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Nationals bullpen woes continue, drop another to Phillies

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USA Today Sports

Nationals bullpen woes continue, drop another to Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Cesar Hernandez hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Joe Blanton in the eighth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Saturday to stop a four-game losing streak.

Blanton (0-2) relieved starter Tanner Roark to open the eighth, hit Freddy Galvis with a pitch and gave up Hernandez's one-out homer.

Jeremy Hellickson (2-0) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. Hector Neris pitched a perfect eighth, and Joaquin Benoit a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save since signing with the Phillies as a free agent during the offseason.

Roark gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings. He also singled and doubled.

Anthony Rendon hit an RBI single since in the third, but the Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the fourth after Hernandez and Howie Kendrick both reached on bunt singles. Obduel Herrera hit a run-scoring double and Maikel Franco had an RBI grounder.

Chris Heisey, making his first start this season, homered in the seventh.

Daniel Murphy went 0 for 4, stopping his 10-game hitting streak.

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Bryce Harper named National League Player of the Week

Bryce Harper named National League Player of the Week

If you've understandably been caught up with the Capitals and Wizards in their respective playoff series, you might not be aware of just how hot Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is right now. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Mets in New York, Harper was named National League Player of the Week. 

For the whole week, Harper hit .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and 10 runs scored. 

He is now leading all of baseball in batting average (.400), he's tied for second in homers (7), and he's alone in second in RBI (20). He's also amassed a blistering 1.340 OPS through the team's first 18 games. 

Harper's biggest game of the past week came in Atlanta when he went yard twice, with his second homer being a grand slam. He finished the game 4-for-4 with two homers, one double, five RBI, one walk and four runs scored. 

With Harper's injuries from last season behind him (even though he won't completely admit to being hurt), the Nationals' right fielder is back to, or even better than, his 2015 form that ended with his first career MVP award. During that season Harper took home player of the week honors three times. 

The Nationals as a team have the best record in baseball at 13-5, and already have a three-game lead in the NL East. 

Related: MLB Power Rankings

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Charlie Blackmon hits 2-run homer, Rockies beat Nationals 8-4

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USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Blackmon hits 2-run homer, Rockies beat Nationals 8-4

DENVER (AP) -- Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer in the seventh, Colorado's lights-out bullpen threw three-plus scoreless innings and the Colorado Rockies beat Washington 8-4 on Monday night, ending the Nationals' seven-game winning streak.

Trailing 4-3, Blackmon lined a hanging slider from lefty Enny Romero (1-1) into the right-field stands. It was Blackmon's sixth homer of the season and followed a pinch-hit double from Pat Valaika -- his first hit of the season.

The Rockies' relievers came through once again after starter Tyler Anderson wore down. Carlos Estevez (2-0) got four outs and Adam Ottavino threw an effective eighth. Greg Holland pitched the ninth in a non-save situation after the Rockies added three insurance runs in the eighth. He got pinch-hitter Bryce Harper to ground out to end the game.

The Rockies' bullpen is now 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA, which is tops in the NL.

MORE NATIONALS: BRYCE HARPER PICKS UP HIS FIRST PIECE OF HARDWARE ON THE SEASON