MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2

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MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2

Continued from MCM preview: Miles 1-13

Boom! By this point you're half way to the Finish Festival! Pick up Mile 14 on your way out of Hains Point and get ready for some big crowds and beautiful views of the National Mall.

You'll catch a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial as you round the Tidal Basin and pass the Mile 15 marker. From here you'll make your way to the National Mall: a five-mile stretch of great fans and great views. Your trip down Independence Avenue includes the Lincoln Memorial after Mile 16 and the Washington Monument just beyond Mile 17.  Just a half mile later you'll enter the MCM Gauntlet at 14th Street and Madison Drive --the first of two time requirements. Marathoners must reach this point by 12:20 p.m. lest they be diverted to an unofficial course.

As you make your way through the Gauntlet you'll pass some of the nation's premier museums, the U.S. Capitol building and the Smithsonian Castle while moving through perhaps the longest stretch of spectators along the race course. Turning back down Jefferson Drive look out for plenty of photographers stationed along the course and even lying in the street to catch the perfect shot of you with the Capitol backdrop. You'll also find the third food station, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, between Miles 18 and 19.

When you exit the Gauntlet and take a left onto 14th Street towards the bridge of the same name, you'll pass the second time requirement at Mile 20: Beat the Bridge. In order to complete the race you need to reach this point by 1:05 p.m., which means maintaining at least a 14 minute/mile pace.  You're so close.  Remember that.  Because the next two miles are going to be lonely as you cross the bridge back into Virginia and make your way down the exit ramps to Crystal City.

You'll be 22 miles in when you reach Crystal City, which features a new 1.5 mile loop this year.  Some of the most colorful and enthusiastic fans line Crystal Drive as they cheer you on before your final push to the finish. To make your home stretch a little sweeter Dunkin Donuts will be set up at Mile 24.  Munchkins of the pumpkin, jelly-filled, chocolate, cinnamon and glazed varieties will be available for runners, inspiring jealously in all spectators nearby.

In your final two miles you'll pass the Pentagon and the MCM Start and continue on as the roar of the Finish Line crowd grows louder in your charge toward the Iwo Jima and U.S. Marine Corps War Memorials. Be prepared for one last hill between the 26th mile and the finish line --the MCM course designer seems to have a cruel sense of humor.

Congratulations: you've just finished the 37th Marine Corps Marathon!  Grab your medal and enjoy the Finish Festival!

Be sure to check back here after the race to see yourself cross the Finish Line.

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Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 19, 2014, the San Diego Padres traded pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named later -- it would be Trea Turner -- to the Washington Nationals in a three-team deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since that trade, the Padres have posted a record of 160-215 while the Nationals are 208-166 after they won 3-0 Saturday as Stephen Strasburg struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven innings and the Washington staff fanned 17.

As a reminder of what could have been, Ross (2-0, 5.32) makes the start Sunday against San Diego right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (4-4, 5.74) in the finale of the three-game series at Nationals Park.

First-place Washington is 30-18 while last-place San Diego is 18-33.

Ross was drafted by the Padres in the first round out of his California high school in 2011. Ross is 2-0 in his career against San Diego with a 2.25 ERA in two starts. Last year, he went six innings and allowed six hits and three earned runs in a win against the Padres.

"I was not around Joe at all," said Andy Green, in his second year as the San Diego manager. "We saw him last year; he is a sinkerballer."

The Padres did acquire All-Star first baseman Wil Myers in the trade.

The Nationals have scored a record 62 runs in the four starts made this year by Ross, more than any other pitcher has received in his first four starts of a season. That included a 23-5 victory at home April 30 against the New York Mets and a 10-1 win Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.

Ross, who broke into the majors with the Nationals in 2015, was in the rotation last season and made 19 starts before going on the disabled list. He was in line to be the No. 5 starter, but began the season at Triple-A Syracuse.

Chacin is 3-2 in six starts against Washington and has a 3.09 ERA. He has made three career starts at Nationals Park and is 1-1 with a 0.45 ERA while allowing only one run in 20 innings.

The Nationals played their second game in a row Saturday without second baseman Daniel Murphy, who was ill.

Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, filling in for manager Dusty Baker, said before the game that Murphy was ill. Murphy entered the day hitting .316 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

"He's available. This is Dusty's theory: Usually when somebody comes in and says, 'I'm ready,' then he usually gives him one more day. But he's available," Speier told reporters before the game.

Murphy entered Saturday seventh in the National League in hits with 56, just ahead of teammate Bryce Harper (55). Murphy was also among the league leaders in multi-hit games and road batting average.

Washington shortstop Turner, drafted by the Padres in the first round out of North Carolina State, had two hits, including a homer, Friday and was 1-for-4 Saturday.

Another hot hitter for Washington is center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who hit a homer for the second day in a row Saturday and has four homers in his last 14 games.

"I'm looking for my pitch and staying in my zone," Taylor said. "I'm not trying to do too much."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg has career-high 15 strikeouts in Nationals win over Padres

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Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel had a solid performance in his return from the disabled list, and George Springer hit a two-run homer to help the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Keuchel (8-0), who missed one start with a pinched nerve in his neck, allowed four hits and one run while fanning eight in six innings. His eight wins this season lead the majors and he's just one win away from matching his total from last year, when he struggled in the follow-up to his stellar 2015 season during which he won 20 games and the American League Cy Young Award.

Will Harris struck out two in a perfect ninth for his second save.

Houston led by 1 in the fourth before Springer homered off Wade Miley (1-3) to make it 4-1.

Welington Castillo had an RBI single for the Orioles, whose season-high skid reached six games.

Jose Altuve had three hits and an RBI and Carlos Correa added two hits and drove in a run for the Astros, who won for the fifth time in six games.

Miley tied season highs by allowing eight hits and four runs in five innings to remain winless since April 14.

Springer put Houston up 1-0 in the first when he made a diving slide to evade the tag at home and score on a double by Altuve. Correa followed with a single to send Altuve home and push the lead to 2-0.

The Orioles got going in the third inning when Caleb Joseph walked with two outs. Joey Rickard singled before Joseph scored on a single by Castillo to cut the lead to 2-1.

Alex Bregman singled with one out in the fourth before Springer hit his 10th home run on a towering 447-foot shot to center field with two outs to extend Houston's lead to 4-1.

Chris Davis tripled off Tony Sipp to start the seventh and scored on a wild pitch by James Hoyt with one out to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Astros added a run in the seventh when Altuve scored on an error by Rickard.

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