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Instant Analysis: Eight straight for Nats


Instant Analysis: Eight straight for Nats

Nats 6, Diamondbacks 5

Game in a nutshell: What could have been a nice pitchers' duel between Edwin Jackson and Wade Miley instead turned into a slugfest almost from the moment each guy toed the rubber in the first inning. Jackson gave up four early runs and looked to be in serious trouble, only to right his ship for a little while and reach the sixth inning. That bought some time for the Nationals' lineup to figure out Miley and torch the NL Rookie of the Year candidate for six runs (five in the top of the fifth alone). Perhaps the most credit for this victory, though, goes to Washington's bullpen, which managed to strand runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings before Tyler Clippard closed it out for his 24th save. Thus, the Nationals extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games. At at 71-43, they continue to hold baseball's best record by three full games.

Hitting highlight: It's amazing what a difference some depth has done for the Nationals lineup. With Jayson Werth back healthy and just about everyone contributing in some way, the Nats are capable of exploding for a big inning at any moment. Which they did in the top of the fifth, plating five runs on five hits: a Steve Lombardozzi bunt single, a Werth RBI double, a Ryan Zimmerman two-run single, a Michael Morse RBI double and a Jesus Flores RBI single. Remember when it looked like this team was seriously lacking in offensive ability? Yeah, not so much anymore.

Pitching lowlight: This was a laborious outing for Jackson, who gave up runs in the first, second and third innings, gave up five extra-base hits and needed 111 pitches to navigate his way through 5 23 innings. Not that the start was entirely negative for the right-hander. He faced the minimum in the fourth and fifth innings and struck out three batters in a row at one point. It wasn't a high-quality start, but Jackson did manage to get past his early struggles and actually depart with the Nationals holding a lead.

Key stat: Jackson recorded the 51st win by a Nationals starter this season. That's only one shy of the team record for an ENTIRE season, set by the 2005 rotation.

Up next: The series concludes with a Sunday matinee inside Chase Field. Left-handers Ross Detwiler and Patrick Corbin square off at 4:10 p.m. EDT.

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Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

Nationals avoid arbitration, reach deal with Bryce Harper and three others

The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.

If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017. 

Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season. 

Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015. 

According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.

Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work. 

With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017. 

Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster

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LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

LOOK: Bryce Harper got married in suit jacket lined with pictures of wife

Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket. 

He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special. 

If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket. 

There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper." 

He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals’ Bryce Harper ecstatic to see bride on wedding day