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Bullpen picks Nats up after Ross' injury in win over Marlins


Bullpen picks Nats up after Ross' injury in win over Marlins

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night at Marlins Park:

How it happened: Sometimes contributions can come from the most unexpected places in a baseball lineup, and sometime they come from the places you most expect. For the Nationals on Wednesday it was the latter, with Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman leading the way with RBI doubles as the Nationals struck early against Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen and didn't look back. Their own starter, Joe Ross, left with an injury, but their bullpen - keyed by Yusmeiro Petit - held down the fort. Michael Taylor added his second homer of the season in the fourth inning, as the Nationals secured their 11th win with a 3-1 victory.

What it means: The Nationals now have a chance to win their third straight series, something that did not look likely until the seventh inning of Tuesday night's game. At 11-3, the Nats sit a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the best record in baseball. They will look to take three of four against Miami on Thursday before returning to Washington for a home stand beginning with the Minnesota Twins on Friday.

Harper, Zim a nice combo: Zimmerman's double came in the first inning and it was a rocket to left-center field off Chen. It scored Anthony Rendon all the way from first to put the Nats up 1-0, and it gave Zimmerman his fifth straight game with a hit. It was just his fourth RBI this season, which seems like a low number given his history and where he is hitting in the lineup. He does, though, have RBI in consecutive games with his homer on Tuesday. Harper's double gave him his 21st RBI of the season, which is an insane number through 14 games. That has him in the MLB lead by a longshot.

Petit picks them up: Petit was signed this winter for this exact reason. With Ross having left the game after just two innings with a blister on his right hand, Petit had no trouble stepping right in as the long reliever. He went four innings with just one run allowed to bridge the Nats to the seventh when Oliver Perez took over. Petit gave up that lone run on a solo homer to Derek Dietrich. That was just one of two hits he allowed. Petit struck out three and didn't walk anybody. The veteran right-hander was signed to fill the role Craig Stammen long thrived in, as a guy who can give you one inning or five, depending on the situation. On Wednesday, he certainly showed his value. Speaking of the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon again made it interesting in the ninth. He gave up a two out single to Christian Yelich, which brought up Giancarlo Stanton to represent the tying run. Stanton, though, struck out looking on a fastball for the final out.

Taylor homers amid slump: One swing alone won't get Taylor out of the woods or fix his batting average, but - like Zimmerman - the Nationals outfielder is starting to make better contact. On Wednesday, he clubbed his second homer of 2016 to center field on the first pitch he saw from Chen in the top of the fifth with two outs. The homer came after two straight games with doubles for Taylor. He's still below the Mendoza Line, but Taylor will take what he can get as he looks to regain his form from spring training.

Daily Daniel Murphy mention: With two singles in the win, Daniel Murphy extended his hit streak to 12 games on Wednesday night and now has at least one hit in 13 of the 14 games he's played this season. It was his eighth multi-hit game this season, which leads the majors. Signed this winter by the Nats, Murphy is batting .429, also best in MLB.

Werth also left the game: In addition to Ross leaving in the middle of Wednesday night's win, Jayson Werth was also replaced in the bottom of the fifth by Chris Heisey in left field. There has been no word on the reason, but it could have been just a simple defensive replacement.

Up next: The Nats play the series finale against Miami with a 1:10 p.m. start set for Thursday afternoon. Max Scherzer (2-0, 3.15) will take the mound for the Nats with right-hander - and Harper favorite - Tom Koehler (0-2, 6.30) pitching for the Marlins.

[RELATED: NL East: Marlins' Dee Gordon gets diamond pendant for batting title]

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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.