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Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench

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Bernadina to start, Brown joins bench

NEW YORK -- Ian Desmond's placement on the disabled list has a domino effect throughout the Nationals' lineup. Obviously, Danny Espinosa takes over at shortstop, with Steve Lombardozzi moving to second base.

But who takes the lineup spot Lombardozzi had been occupying for months? Enter Roger Bernadina.

The 28-year-old outfielder, who has bounced in and out of the Nationals' lineup for three years, gets another shot at a regular gig. Manager Davey Johnson said today he hopes Bernadina can continue his recent hot streak at the plate -- he's 11 for his last 19, raising his batting average to .291 in the process -- and will start in center field against right-handers.

Tyler Moore, meanwhile, will start in left field against left-handers, bumping Bryce Harper to center field and Michael Morse to right field.

"It's basically going to be in a platoon situation, kind of like I was with Lombo out there," Johnson said.

What, then, becomes of Corey Brown, promoted from Class AAA Syracuse today to take Desmond's vacant roster spot? Though the 26-year-old outfielder had produced big numbers in the minors this season (a .300 average, 21 homers, 58 RBI) he'll once again be used off the bench in the big leagues, just as he was during a brief stint with the Nationals in late-May.

For Brown, who took the short flight from Syracuse to New York this morning, a chance to be back in the majors trumps whatever role he's asked to play.

"It's definitely exciting to be called up and to be able to be part of a team that's doing so well all year," he said. "It's an honor to be a part of it now, and hopefully I can be here the rest of the year and help in some way. If not, I'm sure I can be in the mix at some point."

This is Brown's third stint with the Nationals, including a call-up last September, but he's still looking for his first big-league base hit. He's 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, though he did record his first RBI May 29 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt.

"I got the RBI," he said. "Now I want to get that hit."

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Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wade Davis struck out batting leader Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third to end Washington's ninth-inning rally, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Nationals 5-4 Monday night.

In jeopardy of being shut out for the first time this season, the NL East-leading Nationals scored four times in the ninth. Their comeback began against Hector Rondon and continued when Davis entered.

MORE: CSN'S UPDATED MLB POWER RANKINGS

With Washington down 5-3, Bryce Harper's single loaded the bases with two outs. Davis threw a wild pitch that scored a run before striking out a swinging Zimmerman, who's hitting .344. The final pitch bounced, and catcher Willson Contreras zipped a low throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to close out the victory.

Contreras hit a leadoff home run in his first career game-opening at-bat and Eddie Butler (4-2) worked five scoreless innings to keep the Cubs ahead.

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

The Dodgers are living their best life right now. 

Cody Bellinger looks like he's just going to go and hit two home runs a game for the rest of the year, Yasiel Puig is fun again and they're fresh off a 10-game win streak. Kenley Jansen went 112 batters without issuing a walk. All of this is coming, by the way, during a year when Clayton Kershaw is more Very Good than he is Great.

It's a good time to be a fan of an incredibly young and talented team in a top-5 market with a well-regarded front office that's been written a blank check. How did everyone not named the Dodgers do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 24-49
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance:  Maikel Franco (.333/.419/.481 last week)

And there goes Maikel Franco, right back on the trade block. The Phillies' rebuild is starting to look a lot murkier. 

29. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 27-50
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Brandon Belt (.316/.409/.947 last week)

It's weird to see the Giants play THIS poorly. Johnny Cueto is arguably the best available starter on the trade market though, and that obviously bodes well for their future. 

28. CINCINNATI REDS

2017 Record: 29-38
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Joey Votto (.360/.385/.680 last week)

When you go 1-9 over the last 10 and let the Nats put an 18-spot on you, you drop a spot or two in the rankings. Them's the rules. 

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 31-44
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Yangervis Solarte (.364/.462/.909 last week)

In an annual July tradition, the Padres will fleece someone for one of their relievers. Brad Hand in a Dodgers uniform, anyone? 

26. DETROIT TIGERS

2017 Record: 32-42
Previous Ranking: 15
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Miguel Cabrera (.400/.444/.840 last week)

The Tigers are our biggest fallers of the week. 2-8 in their last 10, including a frustrating Perfect Game bid broken up by a bunt single. Not their best week. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE