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Daniel Murphy lifts Nationals to walk off win over Braves

Daniel Murphy lifts Nationals to walk off win over Braves

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's one-out RBI single in the 10th inning capped the Washington Nationals' 5-4 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Adrian Sanchez led off the 10th against Ian Krol (1-2) with his first major league hit and two batters later moved to third on Ryan Zimmerman's single. Murphy then lofted an opposite-field single over left fielder Matt Kemp's head to win it for Washington.

Matt Albers (5-1) induced Kemp's double play grounder to end the 10th to help the Nationals escape a two-on jam.

Washington extended its lead in the NL East to 9 1/2 games over Atlanta.

Trailing 4-1 and facing Braves closer Jim Johnson, the Nationals opened the ninth with a single by Bryce Harper and a walk to Zimmerman. Murphy's single to right scored a run, and Anthony Rendon then lofted an RBI single to right.

An out later and with Matt Wieters at bat, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker was ejected for arguing a checked swing. It was his third ejection of the season.

Wieters hit a sacrifice fly to score Zimmerman, and shortstop Wilmer Difo then singled in Murphy to tie it. It was Johnson's seventh blown save of the season.

Atlanta starter R.A. Dickey retired his first 10 hitters and took a no-hitter into the sixth before shortstop Stephen Drew broke it up with a leadoff double. The knuckleballer gave up a run and three hits while striking out seven in seven innings. In four starts since yielding eight runs in five innings on June 13 during a loss at Washington, he is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings.

Washington's Max Scherzer set down the first nine batters he faced and struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings while allowing four runs. It was the eighth time in nine starts and the 11th time this season Scherzer recorded 10 or more strikeouts, and he leads the NL with 173 strikeouts.

Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs for Atlanta. The solo shot in the seventh was the first homer since May 16 for Freeman, who returned from the disabled list Tuesday after missing 44 games with a fractured wrist.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: IF/OF Danny Santana (bacterial infection) was placed on the 10-day DL and the team recalled IF/OF Jace Peterson from Triple-A Gwinnett. Santana was hitting .230 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 42 games with the Braves. Peterson returns to Atlanta three days after being optioned to Gwinnett.

Nationals: Washington activated OF Chris Heisey (ruptured right biceps) from the DL after missing 40 games. He is hitting .128 with a homer and three RBIs this season. He replaces OF Michael A. Taylor, who went on the 10-day DL with a right oblique strain. . The Nationals signed LHP Seth Romero, their first-round draft pick. The former University of Houston pitcher's deal includes a signing bonus of $2.8 million.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (6-6, 5.14 ERA) seeks his first victory since allowing two runs in seven innings at Washington on June 14. He is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts since that win.

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-2, 3.28 ERA) makes his final start before the All-Star break for Washington.

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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.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.