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Morse removed in 4th inning of Nats game

Morse removed in 4th inning of Nats game

Michael Morse was removed from today's Nationals victory in the middle of the fourth inning, a surprise mid-game benching the club said was due to right thumb soreness even though manager Davey Johnson later cited an issue with Morse's hand and Morse himself insisted nothing was physically wrong.

"My hand feels fine," Morse said. "My hand feels good."

Morse has dealt with two separate nagging injuries over the last month. His thumb acted up in mid-August while the Nationals were playing in San Francisco, the result of being jammed on several inside pitches. Then on Aug. 24 in Philadelphia, he was struck by a pitch on the outside of his right hand, knocking him out of the entire series.

Morse hadn't noted any problems with either area since and appeared to be fine through the first 3 12 innings of today's game against the Cubs. But when the top of the fourth ended with Morse mimicking a catch in left field as teammate Bryce Harper actually snagged the flyball a few feet away, Morse and Johnson were seen having an animated discussion as soon as he returned to the dugout.

Roger Bernadina then came up to bat for Morse to lead off the bottom of the fourth and took his spot in left field the following inning.

Several innings later, the Nationals announced Morse departed the game with "right thumb soreness."

"Morse was complaining about his thumbhand, where he got hit, was acting up," Johnson said after the game. "I knew their pitcher was going to pound him in, and I didn't want to aggravate it worse. He didn't want to come out. I just said: 'You're coming out.' I don't need you aggravating it."

Morse later insisted the thumb and hand injuries were not connected in any way and insisted neither was bothering him enough to warrant removal from today's game.

Asked if Johnson took him out for precautionary reasons, the outfielder said: "I don't know. I have no clue. Whatever he says."

Johnson did say he expects to have Morse back in his lineup for tomorrow night's game.

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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