innings, allowing one walk and striking out seven.

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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.

Scherzer loses no-no, Raburn homers in loss

Scherzer loses no-no, Raburn homers in loss

MIAMI -- Max Scherzer was on the brink of joining historical pitching company, but instead, he was victimized by a two-out error that led to an agonizing loss on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.

A.J. Ellis broke up Scherzer's no-hit bid with a one-out infield single in the eighth inning, and the Marlins ended up rallying for a 2-1 win over the Nationals, scoring the go-ahead run on Giancarlo Stanton's two-out RBI single to left.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami and covered the Nationals on Wednesday.

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

No regrets staying with Scherzer in 8th

Baker says righty was 'still throwing the ball great' after losing no-no

No regrets staying with Scherzer in 8th

MIAMI -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker didn't need to take much time on his decision to leave one of the National League's best pitchers in the ballgame.

After Max Scherzer's no-hitter was broken up by A.J. Ellis with one out in the eighth inning of the Nationals' 2-1 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park, Baker didn't flinch. Scherzer was at just 106 pitches, nothing crazy for a guy that entered with an average of 106 per start this season.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Scherzer is Nats' best late-innings option

Baker sticks with ace even after losing no-hit bid in 8th

Scherzer is Nats' best late-innings option

Nationals manager Dusty Baker made the right call in sticking with Max Scherzer in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday afternoon. That it didn't work out is beside the point. Life in the fast lane, etc.

Baker has made maybe 10,000 tough decisions in 22 seasons as a Major League manager, but this wasn't one of them. Unfortunately for him, he watched a one-run, eighth-inning lead in Miami turn into a 2-1 loss to the Marlins.

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Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.