Nats' rally falls short in series opener vs. Braves

Nats' rally falls short in series opener vs. Braves

ATLANTA -- Kelly Johnson went 3-for-4, with three RBIs, including a two-run homer that fueled a three-run sixth, and the Atlanta Braves took advantage of sloppy defense by the Washington Nationals, who committed four errors, to take the first game of a three-game series, 8-4, Monday night at Turner Field.

Braves starter Eric Stults (1-1) got the win for the Braves, who had lost five of six, limiting the Nationals to two runs and four hits in a season-high 6 1/3 innings. Stults threw 59 of his 96 pitches for strikes. In the seventh, reliever Cody Martin got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by inducing a sacrifice fly from Denard Span then catching Ryan Zimmerman looking at a fastball down the middle to end the inning.

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Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thumb injury pushes Scherzer's scheduled start back

Rookie Cole to start in place of ace right-hander

Thumb injury pushes Scherzer's scheduled start back

ATLANTA -- Max Scherzer continued down his path back into the Nationals' rotation on Monday, but the star right-hander will miss his start on Tuesday, and is still at least a few days away from a return to the mound.

Scherzer, the team's $210 million offseason pitching prize, is making his way back from a strained thumb on his pitching hand that he jammed during an at-bat in his last start on Thursday.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar leaves game vs. Braves with apparent injury

Escobar leaves game vs. Braves with apparent injury

ATLANTA -- Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar, the hottest hitter on a stone-cold Washington team, was apparently injured on a play at third Monday night against the Braves and had to leave the game.

Escobar, who was riding an eight-game hitting streak and an on-base streak of 16 games, was hurt when Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons slid hard into third in the bottom of the fifth inning.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon scratched from rehab start due to fatigue

Rendon scratched from rehab start due to fatigue

ATLANTA -- Washington infielder Anthony Rendon was scratched from his rehab start Monday in Double-A Harrisburg because of fatigue, the Nationals announced. Rendon is recovering from a sprain in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

The Nationals are being extra cautious with their third baseman, who hit .287 with 21 home runs and 83 RBIs in his first full season in the bigs last year. He finished fifth in the National League MVP voting.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rookie Cole to make debut in place of injured Scherzer

Rookie Cole to make debut in place of injured Scherzer

National League East rivals Atlanta and Washington square off in the second game of a three-game series Tuesday at Turner Field.

Nationals ace right-hander Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start as he recovers from a strained right thumb he injured while batting last Thursday. The Nationals will instead start rookie A.J. Cole, the team's No. 3-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. The right-hander will be making his Major League debut.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper homers as Nats tripped up in Miami

Harper homers as Nats tripped up in Miami

MIAMI -- The Nationals created an opening in the fourth inning, botching a rundown play, and the Marlins made them pay. Adeiny Hechavarria delivered a three-run triple, Giancarlo Stanton added an RBI triple, and Miami rolled to a 6-2 victory on Sunday at Marlins Park.

Hechavarria put Miami in front with a bases-clearing triple with two outs in the fourth inning. The hit came after Washington was unable to tag out Stanton in a rundown at third.

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

Williams preaches patience on losing streak

Nationals' manager irked by rundown mishap, focused on how club emerges from 5-game skid

Williams preaches patience on losing streak

MIAMI -- After getting swept by the Marlins this weekend, the Nationals find themselves on a five-game slide, their longest such streak since July 2013. The Nationals continue to have problems offensively and defensively. The pitching staff hasn't exactly dominated opposing hitters, either.

In Sunday's 6-2 loss to Miami, the Nationals couldn't do the little things right. In the fourth inning, after Ichiro Suzuki singled with two outs, Giancarlo Stanton was caught in a rundown between third and home. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman threw the ball to catcher Wilson Ramos, who held on to the ball long enough for Stanton to get back to third safely. Adeiny Hechavarria then tripled home three runs. It turned out to be the turning point of 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 could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gio's homecoming start derailed in 4th inning

Gio's homecoming start derailed in 4th inning

MIAMI -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez showed Sunday afternoon that it's not wise to come home all the time. The Miami-area native didn't pitch well in a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. He pitched five-plus innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits and striking out eight batters.

Gonzalez was cruising until the fourth inning. After Ichiro Suzuki singled with two outs, Giancarlo Stanton was caught in a rundown between third and home. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman threw the ball to catcher Wilson Ramos, who held on to the ball and allowed Stanton to go back to third safely and load the bases. Adeiny Hechavarria then tripled home three runs. It turned out to be the turning point of 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 could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

No need to panic, but Nationals' bats must step up

Strong pitching should enable Washington to get in gear when offense heats up

No need to panic, but Nationals' bats must step up

MIAMI -- The team that is generally acknowledged to have baseball's best pitching staff has started the 2015 season 7-11.

More than anything else, this is an illustration that the other half of the game, even in this era of increased pitching dominance, still holds more than a hint of significance. The Washington Nationals have not been succeeding in the run-production portion of the sport.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams, Nats ready to turn page on rough stretch

Washington shut out by Marlins for fourth straight loss

Williams, Nats ready to turn page on rough stretch

MIAMI -- If Saturday's 8-0 loss to the Marlins was any indication, the Nationals may have hit rock bottom. The Nationals couldn't do anything right.

The offense was nonexistent, going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. The dominating pitching, which is the team's backbone, didn't turn up, either. And the Nationals didn't play errorless baseball. In fact, they are 29th in the Major Leagues in fielding percentage (.974).

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

Nats being careful with Span; Scherzer on mend

Outfielder rests after four straight games; righty could make next start

Nats being careful with Span; Scherzer on mend

MIAMI -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span was given the day off Saturday against the Marlins. After playing four consecutive games, Span's legs "were really heavy. But's that's part of the process," according to manager Matt Williams.

With Span out of the lineup, Bryce Harper moved from right to center field, while Reed Johnson received a start in right field.

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

Strasburg, 'pen unable to snap Nats' skid

Strasburg, 'pen unable to snap Nats' skid

MIAMI -- Tom Koehler threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, and he kept the momentum rolling for the Marlins. Behind the right-hander's gem, Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria both went yard as Miami blanked the Nationals, 8-0, at Marlins Park.

The Marlins have won four straight and pulled even with the Nats -- who have lost four straight -- and both teams now have a 7-11 record. Washington's Stephen Strasburg gave up four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in six innings. The Nationals right-hander is now 3-5 with a 5.65 ERA in eight starts at Marlins Park.

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

Zimmermann's sharp six-inning stint yields no decision

Right-hander throws 79 pitches over six with four strikeouts

Zimmermann's sharp six-inning stint yields no decision

MIAMI -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann ended up with a no-decision in the Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park on Friday night.

Zimmermann pitched six innings, allowed two runs on six hits and struck out four batters. He was cruising until the fifth inning, when he allowed RBI singles to Mat Latos and Dee Gordon.

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

Zimmerman playing through plantar fasciitis in left foot

Scherzer dealing with swelling in right thumb; team hopeful he can make next start

Zimmerman playing through plantar fasciitis in left foot

MIAMI -- Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was in the starting lineup on Friday against the Marlins, but manager Matt Williams said Zimmerman is still dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He had a tough time running the bases in Thursday's 4-1 loss against the Cardinals.

Williams said Zimmerman felt better before Friday's game than he did the previous day. It's an ongoing problem for Zimmerman, who sleeps with a splint at night. He also keeps the foot in ice and has anti-inflammatory medication in order to keep the swelling down.

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

Nationals' offense still searching for spark

Struggles with runners in scoring position contribute to Friday's loss

Nationals' offense still searching for spark

MIAMI -- The Nationals continue to have problems scoring runs and it reared its ugly head during their 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Friday night.

For starters, the Nationals were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Their best chance to go ahead late in the game came in the seventh and eighth innings.

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

Nationals begin road trip with narrow loss to Marlins

Nationals begin road trip with narrow loss to Marlins

MIAMI -- The Marlins are looking for some timely hitting to get on track, and for the third straight game, Martin Prado has delivered. Prado's single to right in the eighth inning on Friday lifted Miami to a 3-2 win over the Nationals at Marlins Park.

Prado followed up a four-RBI game at Philadelphia with his sixth run batted in over the past three games. His single off Aaron Barrett scored Adeiny Hechavarria, who doubled to open the inning. Miami has won a season-high three straight. Steve Cishek worked a perfect ninth for his first save of the season, and Miami has won a season-high three straight.

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

Grace's whirlwind day ends with successful MLB debut

Rookie left-hander starts day in Syracuse, tosses scoreless inning of relief

Grace's whirlwind day ends with successful MLB debut

WASHINGTON -- The only Nationals reliever not to allow a run in Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals started his day in Syracuse, and ended it making his Major League debut with the labors of air travel in between.

"Kind of a whirlwind," left-hander Matt Grace said.

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Benjamin Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer's strong outing not enough vs. Cards

Scherzer's strong outing not enough vs. Cards

WASHINGTON -- Cardinals righty Michael Wacha improved to 3-0 on the season as he outlasted and outdueled Max Scherzer in St. Louis' 4-1 win at Nationals Park on Thursday.

Both pitchers were strong in their respective seven-inning starts, though Scherzer shouldered the loss, his second this season despite allowing just four earned runs over 28 2/3 innings. The Cardinals ambushed him for a first-inning run when Matt Carpenter and Jason Heyward opened the game with first-pitch hits. Carpenter scored on a wild pitch, though Scherzer then steadied and went on to retire 15 batters over his next 53 pitches.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch and like her Facebook Benjamin Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon reports no issues after extended spring game

Injured third baseman to begin Minor League rehab stint Friday

Rendon reports no issues after extended spring game

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon's rehab from a sprained left MCL moves to the next step.

The third baseman played five innings in extended spring training Wednesday and had "no issues" according to Nationals manager Matt Williams.

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Benjamin Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Mayo uses Giolito's fastball to create uber pitching prospect

Taking one tool from five Minor Leaguers, MLB Pipeline creates the ultimate hurler

Mayo uses Giolito's fastball to create uber pitching prospect

Last week, the world was introduced to Carlex O'Galldor, the uber prospect created at MLBPipeline.com by taking the best individual tools from five prospects on Prospect Watch.

Now it's time to head back to the prospecting lab and create the ultimate pitching prospect. The concept is similar to last week's, but with pitches: Taking the best pitch, plus control, from five up-and-coming arms.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats deal lefty Cedeno to Dodgers for cash considerations

Nats deal lefty Cedeno to Dodgers for cash considerations

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers added some bullpen depth Wednesday, acquiring left-hander Xavier Cedeno from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations. In a corresponding move, the team designated right-handed reliever Daniel Corcino for assignment.

Los Angeles president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Cedeno will be added to the 25-man roster and that he'll likely join the team Friday in San Diego.

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

Lights, camera, action: Behind the scenes of Statcast

Aerospace technology, radar, physics all go into groundbreaking tracking tool

Lights, camera, action: Behind the scenes of Statcast

WASHINGTON -- Last week at Fenway Park, Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts made a spectacular catch to rob Nationals batter Bryce Harper. The broadcasters couldn't do much more than ooh and aah and show the replay as many times as they had time for.

Those limitations began to dissolve Tuesday night at Nationals Park with the official unveiling of Statcast, Major League Baseball Advanced Media's bold leap into a high-tech future, when previously unimaginable aspects of the game will be measured, compiled and compared.

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

Escobar delivers clutch walk-off homer vs. Cards

Escobar delivers clutch walk-off homer vs. Cards

WASHINGTON -- Yunel Escobar's home run in the 10th inning helped the Nationals defeat the Cardinals, 2-1, at Nationals Park on Tuesday night.

With the game tied at 1, Escobar swung at the first pitch from right-hander Carlos Villanueva and hit the ball over the left-field wall

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tech-tacular! Nats' walk-off W caps Statcast debut

From Jay's defensive gems to Wong's drag bunt, data tracked for top plays

Tech-tacular! Nats' walk-off W caps Statcast debut

Tuning into MLB Network on Tuesday night was a given based on the fact that the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals opened a series in the nation's capital and offered a possible preview of an intense postseason matchup that was capped with Yunel Escobar's 10th-inning walk-off homer, lifting the Nats, 2-1.

The fact that it marked the live television debut of Statcast made it simply historic. And a lot of fun.

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

Stats all, folks: Escobar caps winning night for Statcast

Walk-off homer in 10th lifts Nats and completes historic debut for tracking technology

Stats all, folks: Escobar caps winning night for Statcast

Statcast provided a revolutionary viewing experience -- right down to the very last pitch -- during its live broadcast debut in the Nationals' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar delivered a two-out, walk-off home run in the 10th inning to cap off the historic night for Major League Baseball. While Escobar was diving head first into a tunnel of teammates waiting at home plate, Statcast was already processing every detail of his game-winning blast.

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

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

Statcast pinpoints Desmond's quickness, range

Shortstop channels Simmons with remarkable jump-throw against Cardinals

Statcast pinpoints Desmond's quickness, range

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond flashed his defensive potential during the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals.

Instead of simply labeling it a highlight-reel play and moving on, however, Statcast is able to pinpoint exactly what made it such an incredible play. Statcast, a revolutionary tracking technology, made its live television debut during the Nats-Cards showcase game on MLB Network.

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

Headfirst slide shows off Yunel's playful side

Headfirst slide shows off Yunel's playful side

WASHINGTON -- Third baseman Yunel Escobar said he is having fun, and it showed in the 10th inning as his home run helped the Nationals defeat the Cardinals, 2-1, at Nationals Park on Tuesday night.

With the game tied at 1, Escobar swung at the first pitch from right-hander Carlos Villanueva and hit the ball over the left-field wall. Escobar was so happy that he slid headfirst into home plate.

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