Bryce Harper

MLB Playoffs: Harper, Zimmerman HRs lift Nats past Cubs to even NLDS

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MLB Playoffs: Harper, Zimmerman HRs lift Nats past Cubs to even NLDS

WASHINGTON — Things were looking bleak for the Washington Nationals and their dormant offense until Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman took over.

Harper hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Zimmerman tacked on a three-run shot moments later to lift the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 comeback victory over the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Saturday, evening their NL Division Series at a game apiece.

The Nationals were in serious danger of falling behind 2-0 in the series, entering the eighth trailing 3-1 after losing 3-0 in Game 1. But after accumulating four hits through the first 16 innings of the postseason, NL East champion Washington broke out with five runs and four hits, led by 2015 NL MVP Harper and longtime face of the franchise Zimmerman.

"I was kind of bewildered, because it's not too many teams or pitchers that have held us in check like that for a couple days," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "I just knew in the bottom of my heart that we were going to explode for some numbers, which we've done all year."

The NLDS moves to Wrigley Field for Game 3 on Monday. The Cubs will have Jose Quintana on the mound and the Nationals counter with two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who was pushed back in the rotation because of an injured right hamstring (see full recap).  

Puig powers Dodgers to 8-5 win over D-backs, 2-0 series lead
LOS ANGELES —Yasiel Puig had three hits and drove in two runs, Austin Barnes added a key two-run double and the Los Angeles Dodgers used another relentless offensive performance to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their NL Division Series.

Logan Forsythe had three hits and Kenley Jansen earned a flawless five-out save for the 104-win Dodgers, who have made their mediocre pitching irrelevant by pounding out 17 runs and 24 hits in the first two games against their NL West rival.

Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Brandon Drury added a pinch-hit, three-run shot in the seventh, but the Diamondbacks are on the brink of elimination after Robbie Ray and reliever Jimmie Sherfy couldn't contain the Dodgers' lineup.

Game 3 is Monday at Chase Field.

Tonight's lineup: J.P. Crawford back at 3B; Bryce Harper returns for Nats

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Tonight's lineup: J.P. Crawford back at 3B; Bryce Harper returns for Nats

The Phillies will look to even their series against the Washington Nationals and Gio Gonzalez in Game 2 of the set Tuesday after losing, 3-1, on Monday.

Nationals superstar Bryce Harper makes his return to the lineup after suffering a hyperextended left knee on Aug. 12. Harper was supposed to return to the lineup Monday night but was unable to play because of an illness.

For the Phillies, J.P. Crawford enters at third base after sitting Monday, and Tommy Joseph returns to the lineup at first, moving Rhys Hoskins back to left field.

Cameron Rupp takes over the catching duties with pitcher Jake Thompson on the mound.

Here's the Phillies' lineup that will oppose Gonzalez:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. J.P. Crawford, 3B
9. Jake Thompson, P

And for Washington:

1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Bryce Harper, RF
3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
5. Howie Kendrick, 2B
6. Jayson Werth, LF
7. Michael A. Taylor, CF
8. Matt Wieters, CF
9. Gio Gonzalez, P

MLB Notes: Bryce Harper has deep bone bruise; Nationals hope for return this year

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MLB Notes: Bryce Harper has deep bone bruise; Nationals hope for return this year

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals say Bryce Harper has a "significant" bone bruise in his left knee but no ligament damage, and general manager Mike Rizzo is hopeful the star outfielder will be back this season.

Harper injured his knee when he slipped on first base in the first inning of a rain-delayed game against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night. Rizzo said Sunday that Harper had an MRI afterward that showed no structural damage.

"Although we feel we've dodged a bullet a bit here with any long-term ligament and tendon damage, the bone bruise is something of significance, and we're going to treat him cautiously and hopefully have him back later on this season," Rizzo said. "We put ourselves in a position that we can treat it cautiously and we'll continue down that road."

Rizzo says there's no timetable for Harper to return. The team is placing him on the 10-day disabled list and activating outfielder Michael Taylor.

Harper, the 2015 National League MVP, is having another spectacular season for division-leading Washington, hitting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs.

Rizzo -- and anyone watching the play -- feared it was a serious, potentially season-ending injury. Harper clutched at his left knee and didn't put any weight on it as he was helped off the field.

"We were all holding our breath last night a little bit and hoping for the best," Rizzo said. "Got a glimmer of hope last night when he was able to walk up the stairs from the dugout to the clubhouse and put some weight on it. Had some optimism."

Rizzo cautioned that "the bone bruise is real" and that the team has the luxury of being extra cautious because of its 14-game lead in the NL East. Given injuries to Harper, Stephen Strasburg -- who has a rehab assignment Monday -- and others, the Nationals' focus is getting healthy for the playoffs.

Rockies: Bettis to return after cancer diagnosis
MIAMI  -- Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis will complete his comeback from chemotherapy for testicular cancer by starting Monday night's game in Denver against Atlanta.

The 28-year-old Bettis finished his last round of treatment in May, two months after doctors discovered his testicular cancer had spread. He had surgery in November to remove the cancer, but it returned and he was forced to leave the team in March for chemotherapy.

The Rockies announced before their game Sunday at Miami that Bettis will rejoin the rotation.

"To see where he was when he was re-diagnosed, it was hard for us, because he was a big part of our team," manager Bud Black said. "To see him go through what he has had to go through, and to see him work his butt off -- a guy who had chemotherapy, and how that feels -- to where he is now, what a great story for all of us. It has been just wonderful to watch."

The game will be Bettis' first since Sept. 30. He went 14-8 for the Rockies last year.

Marlins: Michael Jordan to have small stake in team after sale
MIAMI -- A person familiar with the situation says NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has a small stake in Derek Jeter's investment group that reached an agreement to buy the Miami Marlins.

The person confirmed Jordan's role to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the parties involved have not commented.

Jordan already owns the NBA Charlotte Hornets. He and Jeter have known each other for more than 20 years and are close friends.

A signed $1.2 billion agreement was submitted Saturday to Major League Baseball for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to sell the franchise to a group that includes Jeter, the former New York Yankees captain. Venture capitalist Bruce Sherman of Naples, Florida would be the controlling owner.

The Marlins expect to close the deal in early October.