Sun hold of Mystics comeback attempt

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Sun hold of Mystics comeback attempt

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- Tina Charles was determined to atone for her previous effort. The Sun's star center had 30 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Connecticut held off the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Sunday. Kara Lawson had 18 points and four assists for the Sun (4-1). Asjha Jones added 10 points, four rebounds and two steals. Charles had 20 points and 12 rebounds against the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx. But she was scoreless in the fourth quarter, however, and had just one rebound as Minnesota won 85-72. "I definitely wasn't happy with that," Charles said. "I know my role on this team. I know my team looks to me offensively and defensively, so I'm just going out there and playing hard." Charles made eight of 14 field goals in the first half for 18 points. Crystal Langhorne had 25 points and five rebounds for Washington (1-4). Reserve Jasmine Thomas made three 3-pointers and scored 17 with three steals. It was the third straight loss for the Mystics. To their credit, they continue to play hard. Washington trailed the Lynx by 24 points in the third quarter of Wednesday's game before falling on a last-second shot. The Mystics led Chicago by seven points with 1:22 left on Friday before losing at the buzzer. Washington trailed Connecticut by as much as 14 points (57-43) with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. The Mystics cut their deficit to three points (78-75) with a little over two minutes left in the game. "We have a lot of fighters on our team and we're going to keep on fighting," Langhorne said. "We're going to keep playing hard and we're going to get a win." Both teams shot exceptionally well from the field. Connecticut shot 52.5-percent (32 of 61). The Mystics shot almost as well. They made 32 of 66 shots (48.5-percent). Connecticut was clinging to a four-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game when it managed to get a little breathing room. A Lawson layup and two free throws by Kalana Greene pushed the Sun ahead, 84-76, with 1:06 remaining. The Mystics continued to fire away at Connecticut, though. Thomas and Noelle Quinn made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut their team's deficit to 90-86 with 19.5 seconds left. The Sun's Allison Hightower and Danielle McCray each made two free throws to end the scoring. Connecticut made a franchise-record 19 free throws (on 21 attempts) in the fourth quarter. It made 17 free throws against the now-defunct Charlotte Sting on July 6, 2006. "We knew when we got a double-digit lead in the third quarter that we'd have to execute and play well in the fourth," Lawson said. "They made a good run at us and made some threes down the stretch, but we made our free throws." Neither team could stop the other in the fourth quarter with the Mystics outscoring the Sun, 36-35. The 35 points tied a Connecticut franchise record. The Sun also set a franchise record for points in a half with 60 in the second half. They scored 59 against Minnesota on Aug. 3, 2010.

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

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

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg dominated San Diego with a career-high 15 strikeouts while allowing three hits over seven innings as the Washington Nationals beat the Padres 3-0 on Saturday.

Strasburg (6-1) singled and scored Washington's first run on Bryce Harper's RBI grounder in the third inning. Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run homer for the second consecutive game.

San Diego's lineup offered little resistance against Strasburg the day after Max Scherzer dominated the Padres with 13 strikeouts in Washington's 5-1 win.

Strasburg struck out the side in the third and sixth and had at least two in the first six innings.

The right-hander previously struck out 14 batters twice including his Major League debut on June 8, 2010. He set a personal best by setting down Franchy Cordero in the seventh.

Matt Albers pitched the eighth and Koda Glover the ninth for his fifth save.

Clayton Richard (3-6) followed up his complete-game victory over the Diamondbacks on May 21 by allowing three runs and 10 hits over six innings.

One out after Anthony Rendon's leadoff single in the sixth, Taylor drove a pitch over the wall in center field for his fourth homer of the season.

Washington has won two straight and five of six.

San Diego is 5-13 since May 9.

Strasburg registered his third win in as many starts. The San Diego native is 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA for his career against his hometown team.

He also matched the Padres' hit total thru five innings. After moving to third base following his leadoff single in third, Strasburg beat a throw home from first baseman Yangervis Solarte for a 1-0 lead.

San Diego loaded the bases with one out in the first following a single, a throwing error by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Cory Spangenberg's four-pitch walk. Strasburg ended the threat by striking out Austin Hedges on three pitches.

The Padres had two singles in the sixth, but Strasburg recorded strikeouts for the final two outs. Washington pitchers finished with 17 strikeouts.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals players visit local little league baseball teams

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Nationals players visit local little league baseball teams

Nationals players visit local little league baseball teams

The Nationals visited several Washington D.C.-area little league baseball teams on Saturday before their afternoon game against the Padres.

The Nats’ Youth Baseball Uniform Program enables the team to get involved in their community. In addition to visiting local youth teams, the Nationals give all each player a jersey, a hat and the opportunity to come to a game at Nats Park.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER LAUNCHES MAMMOTH HOME RUN INTO THIRD DECK AT NATIONAL PARK

The goal of the program is to “breakdown and minimize financial barriers that can prevent kids from playing baseball.”

Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer were among the 10 Nats who went on the community visits.

Harper at one point encouraged kids not to settle for losing, saying “as much as they might tell you it’s okay you lost - no.”

Giving back to the community has always been important for the Washington Nationals, and all the players - from little leaguers to major leaguers - seem to enjoy it. 

More Nationals: 'YOU CAN'T NICKEL AND DIME A BULLPEN'