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Bryce Harper injured in Nationals' 3-1 win

Bryce Harper injured in Nationals' 3-1 win

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper sustained what appeared to be a serious left knee injury when he slipped on a wet first base and his left leg buckled while running out a grounder early in the Washington Nationals' 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

Harper clutched at his knee while on the wet field and put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off. The 2015 NL MVP left the game immediately, and manager Dusty Baker said Harper hyperextended his knee.

"He was in obvious pain and he was praying and I was praying, too," said manager Dusty Baker, adding that Harper would have an MRI.

"I'm asking for prayers that it's not serious," Baker said.

The result of the game meant little for Washington, which leads the NL East by 14 games, or San Francisco, which is out of contention. It didn't begin until 10:06 p.m. after another extended weather delay, and it was raining when Harper lost his footing on a base that had water on it.

The Nationals lost catcher Wilson Ramos to a torn ACL in his right knee in late September last season, another noncontact injury that came after a rain delay in Washington.

If Harper is out, it's a more devastating injury to the Nationals' World Series hopes than when Ramos' season ended prematurely a year ago. Harper is hitting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs as the most fearsome hitter in the league.

With Harper out, the Nationals got their offense in the form of RBI doubles from Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Lind, and an RBI single from Daniel Murphy off Giants starter Jeff Samardzjia (7-12).

Right-hander Edwin Jackson (3-2) allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out five in six innings before giving way to Washington's newfound lockdown bullpen trio of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle.

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound

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Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.

Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.

Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.

He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.

Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.

While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.

San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.

Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.