Just a few weeks ago the Nationals vaulted to the top of Sports Illustrated's power rankings and on Thursday they reached the top of another major media outlet's list.
Yahoo! Sports now ranks the Nats as the best team in all of baseball, ahead of the Texas Rangers who slot second and the New York Yankees in third. The writer for some reason includes jokes instead of real explanation, so we'll have to speculate as to why the team jumped from third to first this week.
The Nationals do have the best record in the majors at this point at 68-43, an amazing 25 games above .500. They have two more wins than the next-best team, the Cincinnati Reds who have lost four straight games.
The Nats have been near the top of many MLB power rankings this season, but just recently have won the respect of being considered number one. As we get closer to the middle of August, it has become clear the Nats are a legitimate contender, at least for the division this season.
The Nats seem to get better by the month and the national media is taking notice. There may have been a reluctance to call them the best team in baseball, but that sentiment is fading with each and every win. The Nats are in the middle of a five game winning streak and don't appear close to slowing down.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Jayson Werth hit a tying two-run homer, Chris Heisey drove in the go-ahead run, and the Washington Nationals scored five runs off former teammate Felipe Rivero in the eighth inning to rally past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-7 on Sunday.
Clint Robinson added an RBI single and Pedro Severino drew a bases-loaded walk in the inning. Rivero (1-5) had allowed just four earned runs in his previous 25 innings since being traded to the Pirates.
Jung Ho Kang hit a two-run homer off Koda Glover to give the Pirates the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but Glover (3-0) got the win with the Nationals' offensive outburst the following half inning.
Former Pirates closer Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 43rd save.
With the division title clinched the night before, it seemed the Nationals were poised for an uneventful series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
That wasn't to be, as the two clubs engaged in a benches clearing altercation in the bottom of the third inning. The tension started in the top of the frame, when Bryce Harper was injured while sliding to third base on a triple. The Nats took exception to Pirates third baseman Jung-ho Kang faking a tag on Harper, which may have led to the injury.
So when Nats starter A.J. Cole threw behind Kang in the bottom of the inning, the near-fracas was ignited.
Cole was immediately ejected from the game, benches cleared, and each side exchanged words. The Pirates' Sean Rodriguez was also ejected from the game.