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Adrian Sanchez gets hit in chest, still drives in 3 runs as Nationals beat Mets

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Adrian Sanchez gets hit in chest, still drives in 3 runs as Nationals beat Mets

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a decade in the minors, not even a body blow from a hard-thrown baseball was going to keep Adrian Sanchez from taking another swing.

Sanchez shrugged off a 96 mph sinker to the chest and delivered an RBI single to cap off his impressive performance as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 9-4 on Saturday. The rookie from Venezuela drove in three runs and made a big defensive play to help Gio Gonzalez get the final out of the seventh inning in a game that featured mostly reserves for both teams.

When a pitch from Mets reliever Jeurys Familia struck Sanchez squarely in the chest as he tried to bunt in the eighth, the 27-year-old remained on the ground for several minutes. Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Sanchez wanted to stay in the game and continue the at-bat and was glad to see him deliver for an important insurance run.

"I would've had to bring a truck to pull him off the field because he wanted that at-bat," Baker said of Sanchez, who wasn't available for interviews because he was still getting tests. "That picked our team up and it brought the house down, too, because everybody here loves Sanchy and we're all pulling for him big-time."

Sanchez was a big part of Washington's production against New York starter Robert Gsellman (5-6), who allowed six runs (two earned) on nine hits in four innings and was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas afterward. Gsellman's own fielding error made his numbers look better but put the Mets in a hole.

Gonzalez (13-5) allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out two in 6 2/3 innings and earned a standing ovation from the crowd as he departed. His only blemishes came on Juan Lagares' RBI single in the third that scored Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores' 16th home run in the sixth.

"It's just trying to lock it in, stay focused, try not to get out of my game and try to do too much," Gonzalez said. "Every time I go out there I want to try to go deep in the game and save as much arm in the bullpen as possible."

With only one player starting who was in their opening day lineup, the Nationals also got two RBIs from Adam Lind and a big day from center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who went 3 for 4 with his sixth outfield assist and 11th stolen base of the season.

FAMILIA RETURNS

In his first appearance since May 10 after surgery to repair a blood clot in his right arm, Familia allowed three runs on four hits in a rough eighth inning. Mets manager Terry Collins, who wanted to ease Familia back in a non-save situation, called the right-hander "rusty."

"What's the proper rehab? Nobody knows, be it five innings or five appearances or whatever it might be, there's no guarantees," Collins said. "It just tells you how hard this league is."

Familia said he "tried too much" and didn't have his command. He added that his arm feels 100 percent and he expects to be OK after two more outings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes went on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring and will be examined Monday in New York. ... David Wright (cervical disk herniation) played five innings at third base for Class A St. Lucie and went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. ... RHP Matt Harvey (shoulder) tossed 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton at Portland, allowing five runs (three earned) and five hits. He struck out two, walked one and threw 47 of 72 pitches for strikes. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn lat muscle) threw batting practice in Florida.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was out again after injuring his triceps muscle on a headfirst slide Thursday. Baker expects Zimmerman to play one game during Sunday's doubleheader. ... SS Trea Turner (broken right wrist) and OF Jayson Werth (bruised left foot) continued rehab assignments with Class A Potomac and are close to returning.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 5.61 ERA) makes his second career start against Mets LHP Tommy Milone (1-3, 8.12) in the day game of the split doubleheader. With ace Max Scherzer pushed back to pitch Monday, Washington will start RHP Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.64 ERA) in the night game against RHP Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.85), who has been out with a shoulder injury.

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.