Game in a nutshell: The Nationals took an early lead with a solo home run to opposite field by Ian Desmond in the second inning. Colorado tied the game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, but Washington found their stroke in the 6th inning by scoring three runs. Gio Gonzalez threw a lot of pitches, but ended up with another gem as he now heads to Kansas City to represent the Nationals in the 2012 All-Star game.
Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored three runs in the sixth inning due to some unusual plays. Danny Espinosa led the inning off with a double off the right-center field wall. Then Bryce Harper advanced him to third on a bloop single he almost got thrown out on trying to stretch a double. Ryan Zimmerman singled Espinosa home and sent Harper to third. Josh Roenicke then threw a wild pitch that Zimmerman tried to steal on, catcher Wilin Rosario threw it off the mark and Harper was able to score from home. Then another error later in the inning, this time trying to pick off Ian Desmond at first, sent Zimmerman home from third.
Pitching highlight: Gio Gonzalez threw 102 pitches (60 strikes) in 6.0 innings but allowed only one earned run and three hits. He walked three batters and struck out six for another overall solid outing by the Nationals lefty.
Key stat: Ian Desmond now has homers in three of his last five games and 16 overall on the season. Thats first for shortstops in the National League and sixth overall in the N.L.
Up next: The final game before the All-Star break as Jordan Zimmerman goes for the series win vs. Jeremy Guthrie and the Rockies. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m.
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
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