Mystics-Mercury preview

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Mystics-Mercury preview

The matchup: Coming off their worst loss of the season the Mystics (2-6) stay out west to face the Phoenix Mercury (2-7), another squad struggling early in the season. Washington, last in the Eastern Conference, has lost 12 straight road games dating back to last season. Phoenix, playing without injured star Diana Taurasi, has dropped three straight and looks to avoid its first four-game since the 2010 season.Last time out: The turnover problem that plagued the Mystics earlier in the season returned in a 101-70 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Sparks on Monday night. They coughed the ball up 27 times and the Mystics 19.7 turnovers per game ranks next-to-last in the WNBA. Four of the five starters had at least three turnovers, including Noelle Quinn with five. No matter the miscuing culprit, Los Angeles turned the extra possessions into decisive points.We know we have to take care of the ball, and we typically do that, so we just have to bounce back and get back to who we are and what we do best, center Michelle Snow said. That is getting people easy baskets. They had 30 points in transitionthats the game right there.Crystal light: After three straight games with more than 20 points, leading scorer Crystal Langhorne finished with a season-low two points against the Sparks, missing four of five field goal attempts. Obviously, the percentage is low, but the more alarming aspect is the paltry amount of attempts for the interior scorer. Again, turnovers are largely to blame.Its tough to get the ball to the post when they turn it over so much, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. So I think that was the main problem.In the previous three games, Langhorne averaged 14 attempts per game and shot 63 percent from the field.Snow-y June: Since moving into the starting lineup on June 8, center Michelle Snow has been the Mystics most consistent performer over the last three games. The 6-foot-5 Snow led the team in rebounding each time out and scored a team-high 15 points against the Sparks, sinking 6 of 8 shots.Mercury falling: Without Taurasi (hip flexor), the usually potent Mercury have been getting worked by their opponents, losing six of seven by an average of 18 points per game. Phoenix is allowing a league-high 87.1 points per game, but its up-tempo style lends itself to giving up points. Without Taurasi, arguably still the best player in the league, the Mercurys offense struggled, ranking ninth in scoring. Forward DeWanna Bonner picked up the slack, averaging 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds en route to being named WNBA Player of the Week.

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Nationals win 6-2 after Stephen Strasburg leaves in second inning

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals win 6-2 after Stephen Strasburg leaves in second inning

PHOENIX -- Stephen Strasburg left after struggling with his control in the second inning, and the Washington Nationals wrapped up a successful nine-game trip with a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

There was no word from the Nationals during the game explaining the standout right-hander's departure.

Strasburg, 10-3 with a 3.31 ERA entering the game, uncharacteristically walked the No. 8 and No. 9 batters in the second inning before departing with a 5-0 lead. He threw 51 pitches, 29 strikes.

Brian Goodwin's leadoff homer ignited a four-run first inning off Robbie Ray (9-5), who lasted five innings, allowing five runs.

Bryce Harper singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.

Wilmer Difo hit his second home run of the season off reliever T.J. McFarland in the seventh.

Joe Blanton (1-2) got two outs and earned the win.

The NL East-leading Nationals took two of three in Arizona to go 7-2 on the trip.

Nine players batted for Washington in the opening inning. Goodwin started it with a booming shot high above the home run line across the batter's eye in straightaway center.

Difo and Harper singled and Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly made it 2-0. Daniel Murphy walked and Anthony Rendon singled in a run. Jose Lobaton capped the scoring with a two-out RBI single before Strasburg bounced into a fielder's choice to end Ray's 39-pitch inning.

Arizona broke through with two runs in the fifth.

Chris Iannetta had a pinch-hit single with one out and David Descalso walked before Ketel Marte and David Peralta each singled in a run. With runners at first and third and one out, Blanton came on to strike out Paul Goldschmidt and got Chris Owings to ground into a fielder's choice.

The Diamondbacks had runners at second and third with one out in the sixth but Enny Romero struck out A.J. Pollock and Descalso bounced out to second. Romero left the game in the seventh with an apparent injury.

Arizona, 3-6 since the All-Star break, stranded 11 runners.

Washington's Andrew Stevenson, called up from Triple-A Syracuse, was 0 for 2 in his major league debut.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Washington placed OF Chris Heisey on the 10-day DL. Heisey strained his left groin in Saturday night's 4-3 victory. Additionally, OF Ryan Raburn was placed on the bereavement list.

Diamondbacks: J.D. Martinez appeared in his first game in Arizona as a Diamondback after missing three games with a bruised wrist, the result of being hit by a pitch in his Diamondbacks debut. He walked as a pinch hitter in the seventh.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington has Monday off and hosts Milwaukee on Tuesday. RH Edwin Jackson makes his second start for the Nationals.

Diamondbacks: Arizona begins a three-game home series against Atlanta on Monday night. Zack Greinke (11-4, 2.93 ERA), 9-0 with a 2.41 ERA in 11 home starts, goes for the Diamondbacks. R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.14) counters for the Braves.

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Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

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USA TODAY Sports

Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton set an American League record by converting his 55th consecutive save opportunity, blanking the Houston Astros in the ninth inning the seal the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 victory on Sunday.

Britton struck out the first two batters and issued a walk before pinch-hitter George Springer bounced into a force play to end it.

Britton broke the AL mark held by Tom Gordon, who notched 54 straight saves with Boston from 1998-99. Britton started his run on Oct. 1, 2015, added 47 in a row last season and is 6 for 6 this year.

The major league record of 84 is held by Eric Gagne of the Dodgers from 2002-04. Saves became an official statistic in 1969.

Britton earned his fifth save on April 14 and endured two months on the disabled list with a strained left forearm before returning on July 5.

Baltimore broke a tie with two runs in the eighth against Luke Gregerson (2-3), using a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado and an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop.

Britton made the lead stand up, using 16 pitches to retire the AL West leaders.

Mark Trumbo homered and Adam Jones had four hits for the Orioles, who avoided a three-game sweep. Baltimore had lost eight straight to Houston, dating to last year.

Mychal Givens (7-0) worked the eighth for the Orioles.

The Astros twice fell behind by three runs before coming back. Jose Altuve's 15th home run -- the first of his four hits -- made it 3-all in the fourth, and Noro Aoki connected with two on in the sixth to knot the score at 6.

Houston added a run in the sixth, but Trumbo tied it with a shot to left leading off the seventh.

Astros starter Lance McCullers gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. In three starts this month, the right-hander is 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA.

Baltimore's Dylan Bundy allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, including both Houston homers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: 3B Colin Moran was placed on the disabled list with a facial fracture. The injury occurred Saturday night when the rookie fouled a ball off his cheek, and he remained hospitalized Sunday. Houston recalled 1B Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel pitched five innings in his second rehab appearance Saturday night. He's been on the DL since June 5 with a neck injury.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy, who's been on the DL since June 19 with a fractured wrist, is taking grounders but not yet throwing. "Right now, the stage is getting the mobility back," Hardy said. He will see a hand specialist in a week, then seek to strengthen the wrist before starting baseball activities.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49 ERA) helps Houston launch a three-game interleague series in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Orioles: Kevin Gausman (6-7, 6.11 ERA) seeks to level his record for the first time since April 18 when Baltimore opens a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday night.