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Instant analysis: Nats 10, Brewers 4

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Instant analysis: Nats 10, Brewers 4

Game in a nutshell: Only one word, really, is needed to put this game in a nutshell: Domination. Gio Gonzalez dominated the Brewers lineup, allowing two unearned runs over seven standout innings to become the first 20-game winner in the majors this season. The Nationals' lineup dominated Milwaukee's pitching, busting out with three homers and 13 hits. And the bullpen closed the door on a lopsided victory, one that moves the Nats one step closer to the NL East title. For the moment, they lead the division by 6 games over the Braves (who just got underway in Philadelphia). Their magic number to clinch is also down to 6.

Hitting highlight: How impressive was the Nationals' offensive performance today? Consider this fact: Their 1-through-7 hitters successfully reached base in 20 of their first 26 plate appearances. Poor Kurt Suzuki, who went 0-for-4 as the No. 8 hitter and didn't get to join the party. Everyone else did plenty to make up for it. Adam LaRoche went 3-for-4 and came up a triple short of the cycle. Ian Desmond went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper each reached base three times. Michal Morse reached base four times. They gave old pal Livan Hernandez a beating in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six times via a pair of three-run homers. (Guess Livo will help the Nationals win a division title after all.)

Pitching highlight: Obviously, it's easy to pitch with a 9-run lead. But Gonzalez was superb from the moment he took the mound this afternoon. He needed only 48 pitches to complete four scoreless innings, throwing a whopping 34 strikes. He issued only one walk and struck out five. And the only two runs he ultimately surrendered were unearned because of Bryce Harper's misplays in center field. Ultimately, this start will be remembered for Gonzalez reaching two big milestones. He earned his 20th win, becoming the first Washington pitcher to do that since Bob Porterfield in 1953. And he recorded his 200th strikeout, becoming the first Washington pitcher to do that since ... Walter Johnson in 1916(?!). Gonzalez is still scheduled to make two more starts in the regular season. With a strong finish, he's certainly going to be a strong candidate for NL Cy Young Award honors.

Key stat: LaRoche now has 32 homers for the season (matching his career high) and 98 RBI (two shy of his career high).

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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