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Rehashing a strange 3rd inning

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Rehashing a strange 3rd inning

PITTSBURGH -- The overarching storyline to last night's 4-2 loss, of course, was the Nationals' utter inability to make contact at the plate. But the evening's outcome might also have been different if not for a very strange bottom of the third inning in which the Pirates scored three runs in less-than-conventional fashion.

"We definitely want the third inning back," said Ross Detwiler, who had the misfortune of standing on the mound as it all played out.

Here's a recap of the inning...

-- Detwiler strikes out Pirates pitcher Brad Lincoln, but the ball gets away from catcher Wilson Ramos, and Lincoln winds up reaching first base on the wild pitch.

-- Jose Tabata smokes a ball back up the middle, it ricochets off Detwiler's foot and into shallow right field for a single.

-- Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen each single to right-center, each driving in a run.

-- Pedro Alvarez sends a harp chopper to third, which Ryan Zimmerman deftly scoops up and then gets Walker into a rundown between third base and home plate.

-- Casey McGehee sends a groundball to the hole at short. Ian Desmond gets the ball and thinks he can catch McCutchen rounding third too far. But McCutchen sees that Desmond is about to throw behind him and instead keeps running toward the plate, scoring ahead of the throw to make it 3-0.

"When I got to third, I was thinking of trying to score on the throw to first," McCutchen said. "He hesitated a little bit, and it was just enough to let me score."

Desmond gave all the credit to McCutchen's hustle.

"He made a good baserunning play there," the shortstop said. "I kept it in the infield. I would say nine or 10 times out 10, the runner stops and tries to dive back into third. He saw that I fielded it, and he looked at me and then just darted towards home. I had to make sure I had a good grip on the ball. It was just too late. A good baserunning play by him. And obviously, his speed helped."

Much of what transpired during the inning was out of Detwiler's control. But the left-hander did beat himself up for not trying to disrupt the pace of the inning.

"Really, you've got to just slow it down," he said. "That's one thing I didn't do. I didn't step off. I didn't slow it down. I just let it keep rolling too long. And by the time I did do that, it was too late, there were already three runs on the board."

And, given the current state of the Nationals' lineup, three runs were all Pittsburgh needed to win the game ... and the series.

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

MORE BASEBALL: Nats let Ben Revere walk

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

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Nationals decline to tender the contract of Ben Revere

Ben Revere was brought to Washington in the hopes he could solve the centerfield and lead-off issue that plagued them the previous year. After just one year, the Nationals have decided to move on from Revere as they declined to tender him.

The move makes Revere a free agent after a .217/.260/.300 season that fell way below expectations. Revere tied his career-high with two home runs and added 24 RBI while scoring 44 runs. 

Stay tuned for more information!