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Instant analysis: Nats 8, Phillies 4

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Instant analysis: Nats 8, Phillies 4

Game in a nutshell: Desperate for a win in perhaps their biggest house of horrors, the Nationals turned to man who has known almost nothing but misery in Philadelphia in John Lannan. The left-hander responded with another solid outing, but more importantly benefited from some major early run support. Three Nationals homered off Kyle Kendrick in the game's first two innings, opening up a 5-0 lead in the process. The Phillies, though, kept chipping away, scoring twice off Lannan, then once off Ryan Mattheus, then once off the slumping Tyler Clippard to leave this a 5-4 game entering the ninth. Would this one require a tense finish? Nope, and for that the Nats can thank Jayson Werth. After getting the local fans riled up by pretending to throw a foul ball into the stands, he stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth for some huge insurance runs. That made life easy for Drew Storen, who didn't even have to appear in a save situation. Good thing the Nationals won, too, because the Braves beat the Marlins again to improve to 9-2 over their last 11 games. So the lead in the NL East remains four games with seven to play, with the magic number now down to 4.

Hitting highlight: They all came early, and they came before you could blink. Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki all homered in a span of seven batters, all of them impressive. But let's spotlight Harper, because he's once again doing things few have ever done before at his age. With 20 homers, he's only four shy of Tony Conigliaro's teenage record. With 93 runs scored, he's only seven shy of Buddy Lewis' teenage record. And with his 17th stolen base, he's now the first teenager in big-league history in the 17-17 club. Three more steals and he'll join the 20-20 club.

Pitching highlight: He may not acknowledge it publicly, but Lannan knows all too well about his past struggles in this ballpark and against this team. So he certainly took the mound tonight knowing the pressure was on to deliver. And he responded in impressive fashion. Obviously it helped to be staked to a 5-0 lead, but Lannan opened his night by inducing three straight groundballs. He walked only one batter over his 5 13 innings. And though he was charged with two earned runs, both scored thanks in large part to defensive miscues. Above all else, Lannan did what the Nats needed him to do: Throw strikes, get deep enough into the game and give his team a chance to win. He's now made five big-league starts this season, and has a 4-0 record to show for it.

Key stat: The Nationals are one of only three NL teams with four 20-homer players this season. The others: the Brewers and Cardinals.

Up next: The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, when Gio Gonzalez goes after his 21st win of the season against Phillies rookie right-hander Tyler Cloyd.

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Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Nationals star Bryce Harper has had an eventful week, which included finding out that he might not be the Nationals star much longer. 

An anonymous club executive said that the Nationals won't meet Harper's demands for a 10-year, $400 million contract, and are prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. 

That happened on Monday, then on Tuesday Washington missed out on trading from White Sox ace Chris Sale, who ended up going to Boston. 

And then on Wednesday, the Nats ended up trading their pile of top pitching prospects to the White Sox anyway, but instead of getting Sale, they got centerfielder Adam Eaton

Eaton, 28, has never been an All-Star. But he finished last season with a .284 batting average, .362 slugging percentage, 59 RBIs and 14 home runs. He's also an asset defensively in the outfield. 

But the pitching prospects Washington gave up – Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning – amounted to a steep price for Eaton. So steep that the Nats reportedly offered almost the same package of prospects for Sale. 

Within minutes of the Eaton trade news breaking, Harper tweeted this. 

He followed it up with a message of welcome a few minutes later.

Obviously, the initial tweet is what grabbed peoples' attention. But who can really say if Harper meant it as a positive or negative reaction to the Eaton trade? Frankly, it might not have anything to do with the trade at all. 

Plenty of other "wow" things happened this week. 

MORE NATIONALS: Dusty Baker takes part in “Play Ball” clinics in D.C.

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Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.