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Wang takes win in relief as Nats beat Braves

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Wang takes win in relief as Nats beat Braves

By CHARLES ODUM ATLANTA (AP) -- Rick Ankiel hit a two-run triple in Washington's four-run first inning, Ryan Zimmerman padded the lead with a three-run double in the seventh and the first-place Nationals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 7-4 Friday night. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (1-0) won in his season debut. He gave up one run in three innings after taking over for Ross Detwiler in the fifth. The Nationals moved two games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. Ian Desmond had a two-run single in the Nationals' first inning. The Braves cut the lead to 4-3 before Zimmerman's bases-loaded double off Tim Hudson in the seventh. Jason Heyward homered in the eighth, Martin Prado had two doubles and a triple and Matt Diaz drove in three runs with two hits for the Braves. Atlanta has lost five straight, its longest streak of the season. Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his second save. Wang entered the game after Prado doubled and Detwiler walked Dan Uggla with one out. Wang gave up a two-run double to Diaz, who was thrown out going for a triple.

Wang allowed three hits and one run, on Heyward's homer, in three innings. A left hamstring injury in spring training kept Wang out this season before he came off the disabled list on Tuesday. The Nationals took a 4-0 lead off Hudson (3-2) in the first. Desmond's bouncing single up the middle drove in Bryce Harper, who singled, and Zimmerman, who doubled. Hudson hit Danny Espinosa with a pitch before giving up Ankiel's two-run triple to left-center. Hudson recovered with five scoreless innings. He retired the first two batters in the seventh before walking Wang, giving up a double to Steve Lombardozzi and a walk to Harper. Zimmerman's three-run double to center field gave the Nationals a 7-3 lead and knocked Hudson out of the game. Hudson gave up a season-high seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. The four runs he allowed in the first inning topped the three he gave up in his previous three starts. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones missed his seventh straight start with a bruised left calf. Brian McCann missed his fourth straight start with flulike symptoms but took over in the second inning after David Ross left the game because of a strained right groin. Ross grimaced after moving out of the way of ball four from Detwiler. Ross walked to first base before leaving the game. NOTES: OF Michael Morse, who has missed the first two months with an injured back muscle, is playing in extended spring training and is expected to begin a rehab stint at Class A Potomac on Monday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, wearing new contact lenses, was back in the lineup. He missed Thursday's game at Cincinnati due to vision problems caused by dryness in his eyes while wearing contacts. He also was fitted for new sports glasses on Friday. ... Nationals ace RHP Stephen Strasburg will face Braves struggling LHP Mike Minor when the series continues on Saturday. Scotty McCreery, the 2011 American Idol winner, will have a postgame concert.

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Wilson Ramos and José Lobaton may never steal a base. Like, ever

Wilson Ramos and José Lobaton may never steal a base. Like, ever

You know who has as many career stolen bases as Wilson Ramos and José Lobaton? Literally every single person to ever live on planet earth.

George Washington — actually, both George Washingtons, the real president and the racing president — have as many steals as the Nationals' catchers. So does an infant child born one second ago. So do you, reader of this blog.

Now, Ramos and Lobaton aren't in the majors to run on the basepaths. They're in the league to do work behind the dish, prevent others from stealing second or third and produce in the batter's box. But this stat captured by A.J. Ellis, their positional peer on the Dodgers, is pretty nuts nonetheless:

That's a combined 867 games between the two of them where not one thievery was committed. And there definitely had to be tons of chances in that span where the pitcher wasn't paying Ramos or Lobaton any mind, but still, neither of them took the risk to notch their first one.

If one of the backstops ever does make the impossible possible, the game needs to be stopped and a ceremony needs to take place. In the meantime, if someone on the mound ever throws over to keep Ramos or Lobaton close, that player should immediately be ejected.

RELATED: HOW DO HARPER'S STRUGGLES AFFECT HIS FUTURE?

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VIDEO: Analyzing the Nats at the deadline and proposing trades

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VIDEO: Analyzing the Nats at the deadline and proposing trades

Trade deadline season is always a fun time of the year, but this July it seems to be more complicated than ever for the Nationals. We know they need help in their bullpen, but should they part with any of their top prospects to fill the void?

Nationals Insider Chase Hughes was joined by CSN's Daniel Shiferaw and ESPN 980's Tim Murray for a roundtable on the Nats at the deadline. They went through the team's needs, what they can offer and what they should do. They took questions from fans via Facebook and even threw out mock trades for the group to consider.

Check out the full discussion right here:

What should the Washington Nationals do at the trade deadline? CSN Nationals insider Chase Hughes & co. are taking your questions.

Posted by CSN Mid-Atlantic on Thursday, July 28, 2016

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Podcast - 'Baseball in the District' - Harper's slump, trade deadline

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Podcast - 'Baseball in the District' - Harper's slump, trade deadline

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It's a busy time of the year for the Nationals as they approach the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Will they make a deal and who are they willing to part with?

Tim and I went in-depth on that subject and more including Bryce Harper's slump and how it may affect his contract future with the Nationals. Does this change either side's thinking when it comes to a long-term contract extension?

Feel free to share your opinions with us on Twitter @ChaseHughesCSN and @1TimMurray.

You can listen to the show on ESPN 980's website or download the show on iTunes.