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Bellinger hits 38th HR to help Dodgers beat Nationals 3-2

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Bellinger hits 38th HR to help Dodgers beat Nationals 3-2

WASHINGTON  -- Cody Bellinger hit his 38th homer to match the National League single-season record for rookies, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Saturday to inch closer to the NL West title.

Chase Utley had two doubles and scored twice to help the Dodgers reduce their magic number to win the division to five. Rich Hill and five relievers combined on a four-hitter.

Los Angeles also moved seven games ahead of Washington in the race to secure home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The Dodgers have won four straight since dropping 11 in a row.

Anthony Rendon homered for the Nationals, who have lost four of five since clinching the NL East last Sunday.

Bellinger hit a solo shot off A.J. Cole (2-5) in the second inning and added an RBI single in the third. Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1956) are the only other NL players to hit 38 in their first full season in the big leagues. The major league record is 49, by Mark McGwire.

Hill (10-8) allowed one hit in five innings, struck out seven and walked two. He had lost his previous four starts.

In the eighth, the Nationals closed to 3-2 and had the potential tying run on second with two outs. Daniel Murphy hit a sinking liner to right that was snared by a diving Yasiel Puig.

Kenley Jansen worked a perfect ninth for his 38th save.

Though Washington is assured a postseason berth, that doesn't mean winning isn't important.

"We're past celebrating. That's over," manager Dusty Baker said before the game. "I want to see some more energy. We've been roughed up pretty good this last week."

Bellinger put the Dodgers ahead for good with his second-inning drive and drove in Utley in the third. After Rendon went deep in the fourth, Utley doubled in the fifth and came home on a fly ball by Justin Turner.

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.

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See hilarious highlights from Nats' Racing Presidents tryouts

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USA Today Sports Images

See hilarious highlights from Nats' Racing Presidents tryouts

Ever wonder how you can become one of the Washington Nationals' Racing Presidents or what it takes to get the job?

The team recently detailed the requirements and held tryouts on Sunday for the next group of presidents to carry on the 12-season tradition.

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While the basic requirements are pretty standard — be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, etc. — the specifics are quite unusual compared with a typical job. Among them, presidential candidates need to be at least 5-foot-7 but no taller than 6-foot-6 and able to run from centerfield to first base in a 50-pound costume. Needless to say, those who were invited to try out had to be in pretty good physical shape.

So in bitter cold temperatures, participants raced against each other in a 40-yard dash with the 50-pound costume on. They also danced.

Here are some of the highlights from Sunday’s Racing Presidents tryouts.

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