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Instant analysis: Nats 8, Mets 2

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Instant analysis: Nats 8, Mets 2

Game in a nutshell: Jordan Zimmermann did his usual thing, allowing one run over six sparkling innings. And the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Bryce Harper's first home run since June 28. But they were silenced at the plate by the soft-tossing Chris Young after that, and some curious bullpen maneuvers by Davey Johnson in the bottom of the seventh -- Drew Storen only faced one batter before he was replaced by Michael Gonzalez, who gave up the game-tying homer to Ike Davis -- prevented Zimmermann from earning his eighth win. The game wound up in extra innings, at which point a Nationals lineup that had been stagnant almost the entire night suddenly sprung to life in spectacular fashion. In succession in the top of the 10th, Harper laced an RBI single, Ryan Zimmerman cleared the bases with a double and Michael Morse launched a 2-run homer. How often do you see a team win in extra innings by 6 runs? Well, the Nats just did it. And thanks to the Braves' loss in Miami, they now lead the NL East by 4 12 games.

Hitting highlight: When the Nationals opened the bottom of the first with three hits off Young, including Harper's two-run homer, they looked poised to pick up where they left off during yesterday's 9-run explosion. Then they were completely wiped out by a right-hander with an 84-mph fastball. Young didn't give up another hit through the seventh inning, when he finally departed. It was a weak offensive showing from a lineup that had been red-hot, against a pitcher who clearly didn't have overwhelming stuff. Yet that all felt insignificant in the top of the 10th. Harper, Zimmerman and Morse completely changed the storyline, each crushing a pitch from Pedro Beato with more authority than the previous one. Pretty remarkable how a team can go from what looked like a feeble performance at the plate to a dominant one.

Pitching highlight: Leave it to Mr. Consistency to do what he always does: Pitch six quality innings. For the 20th time in 20 starts this season, Zimmermann went at least six. And for the 12th time in those 20 starts, he allowed zero or one earned run. Zimmermann's lone mistake: a solo homer by David Wright in the bottom of the fourth. Otherwise, he was effective as always, needing a respectable 89 pitches to complete those six innings. He easily could have gone deeper, but Johnson decided to pinch-hit for Zimmermann in the top of the seventh, a move that wound up backfiring when Tyler Moore struck out and

Key stat: Zimmermann entered the game throwing 68 percent of his pitches for strikes, the fourth-best rate in the majors this season. And he topped that mark tonight, throwing 73 percent of his pitches (65 of 89) for strikes.

Up next: Game 2 of the series features a rematch of what last week figured to be a great pitchers' duel between Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey. Gonzalez, though, will have to bounce back after the shortest start of his season: only 3 13 innings. First pitch at Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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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