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Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards

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Three Nats are finalists for BBWAA awards

Davey Johnson, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez have all been named finalists for major awards that will be handed out next week by the Baseball Writers Association.

Harper is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Monday evening. Johnson is up for NL Manager of the Year, to be revealed Tuesday evening. And Gio Gonzalez was among the top three finishers in voting for the NL Cy Young Award, the winner set to be named next Wednesday evening.

The only BBWAA award without a finalist from the Nationals will be NL MVP, though both Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond are expected to have received top 10 votes by the writers.

Of the three Nationals who were named finalists, Johnson appears the likeliest award winner. The 69-year-old manager guided a franchise that had never posted a winning season since it arrived in Washington in 2005 to an MLB-best 98 wins and the NL East title before it lost the NLDS to the Cardinals in five games.

Johnson's toughest competition will come from Dusty Baker, who led the Reds to a 97-65 record. Bruce Bochy, whose Giants went on to win the World Series, is the third finalist among NL managers.

(Voting for all BBWAA awards are submitted before the start of the playoffs, so only regular-season performance is taken into consideration.)

Harper appears to have a good chance of becoming the first Washington player to win Rookie of the Year honors since Senators outfielders Albie Pearson and Bob Allison captured back-to-back awards in 1958 and 1959.

Harper led all NL rookies with 98 runs and 57 extra-base hits, finished second with 22 homers and 18 stolen bases and third with a .477 slugging percentage and .817 OPS. The other rookie finalists in the NL: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley.

Gonzalez faces a tougher challenge to capture NL Cy Young Award honors, with Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey the odds-on favorite to win. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw also finished among the top three.

The five finalists for NL MVP: Giants catcher Buster Posey, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, Padres third baseman Chase Headley and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The winner of that award will be revealed on Nov. 15.

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Nationals baffled by Dickey's knuckleball in Braves' 3-2 win

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Nationals baffled by Dickey's knuckleball in Braves' 3-2 win

ATLANTA  -- R.A. Dickey frustrated Washington with his knuckleball for eight innings, Ozzie Albies had three hits and the Atlanta Braves beat the Nationals 3-2 on Thursday night.

After Ryan Zimmerman's leadoff homer in the second inning, the 42-year-old Dickey gave up only one hit -- a two-out single by Trea Turner in the third -- over the next five innings. Turner was picked off first base.

Dickey (10-10) gave up two runs, four hits and no walks. He made a strong case that the Braves should pick up his $8 million club option for 2018.

Zimmerman lined his homer into the left-field seats, tying the game at 1. He set a career high with his 34th homer, his fourth off Dickey this season.

Arodys Vizcaino struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances. It was a strong return to form after Vizcaino walked all three batters he faced in a blown save Wednesday night.

The Braves scored two runs in the fourth off Tanner Roark (13-10). Albies singled, moved to third on catcher Matt Wieters' wild pickoff attempt and scored the go-ahead run on Freddie Freeman's fly ball to deep left field. Nick Markakis doubled past Zimmerman at first base and scored on Johan Camargo's single up the middle.

The Nationals trimmed the Braves' lead to one in the eighth. Anthony Rendon doubled to left field and scored on Wieters' two-out single.

Ender Inciarte continued his push for 200 hits when he led off the first with a triple to right field. It was his 191st hit, the third-highest total in the majors. Inciarte scored on Albies' single.

The game was delayed several minutes in the middle of the eighth. There was confusion as Nationals manager Dusty Baker attempted to make several defensive changes and had to go over the changes with home plate umpire Nic Lentz, who also took questions from Braves manager Brian Snitker.

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Ryan Zimmerman sets career high in homers vs. Braves

Ryan Zimmerman sets career high in homers vs. Braves

Ryan Zimmerman's resurgent season continues to get more and more impressive. 

Zimmerman hit his 34th home run of the season on Thursday night, setting a new career high. 

His previous career high was set in 2009, when he hit 33 while slashing .292/.364/.525 with a .888 OPS. 

He didn't get cheated on it, either: 

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