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A brief look at some of Nationals Park's quirks

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A brief look at some of Nationals Park's quirks

WASHINGTON (AP) Game 3 of the NL division series between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon will be the first time the nation's capital has hosted Major League Baseball postseason action since 1933, when the Senators lost to the New York Giants in the World Series.

Here are some facts and figures - and some quirks - about Nationals Park:

- Opened in 2008, the Nationals' fourth season in Washington.

- In the stadium's regular-season debut, on March 30, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a game-ending solo shot with two outs in the ninth inning to beat the Atlanta Braves, only the third walkoff homer in the first game at a ballpark.

- After averaging about 22,000 fans a game - only a little more than half of the stadium's capacity - in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the Nationals drew an average of 30,010 this year. Winning helps, of course. ``You could tell, early on, that it was almost more of a social gathering. Come out, nothing else to do. `We'll go hang out at the park.' Now it's turned into like some die-hard fans,'' first baseman Adam LaRoche said. ``People probably skipping work and skipping school to come see the Nats. And our last few regular-season home games, I think were about as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can get.''

- Dimensions: 336 feet down the left-field line, 377 feet in left-center, 402 feet in straightaway center, 370 feet in right-center, 335 feet in down the right-field line.

- Odd left field ground rule: There are two vertical yellow lines painted in the left-field corner - one extends down from the foul pole to the ground, as is usually the case, and the other is only a couple of feet long, down a wall that juts in behind the main outfield wall. If a ball lands in fair territory and bounces between the two lines, it results in a ground-rule double. But if a ball lands in fair territory and bounces on or to the left of the extra line that sits in foul territory, that ball is in play. Asked about that oddity, Nationals left fielder Michael Morse said it was news to him.

- Sun Monster: After a September day game when Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper and right fielder Jayson Werth each misplayed a ball in the sun, 19-year-old Harper said the ``Sun Monster'' was to blame. Sure enough, the next day, an opponent flubbed a ball hit by Werth for the same reason. Werth said it ``borders on ridiculous. I've never seen anything like it. You almost don't have a chance out there as the game goes on.'' That second game, on Sept. 24, began at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday's game is scheduled to start at 1:07 p.m.

- Presidents Race: Yes, the Nationals will have their mascot race during the fourth inning. A bit of suspense is gone now, though, because Teddy Roosevelt finally won in Washington's final regular-season game on Oct. 3 - his only victory since the fourth-inning ``contest'' involving 10-foot foam renderings began in 2006.

- A-ha Moment: One of the songs played in later innings before Morse's at-bats is ``Take on Me,'' a 1980s hit from the Norwegian group A-ha, and the crowd really gets into it. They know the lyrics well - ``Take on me, take me on. I'll be gone, in a day or two'' - and always stretch out that final word, and its high-octave conclusion, for several seconds. Asked what he expects Wednesday, Morse smiled and replied: ``It'll be magical. I know it will be.''

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.