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Edwin Jackon's performance not enough

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Edwin Jackon's performance not enough

Game in a nutshell: Edwin Jackson was brilliant, striking out 11 and carrying a shutout into the seventh inning. But Jon Niese was equally as dominant, scattering five hits without issuing a walk over 7 13 innings. In the end, this game was decided by a two-batter stretch in the top of the seventh: David Wright drew a leadoff walk, then seconds later Ike Davis sent a two-run homer into the left-field bullpen. And that was it. The Nats never managed to push a run across against Niese or a New York bullpen that boasts the majors' highest ERA (5.05). It was a surprisingly disappointing performance from a lineup that had been inflicting serious damage on opposing pitchers over the last month. And it was particularly disheartening given Jackson's fine start. Thus, the Nationals missed a chance to improve to 30 games over .500 and secure another series victory.

Hitting lowlight: They really didn't have any legitimate scoring opportunities all night, never advancing a runner to third base. But if the Nationals lineup want to look back at one moment when they might have gotten something going, they could point to the bottom of the sixth of what was still a scoreless game. Danny Espinosa led off with a little dribbler down the third-base line for an infield single. Ryan Zimmerman tagged a ball to center field, but it was tracked down by Andres Torres. Michael Morse then struck out looking for the second straight at-bat, and Adam LaRoche was robbed of a hit (maybe extra bases) by Davis, who made a nice scoop at first base. Perhaps the credit should go to Niese and the Mets, but that was a potentially wasted opportunity for the Nationals on a night in which they didn't have many to begin with.

Pitching highlight: Under normal circumstances, you'd think seven innings of two-hit, 11-strikeout ball would be good enough to earn a win. Not on this night for Jackson. The right-hander was absolutely dominant for six innings, giving up only Mike Baxter's early triple without issuing a walk. But with his teammates unable to provide any run support, Jackson entered the seventh with no margin for error. Unfortunately, he walked David Wright to open the inning, then served up a two-run homer to Davis on the very next pitch. A brilliant start by Jackson went for naught.

Key stat: A sellout crowd of 42,662 (second-largest in Nationals Park history) paid to watch pennant race baseball in the District at the same time the local NFL team was playing an exhibition game.

Up next: The series concludes with Sunday's 1:35 p.m. game at Nationals Park. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will be seeking his league-leading 16th victory against right-hander Jeremy Hefner.

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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

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Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers. 

Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.  

Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS. 

With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years. 

Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan