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Instant Analysis: Nats 8, Padres 5

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Instant Analysis: Nats 8, Padres 5

Game in a nutshell: Bryce Harper's first career homer set the early tone for the night, but the Nationals were forced to rally after starter Ross Detwiler gave up five runs. Perhaps negatively affected by the loss of rookie catcher Sandy Leon to a scary-looking ankle injury, Detwiler put his teammates in a 5-4 hole. No problem, because Ian Desmond responded with a two-run double in the sixth, and Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady added solo homers in the ninth to provide some cushion for Henry Rodriguez. And the beleaguered closer needed it, because he walked the bases loaded with one out, forcing Davey Johnson to summon Sean Burnett to bail him out. Which Burnett did by inducing a game-ending, 1-2-3 double play.

Hitting highlight: It was bound to happen eventually, and it didn't disappoint when it did finally happen. With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the third, Harper crushed a 2-1 breaking ball from Tim Stauffer over the center-field fence and well up the grass batter's eye for his first career home run. The 19-year-old became the youngest major leaguer to homer since Adrian Beltre in 1998 and got a curtain call from the announced crowd of 19,434.

Pitching highlight: After Detwiler labored through five innings, Johnson was forced to turn to his bullpen earlier than usual. No problem, because Craig Stammen came to the rescue yet again. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings, striking out three in the process, to bridge the gap from Detwiler to setup man Tyler Clippard. Stammen now boasts a 1.29 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 21 innings out of the bullpen this season.
Key stat: This was only the fourth time in 35 games this season in which the Nationals' starting pitcher gave up more than three earned runs.

Up next: Stephen Strasburg finally gets a chance to face his hometown team when the Nationals host the Padres in the 1:05 p.m. finale of this very brief, two-game series. Right-hander Anthony Bass starts for San Diego.

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Cubs catcher Miguel Montero to be designated for assignment after angry comments about Nats game

Cubs catcher Miguel Montero to be designated for assignment after angry comments about Nats game

The Washington Nationals were stealing bases all night long against the Chicago Cubs, swiping a total of seven bags in a 6-1 victory on Tuesday.

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Following the game, tensions were high for Cubs catcher Miguel Montero who quickly pointed the blame at pitcher Jake Arrieta for the stolen bases. 

Cubs star first baseman Anthony Rizzo addressed the situation, calling Montero "selfish."

Less than 24 hours later, Montero was designated for assignment. 

The Cubs have decided to call up Triple-A catcher Victor Caratini to replace Montero, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

The Nats may have literally run Montero out of Chicago. 

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Trea Turner ties franchise record of stolen bases in single game with Nats 6-1 win over Cubs

Trea Turner ties franchise record of stolen bases in single game with Nats 6-1 win over Cubs

WASHINGTON -- Neither of the past two NL Cy Young Award winners had his best stuff, though Max Scherzer handled things much better than Jake Arrieta.

Scherzer allowed one run and two hits as the Washington Nationals knocked Arrieta out in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night. While Arrieta was slow to the plate and allowed seven stolen bases, Scherzer (9-5) threw a strong six innings, striking out six with no walks and retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.

"I didn't really have great fastball command tonight, but I was able to use my offspeed to kind of collect outs when I needed to and I didn't walk anybody," said Scherzer, who allowed an earned run in the first inning for the first time since April but was in command the rest of the night. "When we needed shutdown innings we got them."

Arrieta (7-6), on the other hand, struggled with his control as he issued a season-high six walks and allowed five earned runs, getting the hook two batters into the fifth inning. The 2015 Cy Young winner hadn't walked more than three batters in a game this season.

Manager Joe Maddon quipped that the Cubs "let the wrong guys on base," but catcher Miguel Montero blamed Arrieta for all the steals.

"The reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate," a visibly frustrated Montero said. "It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time."

Four of the Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise record seven steals came from speedy shortstop Trea Turner, who Arrieta called a "factor" any time he's on.

"I don't care who is behind the plate," Arrieta said. "He's a threat."

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Washington manager Dusty Baker said the team knew Arrieta was a pitcher to run on, and the result was a lot of small ball for a team accustomed to driving in runs with power. Washington center fielder Michael Taylor went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Scherzer washed out the RBI triple he allowed to Kris Bryant in the first by driving in a run with an infield single off Arrieta's glove in the fourth.

When Scherzer was lifted after 93 pitches through six with a comfortable 6-1 lead, the Nationals' beleaguered bullpen got three clean innings of relief from Enny Romero, Blake Treinen, Oliver Perez and Matt Albers.

Trea Turner tied the franchise record with four steals in a game, repeating his own feat from two weeks ago. He had a chance in the eighth to break the record and move within one of the most in a game in the modern era of baseball but did not try with Bryce Harper up and a five-run lead.

"I don't think I was held, but I didn't know if I was supposed to go," said Turner, who has 32 stolen bases this season.