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Diamondbacks-Nats instant analysis

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Diamondbacks-Nats instant analysis

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4

Game in a nutshell: Bryce Harper did his part, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles off the right-field wall. Then Ian Desmond finished the deal, crushing a two-run, walk-off homer off J.J. Putz to lift the Nationals to a dramatic victory. Harper twice came within inches of hitting his first career home run, scored a key run with his hustle and dazzled in the field again. His leadoff double in the ninth set the stage for Desmond to be the hero and snap the Nationals' six-game losing streak.
Hitting highlight: With the anticipation and pressure of his home debut a thing of the past, Harper was free to go out and just play a ballgame. And what a game he played. The 19-year-old beat out a little dribbler in the second inning. He missed his first career homer by inches in the fourth, settling instead for an RBI double. Moments later, he scored by knocking the ball out of catcher Miguel Montero's glove. He even made a barehanded catch of a flyball in center while falling to the ground. Yeah, he misread the ball off the bat, but still. And then he just missed a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, rattling another double off the wall.
Pitching lowlight: Considering how little run support the Nationals' pitching staff has gotten this season, Jackson had to be thanking his lucky stars when he took the mound in the fourth with a 1-0 lead (and again in the sixth with a 3-2 lead). Each time, though, the right-hander gave the run(s) back. He served up a solo homer to Justin Upton on a 2-0 fastball to lead off the fourth. Then he gave up back-to-back two-out RBI hits in the sixth to put the Diamondbacks ahead. It was a disappointing performance for Jackson on a rare night in which his teammates gave him some help.
Key stat: Xavier Nady has one hit in his last 29 at-bats and is now batting .123 for the season.
Up next: Ross Detwiler looks to bounce back following his first shaky start of the season, taking on 2011 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Ian Kennedy at 7:05 p.m. in the finale of this series.

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016