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Wang takes win in relief as Nats beat Braves

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Wang takes win in relief as Nats beat Braves

By CHARLES ODUM ATLANTA (AP) -- Rick Ankiel hit a two-run triple in Washington's four-run first inning, Ryan Zimmerman padded the lead with a three-run double in the seventh and the first-place Nationals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 7-4 Friday night. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (1-0) won in his season debut. He gave up one run in three innings after taking over for Ross Detwiler in the fifth. The Nationals moved two games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. Ian Desmond had a two-run single in the Nationals' first inning. The Braves cut the lead to 4-3 before Zimmerman's bases-loaded double off Tim Hudson in the seventh. Jason Heyward homered in the eighth, Martin Prado had two doubles and a triple and Matt Diaz drove in three runs with two hits for the Braves. Atlanta has lost five straight, its longest streak of the season. Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his second save. Wang entered the game after Prado doubled and Detwiler walked Dan Uggla with one out. Wang gave up a two-run double to Diaz, who was thrown out going for a triple.

Wang allowed three hits and one run, on Heyward's homer, in three innings. A left hamstring injury in spring training kept Wang out this season before he came off the disabled list on Tuesday. The Nationals took a 4-0 lead off Hudson (3-2) in the first. Desmond's bouncing single up the middle drove in Bryce Harper, who singled, and Zimmerman, who doubled. Hudson hit Danny Espinosa with a pitch before giving up Ankiel's two-run triple to left-center. Hudson recovered with five scoreless innings. He retired the first two batters in the seventh before walking Wang, giving up a double to Steve Lombardozzi and a walk to Harper. Zimmerman's three-run double to center field gave the Nationals a 7-3 lead and knocked Hudson out of the game. Hudson gave up a season-high seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. The four runs he allowed in the first inning topped the three he gave up in his previous three starts. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones missed his seventh straight start with a bruised left calf. Brian McCann missed his fourth straight start with flulike symptoms but took over in the second inning after David Ross left the game because of a strained right groin. Ross grimaced after moving out of the way of ball four from Detwiler. Ross walked to first base before leaving the game. NOTES: OF Michael Morse, who has missed the first two months with an injured back muscle, is playing in extended spring training and is expected to begin a rehab stint at Class A Potomac on Monday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, wearing new contact lenses, was back in the lineup. He missed Thursday's game at Cincinnati due to vision problems caused by dryness in his eyes while wearing contacts. He also was fitted for new sports glasses on Friday. ... Nationals ace RHP Stephen Strasburg will face Braves struggling LHP Mike Minor when the series continues on Saturday. Scotty McCreery, the 2011 American Idol winner, will have a postgame concert.

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Trea Turner hits for the cycle despite freezing Colorado temperature

Trea Turner hits for the cycle despite freezing Colorado temperature

DENVER (AP) -- Trea Turner has hit for the third cycle in Washington Nationals history against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

Turner also has a career-high seven RBIs on a cold night in the Mile High City.

He had a single in the first, a two-run double in the second, a two-run homer in the sixth and a bases-loaded triple in the seventh.

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The field temperature was a balmy 37 degrees when Turner recorded the final part of his cycle in the seventh inning.

It was the first cycle by the Nationals since Cristian Guzman on Aug. 28, 2008.

Overall, this was the ninth cycle in Expos/Nationals history.

In addition, Turner's seven RBIs are tied for the second-most in a single game in Nationals history.

The Nationals hung on to beat the Rockies 15-12 after giving up seven runs in the final three innings.

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Bryce Harper named National League Player of the Week

Bryce Harper named National League Player of the Week

If you've understandably been caught up with the Capitals and Wizards in their respective playoff series, you might not be aware of just how hot Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is right now. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Mets in New York, Harper was named National League Player of the Week. 

For the whole week, Harper hit .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and 10 runs scored. 

He is now leading all of baseball in batting average (.400), he's tied for second in homers (7), and he's alone in second in RBI (20). He's also amassed a blistering 1.340 OPS through the team's first 18 games. 

Harper's biggest game of the past week came in Atlanta when he went yard twice, with his second homer being a grand slam. He finished the game 4-for-4 with two homers, one double, five RBI, one walk and four runs scored. 

With Harper's injuries from last season behind him (even though he won't completely admit to being hurt), the Nationals' right fielder is back to, or even better than, his 2015 form that ended with his first career MVP award. During that season Harper took home player of the week honors three times. 

The Nationals as a team have the best record in baseball at 13-5, and already have a three-game lead in the NL East. 

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