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Harper hits 3-run HR as Nationals stay hot


Harper hits 3-run HR as Nationals stay hot

ATLANTA -- Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer and the quick-scoring Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 8-1 on Monday night for the first 4-0 start to a season in their Washington history.

Harper's second-inning shot off Sean Newcomb (0-1) to center field gave the Nationals a 5-0 lead. He also drew four walks and scored three runs.


For the fourth straight game as the road team, the Nationals scored in the first inning to give their starting pitcher a lead before his first pitch.

This time, the beneficiary was Tanner Roark (1-0), who allowed one run in seven innings. Roark gave up four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

Howie Kendrick's double to right field drove in Harper, who walked, in Washington's two-run first inning.

Newcomb's troubles continued in the second.

After Newcomb gave up singles to Pedro Severino and Anthony Rendon, Harper walked to the plate as stadium organist Matthew Kaminski played the somber "Imperial March." Braves fans chimed in with boos.

Harper crushed a first-pitch fastball. The homer landed in the decorative rocks behind the 400-foot marker on the center-field wall. He has three homers -- including two in Sunday's 6-5 win at Cincinnati -- and seven RBIs.

Newcomb allowed six runs, five earned, on five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, pitched three scoreless innings in relief to strengthen his bid for a spot in the rotation.

Freddie Freeman's single drove in Ender Inciarte, who singled and stole second, in the fourth.

Nationals pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin had a two-run single off Jose Ramirez in the ninth.



Nationals: C Matt Wieters was placed on the 10-day DL with a mild left oblique strain to address what is believed to be a short-term injury "rather than it becomes a big issue," according to manager Dave Martinez. Martinez plans to "mix and match" backups Miguel Montero and Severino, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game. ... 2B Daniel Murphy, on the DL following right knee surgery, was cleared for the first time to run in the outfield before the game.

Braves: The addition of C Carlos Perez allows manager Brian Snitker to be cautious with C Kurt Suzuki, still recovering from a bruised right hand. With Tyler Flowers (left oblique strain) expected to miss a few weeks, Perez will play behind Chris Stewart, who made his second straight start. ... LHP Luiz Gohara (left ankle sprain) threw two innings in a simulated game and had no problems with the ankle, according to Snitker.


Nationals: RHP A.J. Cole, who made his major league debut at Turner Field in a 13-12 win on April 28, 2015, will make his 2018 debut on Tuesday night.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran was 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts against the Nationals in 2017. He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia and did not receive a decision in his first start this season.

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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.

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Jones, Thome, Guerrero, Hoffman elected to baseball Hall of Fame

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Jones, Thome, Guerrero, Hoffman elected to baseball Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Designated hitter Edgar Martinez came close after a grass-roots campaign to boost him. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both tainted by the steroids scandal, edged up but again fell far short.

Jones and Thome made it 54 players elected in their first year of eligibility by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Jones drew 97.2 percent (410 of 422) in results announced Wednesday, and Thome was at 89.8 percent.

"It was waterworks," Jones said after hearing the vote.

Jones was an eight-time All-Star third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. The switch-hitter batted .303 with 468 home runs.

Jones was a force for most of the Atlanta teams that won 14 straight division titles -- his election puts another member of those Braves clubs in Cooperstown, along with pitchers John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz.

Thome hit 612 home runs, putting him eighth on the career list. The five-time All-Star played mostly for the Cleveland Indians.

Guerrero was elected in his second try, getting 92.9 percent. The nine-time All-Star slugger played half his career with the Montreal Expos. The outfielder was a notorious bad-ball hitter, batting .318 with 449 homers and 1,496 RBIs.

Hoffman was chosen in his third year, getting 79.9 percent after missing by just five votes last time. The former San Diego Padres closer had 601 saves, second to Mariano Rivera's 652.

It took 75 percent for election, or 317 votes. Martinez made a big move up to 70.4 percent and fell 20 votes short. Mike Mussina climbed to 63.5 percent.

Clemens, winner of 354 games and seven Cy Young Awards, got 57.3 percent after drawing 54.1 percent last time. Bonds, the career home run leader and a seven-time MVP, reached 56.4 percent, up from 53.8 percent.

Clemens and Bonds each have four tries left.

The four new members will be inducted on July 29 . They will be joined by Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell, who were picked last month by a committee that considered older players and executives.

Rivera heads the ballot next year, once again raising debate over whether any player will unanimously elected to the Hall. The late Roy Halladay also will be a first-time candidate.