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Braves hand Nationals their third loss in a row

Braves hand Nationals their third loss in a row

ATLANTA -- Nick Markakis hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning and Kurt Suzuki added a two-run homer to give the Atlanta Braves a 7-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

With one out in the eighth, Enny Romero (2-2) walked Brandon Phillips, who then stole second base. Markakis lined a single and Phillips scored on a head-first slide as right fielder Bryce Harper's throw skipped past Matt Wieters.

Suzuki drove in three runs on two hits, including an RBI double off Gio Gonzalez in the fifth for a 4-all tie.

Arodys Vizcaino (2-1) recorded three straight outs, two on strikeouts, in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer off Gonzalez in the second. Jace Peterson, making only his second career start at first base, missed Harper's grounder in the third for a fielding error that allowed two runs to score, giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Trea Turner had a run-scoring single earlier in the inning.

Peterson is playing the position after Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman was injured earlier this week.

Atlanta's Matt Kemp hit his seventh homer in the third. Washington's Daniel Murphy led off the fourth with his eighth homer off R.A. Dickey.

The Braves couldn't take advantage of a chance to take the lead in the sixth. Swanson led off with a double by beating out Jayson Werth's weak throw from left field. Swanson was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Michael Taylor on Ender Inciarte's single.

Shawn Kelley walked Peterson and Swanson to load the bases in the seventh but struck out pinch hitter Rio Ruiz to end the inning.

Gonzalez gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Dickey allowed four runs, two earned, on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer pointed to his left knee and said "It's unbelievable, I don't even have a mark." A line drive hit by Philadelphia's Michael Saunders hit Scherzer on the knee in Sunday's game. Scherzer fell to the ground but recovered to last two more innings and is set to start the second game of the series on Saturday.

Braves: Manager Brian Snitker said he would be "real surprised" if 3B Adonis Garcia (left Achilles tendon tendinitis) doesn't come off the 10-day DL when eligible next week.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Scherzer (4-2) is 5-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts against the Braves since the start of 2016. The Nationals are 6-0 in those starts.

Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-4), who has allowed five or more earned runs in four of eight starts, will take an ugly 6.80 ERA into the game against Washington.

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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