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Nationals fall to Marlins, 4-3, in season finale but win season-opening series

Nationals fall to Marlins, 4-3, in season finale but win season-opening series

WASHINGTON -- Justin Bour doubled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 10th inning after the Marlins erased two leads against a shaky Nationals bullpen, and Miami earned its first win of the season by beating Washington 4-3 Thursday night.

In a game delayed by rain for more than an hour both at the start and in the middle of the sixth, Bour sent a shot off Joe Blanton (0-1) down the left field line. That brought home J.T. Realmuto, whose single in the 10th was his third hit of the game, including a two-run homer in the eighth that made it two-all.

David Phelps (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning. A.J. Ramos, Miami's sixth pitcher, worked the 10th to earn his first save. He put two men on with one out, then retired Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon to end it.

Nationals relievers Shawn Kelley, Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen combined to give up leads in the eighth and ninth innings.

Washington entered the eighth with a 2-0 edge thanks to homers from Adam Eaton and Jayson Werth.

But Kelley, who lost the spring training competition for the closer's job to Treinen, promptly blew it. He walked Christian Yelich, then two outs later, gave up Realmuto's second homer of the season.

Zimmerman put the Nationals back in front 3-2 in the eighth with a solo shot to straightaway center off Junichi Tazawa that originally resulted in a triple but was ruled on replay review to have cleared the wall. Zimmerman drove a 1-0 curveball just over the outstretched glove of outfielder Yelich and has homered in the past two games.

That lead didn't last long, though, because pinch-hitter Tyler Moore -- a former member of the Nationals -- delivered an RBI single up the middle off Treinen with a 2-2 count and two outs in the ninth. Treinen came in with a man on third, put there by Solis.

Eaton's homer came in the first off Tom Koehler, and Werth's was in the seventh off Kyle Barraclough, moments after Washington's left fielder made a running, twisting catch in the top of the inning.

A game that began 1 hour, 20 minutes late because of showers was held up for another 63 minutes in the middle of the sixth.

NATIONALS ROTATION

RHP Stephen Strasburg is being given an extra day of rest and will pitch Sunday at Philadelphia. That leaves the Nationals without a starter for Saturday, because the rotation's fifth member, RHP Joe Ross, was sent to the minors and can't be brought back yet. Manager Dusty Baker would not say who will pitch Saturday, but it is expected to be RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who hasn't appeared in the majors since 2015 with Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Open a three-game series at the Mets on Friday, with LHP Wei-Yin Chen facing RHP Zack Wheeler. Chen is 0 for 50 with 21 strikeouts as a hitter in his big league career.

Nationals: NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer pitches Friday against the Phillies. Scherzer's spring preparation was delayed because he was still in pain from a fractured knuckle on his pitching hand. "I'm good to throw 100 pitches tomorrow. That's what's so exciting about where I was at, to where I am now. I'm going to be able to compete in this first turn of the rotation," Scherzer said Thursday.

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Nationals beat Braves, snap losing skid behind Stephen Strasburg's strong start

Nationals beat Braves, snap losing skid behind Stephen Strasburg's strong start

ATLANTA (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high 11 and kept up his recent domination of the Atlanta Braves, leading Washington to a 3-2 win Sunday that stopped the Nationals' four-game losing streak.

Strasburg (5-1) allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings, beating Atlanta for the second time this season and improving to 7-1 in his last nine starts against the Braves. He is 10-8 overall against Atlanta.

He reached double digits in strikeouts for the second time this season after fanning 10 Braves on April 20.

Strasburg faded in the eighth, when Dansby Swanson hit a two-run double. Koda Glover struck out Nick Markakis to end the inning and finished the six-hitter for his third save.

Daniel Murphy hit a second-inning homer off Jaime Garcia (1-3) and the Nationals added two unearned runs in the third.

Matt Adams was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and hit into a ninth-inning double play in his debut for Atlanta, a day after he was acquired from St. Louis. Matt Kemp led off the ninth, and Adams hit a line drive that was caught by Ryan Zimmerman, who stepped on first base.

Garcia allowed three runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in eight innings with no walks.

Washington took a 3-0 lead in the third following fielding errors by Markakis in right and Garcia. Bryce Harper had a run-scoring single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon and C Matt Wieters were given days off from the starting lineup. Rendon entered at third base in the eighth.

Braves: RHP Kris Medlen allowed one hits in six scoreless innings Saturday in his first start for Class A Florida. He missed most of 2016 with shoulder problems after his second Tommy John surgery. "That would be a real nice piece to have," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. Medlen pitched for Kansas City in 2015-16 and his last season with Atlanta was in 2013, when he was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Following an off day, RHP Jacob Turner (2-2) is expected to start when the Nationals will open a series against Seattle on Tuesday.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-4) will take a 0-3 career record in three starts against Pittsburgh into Monday night's series opener against the Pirates.

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals

2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals

A week ago, the Nationals were looking unstoppable. Bryce Harper was hitting walkoff dingers left and right, there were multiple winning streaks, and the bullpen was only sorta bad. 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

A week's worth of games later - against the Braves, Pirates and Phillies, no less - and the Nats don't look nearly as stainless. Harper's hitting under .200 since his Mother's Day walkoff, the team lost 5 of 6, and the bullpen turned back into a pumpkin. Because of that, there's a new team at the top of the Power Rankings this week. Who is it? To the rankings! 

30. MIAMI MARLINS

2017 Record: 15-28
Previous Ranking: 24
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Dee Gordon (.318/.400/.364 last week)

Stanton hasn't homered in over two weeks, a stretch of 12 games. After going 2-8 over the last 10, including that weird Dodgers game, the Marlins have seen better weeks.  

29. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 16-30
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance: Brad Hand (.300/.500/.600 last week)

Wil Myers' underwhelming season continues. The outfielder is hitting .150 over the last week, and only .219 over the last month. The Padres best position player is only worth .6 bWAR, and that's 5th-best on the team.

28. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 15-26
Previous Ranking: 23
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Daniel Nava (.429/.429/.571 last week)

They ran into Texas at exactly the wrong time. Getting starts that are consistently like Aaron Nola's last one will be huge for his development this season. 

27. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

2017 Record: 18-25
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Lorenzo Cain (.087/.125/.087 last week)

They're starting to play better, but upcomming series with the Yankees and Indians aren't making life any easier for KC. Jason Vargas (?!) has been their most valuable player this year (2.0 bWAR). 

26. ATLANTA BRAVES

2017 Record: 18-23
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Notable Performance: Matt Kemp (.375/.423/.708 last week)

Losing Freeman for three months because of some dumb unspoken beef is just a testament to how stupid unwritten baseball rules are. The silver lining to this year, though, is that the Braves are going to fleece some team for Matt Kemp in July. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE