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Fister continues amazing stretch for Nats rotation

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Fister continues amazing stretch for Nats rotation

After the Nationals signed Max Scherzer in January, many predicted they would have one of the best starting rotations in recent baseball history. Then the season started and for months everyone not named Max dealt with either injuries or inconsistent results.

That was until this past week. With Doug Fister's seven shutout frames on Thursday against the Braves, the Nationals' starters now have a new franchise record with 41 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. It's the best run for any MLB rotation since the 2008 Cleveland Indians, who had 44 1/3 straight.

"Guys aren't really even paying attention to it," Fister said. "I think that's what makes it great. I really hadn't heard about it. Guys are going out there and taking it one out at a time, one inning at a time."

Scherzer is up next coming off a no-hitter and a one-hit, 16-strikeout performance, arguably the best two-start run in MLB history. And waiting for him is the Philadelphia Phillies, the lowest-scoring offense in baseball. The chances of their streak continuing seem to be very good.

"It's impressive. It just shows how good they are," Ian Desmond said. "On paper, they're good but being out here, if you guys are watching at home, don't take it for granted because this is a really special group of pitchers we have."

"It’s been as good as it gets," Clint Robinson added. "They’re just throwing up zero after zero, night after night and taking the pressure off the offense so we can go out there and put up some runs for them. When they don’t, they can’t win. So, they’re doing their job."

Fister allowed just four hits and a walk through seven scoreless innings on Thursday, his longest start of the 2015 season. That followed eight scoreless by Jordan Zimmermann, five by Stephen Strasburg, seven by Gio Gonzalez and, of course, nine by Scherzer. Rookie Joe Ross began the streak on Friday night by ending his start against Pittsburgh with 5 1/3 scoreless frames.

"I think it's a standard that every day as a starter you're job is to go out there and get 21 outs. Whatever it takes, get your 21 outs and give the club a chance to win," Fister said. "We don't waver from that. We like consistency. I think that's just a standard with all five of us. Whether it's 'you had a good outing, I want to have a good outing,' it's always a standard of let's play good baseball and give ourselves a chance to win."

Fister himself feels he's very close to being in midseason form after missing over a month with a right forearm strain.

"I think I've still got some building I need to do. I wanted to push myself today and skip let me go back out there in the seventh. That's huge for me is being to go back out there and prove to teammates and prove to myself that I can go out there and finish an inning. I hadn't done that this year, so that was a positive note for me personally," he said.

Wilson Ramos caught five of the six games during the Nationals' pitching streak. He was asked after Thursday's game if Scherzer can keep it going on Friday.

He grinned and gave a simple response: "We’ll see what happens."

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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.