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Nats open big series vs. Cardinals - 7:05 p.m.

Nats open big series vs. Cardinals - 7:05 p.m.

Amazing what a difference the outcome of one game can make. Had the Nationals lost last night in Miami, they'd return home today at tense bunch, their collars feeling a little bit tighter than usual thanks to a six-game losing streak. Instead, by beating the Marlins 8-4, they're a loose, upbeat group right now, having just joked around while taking the official 2012 team photo (you can sort of make it out above).

So begins an 11-game homestand, the longest of the season, with the defending World Series champion Cardinals in town the next four days. St. Louis will be up against a familiar foe tonight in Edwin Jackson (a member of that World Series club).

Left-hander Jaime Garcia gets the nod for the Cards, facing a Nats lineup that broke out of its slump in a big way last night. Plenty of updates to come, so please check back...

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM Internet 869
Weather: Mostly clear, 84 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF
NATIONALS (78-51)
Lineup TBA
RHP Edwin Jackson

CARDINALS (71-59)
Lineup TBA
LHP Jaime Garcia
UMPIRES
TBA

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Trea Turner ties franchise mark with hits in consecutive plate appearances

Trea Turner ties franchise mark with hits in consecutive plate appearances

Trea Turner may be a rookie, but there is no stopping him right now.

The 23-year-old tied a Nationals/Expos franchise record on Wednesday night by landing a hit for the eighth consective plate appearance. He set a career-high with four hits on Tuesday at Camden Yards and carried that over with four hits in his first four at-bats on Wednesday.

That tied Dmitri Young, who had hits in eight straight PAs in 2007 to set a Nationals record, and Andre Dawson, who did the same for the Expos in 1983. 

The MLB record, by the way, is 12. Walt Dropo did that in 1952 for the Detroit Tigers. The NL record is 10, set by Andre Ethier of the Dodgers in 2012.

All four of Turner's hits on Wednesday were singles. One of them was on a bunt in the third off Orioles starter Wade Miley.

Turner also made a highlight reel catch in the first inning to rob Adam Jones of a would-be double. Turner is killing it in the field and at the plate. One could argue he is the Nats' most complete player at this very moment, despite them boasting several stars and a first-place record.

[RELATED: Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals]

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GIF: Nats CF Trea Turner makes amazing diving grab vs. Orioles

GIF: Nats CF Trea Turner makes amazing diving grab vs. Orioles

Trea Turner has made a few plays in center field this year that may have made some forget he's just learning the position. He was drafted as a shortstop and remained an infielder for almost all of his minor league career.

On Wednesday night, though, he made his best play yet in the very first at-bat of the Nats' game against the Orioles. Adam Jones launched a long flyball to the right-center field gap and Turner tracked it down in a full sprint. He dove and made a fantastic grab to rob Jones of a would-be double.

See the amazing play for yourself:

Turner is an absolute blur.

[RELATED: Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals]

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Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals

Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals

Watch Ledecky throw out the first pitch in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.

Before Wednesday's game between the Nats and Orioles, as players, fans and media anticipated the arrival of U.S. Olympic swimming legend - and Bethesda, Md.-native - Katie Ledecky, one National remarked how Ledecky is the 'Bryce Harper of swimming.'

Yeah, in Harper's dreams.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist has accomplished far more in her sport than Harper, or any other Nationals player for that matter, has in theirs. So, in a funny bit to go along with her first pitch, she had Harper escort her to the mound. Ledecky then took off each medal, one-by-one, and handed them to Harper. She then threw a perfect strike to reliever Shawn Kelley.

Yes, it appears there is nothing Ledecky can't do these days. The 19-year-old is now just soaking it all in as she takes just a few weeks off before she begins her preparation for the next Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan in 2020.

"This will probably be the longest break I take in the next four years. It's just nice to be out of the water and recharge," she said.

Ledecky said Harper is one of her favorite players. She spoke with him and his teammates, as well as manager Dusty Baker in the team's clubhouse. A Nationals fan, Ledecky enjoyed seeing them as much as they liked seeing her.

"It was cool. They all wanted to see how heavy [my medals] are and things like that. They are pretty heavy. It was kind of a different feeling for me to have them be a fan of me when I've been a huge fan of theirs for a couple years. I know the Nats played part of my race [on the scoreboard] and that meant a lot to me. To have that support means so much," she said.

Ledecky has some rare free time now and was able to get some practice in before throwing her first pitch.

"I have two neighbors that play baseball and they always get excited when I throw a first pitch, so they always wanted to go down to the park and throw with me. So, I practiced a little bit," she said.

It's still a busy time for Ledecky, who is off to Stanford to begin college later this month. All the while, she's still processing all that she accomplished in Rio.

"Slowly, but surely. I expect it will sink in as we move forward in the next few weeks, once I get back in the pool and start working towards my next goals. You just have to kind of put everything you've done behind you and start working towards the next thing," she said.

[RELATED: Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles]

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