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Harper out of Nats lineup for 1st time

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Harper out of Nats lineup for 1st time

BOSTON -- For the first time since he made his major-league debut six weeks ago, Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals' starting lineup.

The 19-year-old outfielder isn't listed among Davey Johnson's starting nine for today's series finale against the Red Sox. He had started all 37 games since his promotion from Class AAA Syracuse on April 28, playing in all but one inning (after he slammed his bat against the dugout wall in Cincinnati and cut his left eye).

Johnson's decision to sit Harper could be health-related. The veteran manager mentioned Thursday that the rookie had been dealing with a "tender" back, though Harper denied there being any problem at the time.

He certainly didn't appear to be in any pain Friday night when he went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double in the Nationals' 7-4 victory. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts yesterday.

The decision could also be matchup-related, with left-hander Jon Lester starting for Boston this afternoon. Harper, though, has actually hit better against lefties so far, boasting a .357 average (15-for-42) with two homers, seven RBI and a 1.092 OPS.

Here's the Nationals' full lineup for today's game...

2B Danny Espinosa
RF Xavier Nady
3B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
CF Roger Bernadina
(P Jordan Zimmermann)

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Nats' bats remain red-hot in freezing cold Denver

Nats' bats remain red-hot in freezing cold Denver

DENVER  -- Trea Turner nearly hit for the cycle for a second straight night, finishing a triple shy, and Bryce Harper had four more hits to run his average to .432 as the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 11-4 on Wednesday.

Turner lined one of three Washington homers, with Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy also going deep, to help the Nationals improve to 8-1 on their 10-game trip.

Tanner Roark (3-0) worked his way out of several jams to throw five solid innings. He allowed two runs and struck out four.

Never quite settling in on a cool night, Tyler Chatwood (2-3) surrendered five runs in five innings.

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Turner followed his cycle the night before with a solo shot in the fifth for his second homer of the season. Zimmerman hit a two-run shot later in the inning to give Washington a 5-0 lead.

Harper kept up his torrid pace at the plate with four hard hits, including a double. It was his fifth four-hit game of his career and third this season.

Roark ran into trouble in the fifth when the Rockies loaded the bases. He walked DJ LeMahieu to force in a run and gave up another run on Nolan Arenado's fielder's choice. With two outs and two on, Roark struck out Carlos Gonzalez with a 77-mph curve. Gonzalez broke his bat on the ground in frustration.

For the second straight night, a two-out walk in the second inning to the pitcher came back to haunt the Rockies. After Chatwood missed on a 3-2 fastball to Roark, Adam Eaton followed with a two-run single.

On Tuesday, German Marquez issued a two-out walk that turned into a five-run frame in a game the Nationals won 15-12. They have taken two of three in the four-game series with Colorado

RELATED: NATS PLACE RELIEVER ON DL

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Nationals place Koda Glover on DL due to hip injury

Nationals place Koda Glover on DL due to hip injury

 The Washington Nationals placed reliever Koda Glover on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip impingement.

Glover earned his first two career saves last weekend in New York against the Mets. He's 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 11 appearances.

Manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday he wanted to take a cautious route with Glover because, "we're going to need Koda in the long run."

The 23-year-old Glover was selected in the eighth round of the 2015 first-year player draft.

To take his place, the Nationals recalled left-hander Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse. The 28-year-old Grace has a 3.60 ERA in 31 career major league games.

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