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Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's

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Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's

Game in a nutshell: Desperately in need of a win after dropping three straight, the last two to the Orioles, the Nationals dug themselves into another early hole, down 3-0 after a series of defensive miscues. Then Stephen Strasburg took matters into his own hands. Not to mention his bat. With a fourth-inning bomb into the left-field bullpen, Strasburg delivered his first career home run and sent the crowd of 41,918 into a frenzy. The right-hander also turned things up a notch on the mound, retiring the last 10 batters he faced, seven via strikeout, to improve to 4-1 for the season and send the Orioles back up the B-W Parkway with a lopsided loss.Hitting highlight: Sure, Bryce Harper's two-run triple was nice. So was Jesus Flores' solo homer. And so was Danny Espinosa's two-run homer. But who are we kidding here. The hitting highlight of the came from none other than Strasburg, who electrified the crowd with his fourth-inning homer into the left-field bullpen. Even more amazing: Strasburg's blast came on an 0-2 curveball from Wei-Yin Chen. Even more amazing than that: He took about five minutes to circle the bases. Even more amazing than that: He never smiled once, at least not until his curtain call.Pitching highlight: We've already given Strasburg plenty of praise. How about some love here for Tom Gorzelanny, who bridged the gap between the Nationals' starter and the back end of their bullpen with two scoreless innings of relief? Gorzelanny retired six of seven batters faced, the only "mistake" a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter Luis Exposito. It's a thankless job, but it was of vital importance this afternoon.Key stat: Today's crowd of 41,918 brought the Nationals' season attendance to 628,615. That's a 38 percent increase from attendance last year at this time, roughly 8,000 extra fans per game. The only major-league clubs with a larger increase this season: the Marlins and Tigers.
Up next: No break from a really tough stretch for the Nationals. They open a nine-game road trip Monday, all against NL East rivals. The trip begins at 7:05 p.m. Monday in Philadelphia, with Gio Gonzalez facing Kyle Kendrick before what should be a raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016

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Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well, but he won't specify why

Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers. 

Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.  

Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS. 

With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years. 

Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan