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The perfect mix of new and old propels Nationals to Opening Day victory

The perfect mix of new and old propels Nationals to Opening Day victory

WASHINGTON — The Nationals got the 2017 season started off on the right foot thanks to some deft fielding and two big swings on Monday afternoon. 

Stephen Strasburg gave the Nationals seven innings of quality work and his teammates did the rest, defeating the Miami Marlins 4-2 in front of a sellout crowd of 42,744 at Nationals Park.

How It Happened: Edinson Volquez and Stephen Strasburg didn't bring a lot of heat on Opening Day, but the two aces kept the ball in play for the first three innings. But in the top of the fourth inning, Strasburg allowed the Marlins to make contact one too many times. Catcher J.T. Realmuto doubled to center field, and after Christian Yellich filed out, Giancarlo drove in the first run of the season, sending the ball over the head of center fielder Adam Eaton, who was in shallow position. Stanton advanced to third base on a ground out from Justin Bour, before Marcel Ozuna drove him in on a single to center.

The Marlins nearly doubled up their lead in the fifth with two men on, but Bryce Harper came to the rescue. With Vloquez on second and Realmuto on first, Yellich sent a Strasburg pitch deep to right field. Harper had to sprint to the right field wall and make an acrobatic catch to end the inning and prevent the Marlins from taking a commanding 4-0 lead.

The Nationals finally took the offensive in the sixth inning, thanks to Bryce Harper, who belted the fifth Opening Day home run of his career.The very next inning, manager Dusty Baker pulled Strasburg and inserted offseason acquisition and pinch-hitter Adam Lind, who took David Phelps deep for a two-run home run.

A Daniel Murphy single drove in Eaton in the eight to give the Nationals a security run in the eighth inning.

New Faces Deliver: Three of the newest Nationals made big impacts on Opening Day. Adam Eaton, who the team acquired in a trade from the White Sox, finished 1-for-2 with one hit, one run and two walks. Former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters also made his Nationals debut. He singled in the seventh inning, putting a runner on base for the final member of the Nats' new trio, who gave the Nationals the lead for good with a two-run home run.

Bryce Harper Day: Bryce Harper sure does love Opening Day. The Nationals superstar became the first player in the Live Ball Era to hit five Opening Day home runs before his 25th birthday. He also became the only player in franchise history to hit a home run on Opening Day in three consecutive seasons.

Closing It Out: Blake Treinen entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with the Nationals leading 4-2. It marked the first save opportunity for him since being named the team's primary closer. Treinen got dangerous slugger Giancarlo Stanton to pop out in foul territory and struck out Justin Bour on a full count before striking out Ozuna to end the game.

Final Line: Strasburg (W, 1-0): 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 SO, 0 BB

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Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.

Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.

Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.

He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.

Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.

While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.

San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.

Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.

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Matt Grace, Howie Kendrick lead Nationals past San Diego Padres

Matt Grace, Howie Kendrick lead Nationals past San Diego Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Grace pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in place of injured Max Scherzer and Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff homer and drove in two runs to help the Washington Nationals beat the San Diego Padres 7-1 on Friday night.

Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start and placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sore neck. Grace and five relievers held San Diego to four hits.

Grace, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and pitched at UCLA, made his first big league start and his first start since 2012 when he was with Single-A Potomac. It was his 61st big league appearance.

The left-hander allowed two hits, struck out one and walked one. He retired Cory Spangenberg on a grounder to open the fifth and manager Dusty Baker came out to get him after 52 pitches.

Shawn Kelley came on and with one out allowed Dusty Coleman's solo homer into the second deck in left field, his fourth.

Joe Blanton (2-2) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win.

Kendrick homered to left on the third pitch from Luis Perdomo, his sixth leadoff shot this season and seventh homer overall. Kendrick also hit an RBI single with no outs in the seventh to chase Perdomo and give the Nationals a 5-1 lead. Pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza hit a sacrifice fly one batter earlier.

Adam Lind hit an RBI single in the sixth.

Washington's Michael A. Taylor robbed Yangervis Solarte of a home run with a perfectly timed leap to catch the ball above the 396 sign in center field leading off the second, and right fielder Andrew Stevenson made a nice running catch of Wil Myers' fly ball with a runner on third to end the fourth.

Perdomo (6-8) allowed five runs, three earned, and six hits while striking out five and walking three.