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Harper back in lineup despite stitches

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Harper back in lineup despite stitches

This being the apex of hockey season and all, we should be accustomed to professional athletes playing hurt, even if it means playing with 10 stitches above your eye. Yet because we're talking about baseball, not hockey, it is somewhat surprising to see Bryce Harper back in the Nationals' lineup, one night after he suffered a severe cut above his eye upon slamming his bat against a dugout wall and having it ricochet back at his face.

Nobody's ever accused the 19-year-old of being soft, though at the moment the bigger concern might be that he's cold at the plate. Harper has just one hit in his last 13 at-bats and has seen his batting average plummet to .233. Perhaps he can get things going again tonight against Reds right-hander Mat Latos.

Latos will be opposed by Jordan Zimmermann, looking to earn his much-deserved second win of the season, even though all six out of his outings to date have been quality starts.

As you know, I'm not in Cincinnati, so please enjoy the game and the conversation. And remember, no matter how frustrated you get, it's never a good idea to slam your bat on the dugout wall...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Great American Ball Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WNEW (1580 AM), XM 89
Weather: Cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind 2 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (20-12)
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Bryce Harper
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

REDS (16-15)
SS Zack Cozart
CF Drew Stubbs
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
3B Todd Frazier
LF Ryan Ludwick
C Ryan Hanigan
RHP Mat Latos

UMPIRES
HP Eric Cooper, 1B Marty Foster, 2B Tim Timmons, 3B Jeff Kellogg (cc)

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Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win

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WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.

Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.

Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.

At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.

Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.

Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.

Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.

Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.

MORE NATIONALS: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals