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NL East: Braves name Snitker manager, add Ron Washington to staff

NL East: Braves name Snitker manager, add Ron Washington to staff

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves named Brian Snitker manager on Tuesday, rewarding him for reversing the team's direction in his role as interim manager this season.

The Braves finished last in the NL East but won 20 of their last 30 games under Snitker, who was named interim manager on May 17 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. Snitker had a 59-65 record, including 37-35 after the All-Star break.

Despite the strong finish under Snitker, the Braves also interviewed former managers Bud Black and Ron Washington.

Washington was named the Braves' third-base coach and Chuck Hernandez was named pitching coach. Snitker's staff also includes bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, assistant hitting coach Jose Castro and bullpen coach Marty Reed.

Snitker, 61, was not given much long-term security. He was hired only for the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.

When Snitker, a longtime manager in the Braves' farm system, was named Atlanta's interim manager, it was widely thought the team would look outside the organization for a new skipper to take the team into its first season in new SunTrust Park.

[RELATED: Nationals beat Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLDS]

Instead, Snitker won over the players and front office. Atlanta was 9-28 when Gonzalez was fired and appeared bound for 100 losses at 18-46 before it began a dramatic turnaround under Snitker.

"Brian earned this opportunity through his dedication to the Braves and to our players," general manager John Coppolella said in a statement released by the team. "We are excited for the energy and momentum he will bring into SunTrust Park next season."

The 2017 season will mark Snitker's 41st in the Braves organization. He had been the manager at Triple-A Gwinnett before replacing Gonzalez on an interim basis.

Atlanta's strong finish under Snitker, bolstered by the additions of rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson and veteran left fielder Matt Kemp, boosted expectations for next season.

Braves president John Hart said last week the season had been "spiraling out of control" before Snitker "restored order."

Hernandez, 55, was the Braves' minor league pitching coordinator this season, his 31st as a coach. He was the Marlins' pitching coach from 2013-15. The Marlins' 3.71 ERA in 2013 and 3.78 in 2014 were the two best in franchise history.

"He spent the 2016 season working closely with many of our young, talented pitchers who will be such an important part of our future," Coppolella said.

Washington, 64, spent the last two seasons on Oakland's coaching staff after managing the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014.

Coppolella said Washington's experience as a manager "will be an asset to everyone on the club. His tireless work ethic, up-beat attitude and tremendously high baseball IQ will benefit our players and our staff."

[RELATED: Nats manager Baker on how he got the nickname 'Dusty']

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Nationals six-game winning streak comes to an end in Los Angeles

Nationals six-game winning streak comes to an end in Los Angeles

The book on Alex Meyer was pretty clear: big stuff, bigger control problems.

Not so much Wednesday night for the 6-foot-9 right-hander.

Meyer executed nearly to perfection while allowing a hit and a walk over seven innings and leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-0 victory that ended the Washington Nationals' six-game winning streak.

MORE NATS: NATS BOLSTER BULLPEN

"We really didn't have much of a chance," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "Our reports were he didn't have very good command, but he did tonight."

Meyer (4-5) had a perfect game until he walked Anthony Rendon with two outs in the fifth. He lost his no-hitter with two outs in the sixth when Brian Goodwin doubled down the right-field line.

Meyer, Rendon and Goodwin were all first-round draft picks by the Nationals in 2011.

"I went to breakfast with (Goodwin) this morning and paid for it," Meyer said. "I'll have to talk to him about that."

Meyer had been plagued by walks this season (41 in 60 1/3 innings) but had just the one free pass in a career-high seven innings. He struck out seven.

David Hernandez and Jose Alvarez each threw a scoreless, hitless inning to complete the one-hitter. It was only the second time this season the Nationals have been shut out.

"To make outs the way he did says a lot about his upside and potential," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Mike Trout and C.J. Cron each hit two-run homers to support Meyer. For Trout, it was his 18th of the season.

Gio Gonzalez (8-5) started for the Nationals but gave up a pair of first-inning runs on Albert Pujols' single and Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly, and it was all the runs Los Angeles would need.

Washington outfielder Bryce Harper did not play in the nationally televised game. It was a scheduled day off.

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Zimmerman sets franchise HR record, Nationals beat Reds 6-1

Zimmerman sets franchise HR record, Nationals beat Reds 6-1

The NL East leaders opened the second half of the season with a franchise record, a series sweep and a significant upgrade -- exactly how the Nationals wanted to keep their momentum going.

Ryan Zimmerman set the Nationals' career home run record with a solo shot, and Bryce Harper connected again on Monday as Washington powered its way to a 6-1 victory for a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

Zimmerman's 235th career homer moved him ahead of Vladimir Guerrero for most in Expos and Nationals history. Guerrero quickly tweeted congratulations , saying he doesn't mind being second.

"It's special to be in one place your entire career," said Zimmerman, in his 12th season with the team that made him a first-round draft pick. "You can't do stuff like this if you're not in the same place for a long time. So I feel very lucky to have spent my entire career here, honored to have hit more home runs than any Expo or National. It's cool."

The Nationals emerged from the All-Star break with an emphatically successful series -- 13 homers, including three by Harper, and 35 runs overall by the league's top offense. It was the Nationals' first four-game sweep of the Reds and left them 6-1 against Cincinnati this season.

Washington improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 (56-36) with its ninth victory in 11 games.

The Nationals' roster got a little better during the series, too. Washington shored up its weak bullpen by getting relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from Oakland on Sunday. They'll join the team in Los Angeles for the start of a series against the Angels on Tuesday.

"We know we have a good team and we've put ourselves in a good spot to start the second half, but we've got a ways to go," Zimmerman said. "Obviously we acquired two talented guys for the bullpen, and we'll just try to keep scoring runs so that they can come in and lock the games up."

Stephen Strasburg (10-3) recovered from his shortest start of the season by fanning 11 in seven innings and allowing four hits, including Eugenio Suarez's homer. Strasburg left his last start -- a 13-0 loss to Atlanta on July 8 -- after Nick Markakis' liner deflected off his hip in the third inning.

He allowed only two hits -- including an infield single -- in his last five innings.

"Your body wants to pretend it's the offseason," Strasburg said of the break between starts. "It took a little while to get going."

Scott Feldman (7-7) lasted only one inning, limited by a stiff right knee that has been bothering him. He gave up a double, a single, Harper's three-run homer and Zimmerman's solo shot in his first 12 pitches. Feldman left after facing nine batters and giving up five runs on 33 pitches.

"It wouldn't loosen up," Feldman said of the knee. "It was one of those days. I put the team in a tough spot. We were down five runs right off the bat."

Harper's homer extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Brian Goodwin's solo shot made it 6-1 in the sixth.

4 FOR 4

The last time the Nationals swept a four-game series was last season against Atlanta. It was the 11th four-game sweep in Nationals history.

KEEP RUNNING

Daniel Murphy scored from second base on Matt Wieter's fly out in the first inning, turning it into a sacrifice fly. Right fielder Scooter Gennett made a diving catch in the gap and then stumbled and dropped the ball while trying to get up, giving Murphy enough time to make it home.

STATS

It was Strasburg's sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and the 35th of his career. ... Anthony Rendon extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Nationals starters allowed only one run in the series. ... The 13 homers allowed in a series matched the Reds' club record.

NATIONALS MOVES

Washington called up right-hander Jacob Turner from Triple-A. Right-hander Koda Glover -- sidelined since April by a hip injury -- was moved to the 60-day DL.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: CF Michael Taylor hasn't yet started baseball-related activities as he recovers from a strained right oblique. He went on the DL on July 7.

Reds: C Devin Mesoraco began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville. He'll play a few games and be re-evaluated. He's been sidelined since July 5 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT

Nationals: They face the Angels for the first time since 2011. Washington is 6-7 in interleague play this season.

Reds: RHP Sal Romano (1-1) will be called up to make his third career start when the Reds face the Diamondbacks. He also started on April 16 against Milwaukee and July 6 at Colorado.