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Scherzer, Cain face-off as Nats look to sweep Giants

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Scherzer, Cain face-off as Nats look to sweep Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bryce Harper will get a chance to hit against one of his least favorite pitchers when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants complete a three-game series Wednesday night.

The Nationals won the first two games 3-0 and 6-3 to move within one victory of their third road series sweep of the season.

Washington went 9-1 during a three-city trip in April, sweeping three straight from Atlanta and the New York Mets before taking three of four at Colorado.

The Nationals pounded out 14 hits in the Tuesday win over the Giants despite getting nothing out of Harper's five at-bats. He struck out three times.

Harper learned earlier in the day that he was suspended by Major League Baseball for four games for charging the mound and participating in a brawl during the eighth inning of the Monday win.

RELATED: MLB HANDS SUSPENSIONS TO HARPER, STRICKLAND

Harper believed he was justified in taking action because he felt Giants reliever Hunter Strickland intentionally hit him with a pitch. MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre seemed to agree with Harper, handing Strickland the stiffer of the penalties, a six-gamer.

Both players appealed their suspensions. They are eligible to play until their appeals are heard.

Harper clearly wasn't totally focused on the Tuesday game, having been badgered with more questions beforehand.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker tried to deflect some of the attention, insisting to a large group of reporters that he felt Harper's suspension was unfair.

"I just don't think that the judges, whoever the judges were, have ever been in the situation," he said. "Probably only Martin Luther King (Jr.) or Gandhi would have turned the other cheek and not done something reactionary."

On Wednesday, Harper must face Giants starter Matt Cain (3-3, 4.45 ERA).

Harper has only one career hit -- a three-run home run -- against Cain in 10 at-bats. The veteran Giants right-hander has struck him out the last four times they have dueled.

Cain has handled most Nationals recently, not allowing a run in either of his last two starts against them. He is 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA against Washington in his career.

Cain will be opposed by a familiar opponent -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer (5-3, 2.77 ERA).

The two went head-to-head in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series, with Cain and the Giants prevailing 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep of Scherzer's Detroit Tigers.

In an effort to improve upon a 2-4 record and 5.52 ERA in six career starts against the Giants, Scherzer will have to deal with someone he has never faced -- Giants outfielder Orlando Calixte.

Called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day and immediately plugged into the leadoff spot, Calixte got his first two major league hits Tuesday, including a double that drove in two of the Giants' three runs.

"I thought he had good at-bats," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's nice to get a hit your first time up leading off the game."

With the Giants searching for a regular left fielder, and with right fielder Hunter Pence on the disabled list and with center fielder Denard Span siting out the start because Washington was throwing a left-handed pitcher, Bochy wound up playing Calixte at all three outfield positions over the course of the Tuesday contest.

He became the first Giant in eight years to accomplish the feat.

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Harper gets ejected before Nationals offense explodes in win over Brewers

Harper gets ejected before Nationals offense explodes in win over Brewers

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Lind each had two-run doubles in a seven-run eighth inning to help the Washington Nationals rally past the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 on Wednesday night.

Bryce Harper was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Chris Segal after striking out in the eighth inning with runners on the corners. Harper's single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games.

Tied 2-2, Zimmerman immediately picked up his fellow All-Star by lacing a liner into the right field corner. All-Star Daniel Murphy's homer pulled Washington within 2-1 in the seventh.

Jimmy Nelson struck out 10 and allowed one run and four hits in seven innings plus a batter. Jacob Barnes (3-2) entered with a 2-1 lead and surrendered two runs and two hits while recording only one out.

Ryan Madson (1-0) tossed one scoreless inning for the win.

Nelson exited after walking Matt Wieters leading off the eighth. Brian Goodwin's double off Barnes put two runners in scoring position with one out. After Wilmer Difo's single through the right side of the infield drove in the tying run, Harper faced reliever Josh Hader. Two pitches after visibly disliking a called strike, Harper struck out swinging. He slammed his bat to the ground and went nose-to-nose with Segal for his second ejection of the season.

Washington had six hits including four doubles in the eighth. Pedro Severino's RBI double put Washington up 8-2.

Murphy's homer ended a stretch of 17 1/3 scoreless innings for Washington.

Gio Gonzalez surrendered two runs on five hits and had eight strikeouts for Washington.

Santana's first inning blast, estimated at 476 feet, landed on the concourse beyond the left field stands.

Harper finished 1 of 4 and is batting .416 (30 for 72) during his streak. The All-Star also reached base safely in his 26th consecutive game, matching his career-best.

Milwaukee recalled Lewis Brinson from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .345 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs. He hit .097 in 31 at-bats last month with the Brewers in his only previous major league action. He homered on Wednesday night for his first in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a lower right leg strain. Garza said he was optimistic he would miss only one start.

Nationals: Manager Dusty Baker did not have an update on whether RHP Stephen Strasburg would make his next scheduled start, but said the Nationals were taking a big picture approach. Strasburg left Sunday's appearance after two innings with forearm pain that doctors later diagnosed as a nerve impingement. Washington entered Wednesday with an 11 game lead in the NL East. . The Nationals reinstated OF Ryan Raburn from the bereavement list and promptly placed him on the 10day DL retroactive to July 23 with a left trapezius strain.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Michael Blazek (0-0, 0.00) takes Garza's place in the rotation for the 12:05 p.m. first pitch. It is Blazek's first career start after 108 relief appearances since 2013.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (11-5, 2,26) allowed five runs and three home runs in his previous start at Arizona on July 21.

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Logo for 2018 MLB All Star Game in D.C. revealed

Logo for 2018 MLB All Star Game in D.C. revealed

The Washington Nationals will host the 2018 MLB All Star Game next July.

On Wednesday, the team officially released the logo for the event.

This will mark the fifth time the All-Star Game has been held in D.C., with the last one dating back to 1969 at RFK Stadium. 

RELATED: SHOULD FANS PANICK OVER STRASBURG INJURY?

The logo clearly incorporates the Washington Capitol surrounded by a patriotic red, white and blue theme. 

One of the biggest things to look forward to is Bryce Harper participating in the Home Run Derby.

Harper has avoided participating in the competition in recent years but has committed to playing when the event is in D.C.