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Nats have plenty to be thankful for this year

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Nats have plenty to be thankful for this year

Everyone has something to be thankful for today, and that includes the Nationals roster, coaching staff and front office.

And for the third straight year, I've somehow managed to get my hands on a comprehensive list of these fine folks' Thanksgiving blessings. I'm just that good (or creative, depending on how you choose to look at it).

So without further ado, here's what everyone in NatsTown is thankful for this holiday season...

DAVEY JOHNSON: That he said the Nats could fire him only if he didn't win the NL East in 2012 (not the NLDS).

MIKE RIZZO: That he won't have to explain to the world why he's voluntarily shutting down one of his best big-league pitchers before the end of the 2013 season.

BRYCE HARPER: That his first big-league season included way more home runs than clown questions.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN: That he never again has to explain what it's like playing for a franchise that's never enjoyed a winning season.

IAN DESMOND: That Jim Bowden and Frank Robinson actually knew what they were doing seven years ago when they touted the then 18-year-old shortstop as a future star.

ADAM LAROCHE: That the best season of his career just so happened so occur right before he hit free agency.

JAYSON WERTH: That upon jumping into a throng of giddy teammates around home plate following the greatest baseball moment in D.C. in 88 years, he might never again have to justify his decision to take $126 million from the Nationals.

MICHAEL MORSE: That Nationals fans know the words to the chorus of "Take On Me." (Or, at least, are good at faking it.)

DANNY ESPINOSA: That the Nationals have been rewarded for showing patience with a young, streaky, middle infielder before.

WILSON RAMOS: That the toughest obstacle he has to overcome this offseason is a torn knee ligament, which should feel like nothing compared to what he had to overcome one year ago.

STEPHEN STRASBURG: That the only thing he'll be shutting down in 2013 are opposing lineups.

GIO GONZALEZ: That there will always be another member of the pitching staff willing to sit next to him in the dugout during games and listen to his stream of consciousness.

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: That after a thoroughly rewarding season he can reward himself by sitting on a frozen Wisconsin lake ice fishing for hours on end.

EDWIN JACKSON: That even after 10 seasons with seven different organizations, there are still GMs out there willing to pay him good money based more on potential than results.

DREW STOREN: That Washington sports fans place more weight on a month of dominance than one disastrous inning of relief. Unlike, say, Philadelphia sports fans.

TYLER CLIPPARD: That no one will ever question again whether he can close in the big leagues.

HENRY RODRIGUEZ: That the ability to throw a baseball 100 mph (even with location TBD) will always guarantee a steady paycheck.

JOHN LANNAN: That after the strangest season of his career, he should get a fair opportunity to pitch in the major leagues in 2013.

CHIEN-MING WANG: That he was paid about $8 million to make 16 big-league starts over the last three years (and 21 minor-league rehab starts).

MARK BUEHRLE: That he turned down the Nationals' three-year contract offer -- with no-trade clause included -- last winter and instead took four years (without a no-trade clause) from the Miami Marlins. Oh wait, he's not thankful for that decision at all.

MARK LERNER: That he's suddenly become the most successful and most popular owner in Washington.

MARK ZUCKERMAN: That I continue to be paid to perform a job that hardly ever feels like a job and have the most knowledgeable and loyal readership a sportswriter could ever hope to achieve.

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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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Nationals can't find enough offense to snap four-game skid

Nationals can't find enough offense to snap four-game skid

ATLANTA -- Rio Ruiz, Matt Kemp and Tyler Flowers hit home runs and the Atlanta Braves again relied on their bullpen for a 5-2 victory over Max Scherzer and Washington on Saturday night, the Nationals' fourth straight loss.

After Bartolo Colon allowed two runs, one earned, in 4 1/3 innings, five relievers combined for 4 2/3 hitless innings. Ian Krol (1-1) recorded the final two outs in the fifth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Four relievers combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings in Atlanta's 7-4 win over Washington on Friday night. The Braves have won seven of nine.

Ruiz and Kemp hit homers off Scherzer (4-3). The shot by Ruiz in the second was his first career homer and first hit of the season.

Ruiz was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday when the team placed Freddie Freeman on the disabled list with a fractured left wrist. Freeman is expected to miss about 10 weeks. The Braves added help at first base by acquiring Matt Adams from St. Louis during the game.

Kemp hit a line-drive homer off Scherzer in the fourth. Flowers hit his second homer off Matt Albers in the eighth.

Scherzer has allowed nine homers, second-most on the team behind the 10 allowed by Gio Gonzalez.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said before the game his relievers were "overworked and overtasked" and he was hoping for a long start from Scherzer. Instead, Scherzer lasted only five innings and had thrown 106 pitches, allowing three runs, four hits and three walks, before a rain delay that lasted almost 2 hours.

Braves first baseman Jace Peterson jumped into the protective net between home plate and the Atlanta dugout to catch Matt Wieters' foul ball in the sixth. Umpires huddled before ruling the catch was legal.

Michael Taylor made a diving catch of Emilio Bonifacio's line drive in the right-center gap in the seventh. Taylor then slid on his chest several feet on the wet grass.

More Nationals: BRAVES HAND NATIONALS THEIR THIRD LOSS IN A ROW​