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Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 4

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Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 4

Game in a nutshell: In the first morning game in Nationals history, the home team came out of the gates a bit sluggish. Edwin Jackson gave up three runs in the top of the first, and Giants starter Madison Bumgarner faced the minimum the first time through the order.

But then the Nats' lineup got hot once again, thanks to a few familiar faces. Ian Desmond delivered yet another clutch hit (a two-out, two-run single in the third). Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse delivered back-to-back homers in the fifth, each slugger continuing his torrid pace at the plate. And even Jhonatan Solano chimed in with his second career homer. Jackson settled down after his shaky first inning, and the Nationals cruised to a second straight victory over the NL's second-best club. At 47-32, they're now 15 games over .500, matching their best mark of the season.
Hitting highlight: Lots of candidates to choose from here yet again, including Zimmerman, Morse and Desmond. But let's throw some love to Solano, who has come out of nowhere to provide a potent bat at the bottom of the Nationals' lineup. The rookie catcher -- summoned to the big leagues only after injuries to Wilson Ramos, Jesus Flores, Sandy Leon and Carlos Maldonado -- blasted an opposite-field homer to right and added a single and a stolen base in this game. "The Onion" is now hitting .423 with two homers and six RBI in limited playing time but sure is making a case to get more regular at-bats.
Pitching highlight: What is it about Jackson and his aversion to the first inning? He's now allowed 17 earned runs in 16 first frames this season, equating to a 9.56 ERA. In every other inning, that number plummets to 2.64. Whatever the reason, the right-hander just seems to have trouble locating his pitches early in games, but he manages to quickly find it after that. Jackson was very sharp from the second through the fifth innings today, retiring 12 of 14 batters.Key stat: How clutch has Desmond been? Well, 25 of his 47 RBI this season have come with two outs. That doesn't sound like an anomaly.
Up next: Both teams will have plenty of time rest (or catch some fireworks) before they return for tomorrow night's series finale. Ross Detwiler faces Matt Cain at 7:05 p.m.

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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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

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