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NL powers meet in D.C.

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NL powers meet in D.C.

It's a sizzling late July afternoon in the nation's capital, and it'll be a little warmer than usual when Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for the start of tonight's game against the Giants, with a rare 6:35 p.m. first pitch. The Nationals did this to give everyone a few extra minutes of sleep tonight before we reconvene early tomorrow morning for the really rare, 11:05 a.m. Independence Day game. (A sign in the clubhouse today said batting practice begins at 6 a.m. I think it was a joke, though I'm not positive about that.)

This series features some great pitching matchups, starting with tonight's showdown between Zimmermann (who actually boasts the best ERA in the Nats' rotation, better than All-Stars Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez) and Tim Lincecum. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is having a baffling season, as evidenced by his 3-8 record and 5.60 ERA. But he is coming off a fantastic outing against the Dodgers -- seven scoreless innings -- so the old Timmy may be back.

I'll have some rehab updates on Drew Storen, Henry Rodriguez, Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady shortly, as well as the latest on Bryce Harper's chances to make the All-Star team. In the meantime, check Nats Insider for game updates later on...

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 6:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 95 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from CF

NATIONALS (45-32)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

GIANTS (45-35)
RF Gregor Blanco
2B Ryan Theriot
LF Melky Cabrera
1B Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
CF Angel Pagan
C Hector Sanchez
SS Brandon Crawford
RHP Tim Lincecum

UMPIRES
HP Scott Barry, 1B Jerry Meals, 2B Gary Darling (cc), 3B Paul Emmel

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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

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WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.

Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.

Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.

At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.

Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.

Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.

Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.

Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.

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