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Cole pitches Pirates past Nationals 3-1


Cole pitches Pirates past Nationals 3-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Gregory Polanco got Gerrit Cole on track, and the ace right-hander took over from there.

Cole became the majors' first 14-game winner, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Cole (14-4) allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings while improving to 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in four July starts. The right-hander struck out eight and walked none.

He also became the first Pittsburgh pitcher with 14 wins before August since Dock Ellis in 1971.

"It's been a collective effort to get the wins where they are," Cole said.

Cole got a big assist from Polanco in the first after he left a pitch up to Bryce Harper and the All-Star lined it to the wall in right. Polanco fielded the ball as it caromed off the wall, and then sent a laser to second base that beat Harper and ended the inning.

"He did an excellent job of cleaning up that mistake and it just kind of set the tone," Cole said. "We were going to play crisp defense, we were going to come at you and it was a nice way to start the game off."

Danny Espinosa chased Cole with a single that put two runners on for Harper, who grounded out against left-hander Tony Watson. Mark Melancon picked up his major league-best 32nd save with a scoreless ninth.

"We had the opportunity but it just didn't work out," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

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Michael Taylor put Washington in front with a two-out homer in the third, but Pittsburgh responded with two runs in the bottom half. Polanco and Andrew McCutchen each had an RBI single against Joe Ross (2-3).

Neil Walker led off the fourth with his ninth home run, extending Pittsburgh's lead to 3-1.

Ross retired nine in a row before Matt Thornton relieved him in the seventh. He struck out seven and allowed five hits.

"I felt pretty good," Ross said. "The guys behind me played great. They put the ball in play off me and our guys made the plays behind me."

Pittsburgh set a PNC Park four-date attendance record by drawing 151,952 fans during the series against NL East-leading Washington.


When Watson faced Harper in the eighth, the slugger grounded a 1-2 pitch sharply to the right side between Walker and first baseman Sean Rodriguez.

Rodriguez stepped to his right and flashed his glove up high as the ball took a sharp hop. He then tossed to Watson covering first for the out.

"The last play might be a play only Rodriguez can make," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "To lay out, the wicked hop at the end, stay with it, and Watson's so athletic you know he's going to be there."


Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon was out of the lineup after he started Saturday in his first game back from a left quad strain. He singled as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Rendon played in 18 of 19 games before he suffered the injury, which followed a left knee sprain that delayed the start of his season until June 4. The Nationals plan to limit his workload as he progresses back to playing every day.


Nationals: Washington enters the second leg of its 10-game road trip with a three-game slate in Miami. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30 ERA) opens the series against Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77 ERA).

MORE NATIONALS: Nats promote top prospect Giolito to Class AA

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.