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Braves hand Nationals their third loss in a row

Braves hand Nationals their third loss in a row

ATLANTA -- Nick Markakis hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning and Kurt Suzuki added a two-run homer to give the Atlanta Braves a 7-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

With one out in the eighth, Enny Romero (2-2) walked Brandon Phillips, who then stole second base. Markakis lined a single and Phillips scored on a head-first slide as right fielder Bryce Harper's throw skipped past Matt Wieters.

Suzuki drove in three runs on two hits, including an RBI double off Gio Gonzalez in the fifth for a 4-all tie.

Arodys Vizcaino (2-1) recorded three straight outs, two on strikeouts, in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer off Gonzalez in the second. Jace Peterson, making only his second career start at first base, missed Harper's grounder in the third for a fielding error that allowed two runs to score, giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Trea Turner had a run-scoring single earlier in the inning.

Peterson is playing the position after Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman was injured earlier this week.

Atlanta's Matt Kemp hit his seventh homer in the third. Washington's Daniel Murphy led off the fourth with his eighth homer off R.A. Dickey.

The Braves couldn't take advantage of a chance to take the lead in the sixth. Swanson led off with a double by beating out Jayson Werth's weak throw from left field. Swanson was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Michael Taylor on Ender Inciarte's single.

Shawn Kelley walked Peterson and Swanson to load the bases in the seventh but struck out pinch hitter Rio Ruiz to end the inning.

Gonzalez gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Dickey allowed four runs, two earned, on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer pointed to his left knee and said "It's unbelievable, I don't even have a mark." A line drive hit by Philadelphia's Michael Saunders hit Scherzer on the knee in Sunday's game. Scherzer fell to the ground but recovered to last two more innings and is set to start the second game of the series on Saturday.

Braves: Manager Brian Snitker said he would be "real surprised" if 3B Adonis Garcia (left Achilles tendon tendinitis) doesn't come off the 10-day DL when eligible next week.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Scherzer (4-2) is 5-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts against the Braves since the start of 2016. The Nationals are 6-0 in those starts.

Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-4), who has allowed five or more earned runs in four of eight starts, will take an ugly 6.80 ERA into the game against Washington.

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

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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.