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SI awards ballot prevalent with Nats

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SI awards ballot prevalent with Nats

Sports Illustrated baseball columnist Tom Verducci - who by the way was in attendance at Monday nights division-clinching Nats game released his MLB awards predictions on Tuesday and the ballot is all over the Nationals. Verducci has the Nats nearly sweeping the National League awards with Mike Rizzo taking home N.L. Executive of the Year, Davey Johnson getting best manager, and Bryce Harper winning N.L. Rookie of the Year.

Realistically, all three are probably the favorites in their respective categories. Rizzo and Johnson deserve credit for building the team and their sudden leap to contender status. And Harper has continued a late-season surge that has him making history as a teenage position player.

Verducci does, however, present two rather bold predictions involving the Nats. For one, he not only doesnt have Gio Gonzalez winning the Cy Young award, he has him placing fourth in voting. Gonzalez isnt the favorite to win the honor with R.A. Dickey simply being better in a few categories, but he isnt expected to finish lower than third. Many think the Nats lefty will come in either first or second with first being an outside shot.

Verducci also has Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel out of the top five which has almost no chance of happening. Kimbrel has had a historic year for a closer, but Verducci claims that voting a relief pitcher in is like valuing placekickers above quarterbacks.

His second surprise involving the Nationals is the prediction that Adam LaRoche will finish as high as fifth in N.L. MVP voting. LaRoche has been the Nationals most consistent hitter all season, but hasnt reached the level of a Buster Posey or Andrew McCutchen. Just placing fifth would be a high honor to receive for the nine-year veteran. LaRoche has never received MVP votes, but should get at least a few after the best season of his career.It is also possible a few other Nationals could show up in MVP votes. Ryan Zimmerman isnt far behind LaRoche in several key categories and Ian Desmond has put together one of the best 2012 seasons for a shortstop.

Check out Verduccis full ballot right here.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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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