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Harvey has worst game of career as Nats roll past Mets to win series

Harvey has worst game of career as Nats roll past Mets to win series

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 9-1 win over the New York Mets on Thursday night at Citi Field.

How it happened: Thursday was such a bad day for Matt Harvey that even Bryce Harper got a hit off him. 

After going hitless in his first 24 career plate appearances against the Mets pitcher, Harper finally broke that curse with a single in Thursday's Nationals win over New York. But that was just one of many blows against the one they call the Dark Knight of Gotham, as Harvey suffered the worst beating of his MLB career. The Nationals scored nine runs off Harvey, who exited in the third inning in what ultimately ended a 9-1 blowout win for Washington.

The Nationals continued their best start in team history by moving to 25-16. They have now won four of their last six against New York dating back to last season.

What it means: The Nationals have struck first by winning the first series against the Mets of 2016. The two teams will face each other again in just four days when the Mets come to Nationals Park for a three-game series beginning Monday. The second game of the series is set for a Strasburg vs. Harvey rematch, which could be interesting.

Harvey's worst day ever: Harvey had been struggling this season, but he hadn't experienced anything quite like this. It was the worst game of his career by several accounts. The nine runs - eight of them earned - were the most he's ever surrendered. It was also the shortest outing of his career at just 2 2/3 innings. Harvey began the day with an unsightly 4.93 ERA and then saw that number balloon to 5.77. Harvey gave up eight hits, walked two batters and served up a first inning homer to former teammate Daniel Murphy. It was an overall disaster for Harvey and one that earned him some boos from the Mets faithful. Murphy, by the way, now has six homers in 40 games this season. It took him 75 games to reach that mark in 2015.

Strasburg carves again: Harvey may have had a terrible night, but Stephen Strasburg was once again dominant for the Nats. He went six innings with one run allowed, one walk and 10 strikeouts. It was the 25th double digit strikeout game of his career and his fourth this season. Only two pitchers have had more double digit strikeout games since Strasburg debuted in 2010: Clayton Kershaw (44) and Madison Bumgarner (27). Strasburg since returning from the disabled list last July now holds a 2.20 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched across 22 starts. That's Cy Young-level stuff. The Nats have won each of Strasburg's last 13 starts, which is a new franchise record.

Nats set a record in the third inning: Harvey was bounced in the top of the third as the Nats posted seven runs in the frame to set a team record for runs in an inning against the Mets. The Expos did that five times in matchups with New York, but this is a first for the Nats. It was also the first time this season the Nats have sent 11 batters to the plate in one frame. One run came home on a groundball by Ryan Zimmerman that Asdrubal Cabrera botched at shortstop for an E6. Two more came home on an Anthony Rendon double. Another two scored on a single by Wilson Ramos. And two more were pushed across on a Ben Revere triple, his second hit of the inning. All of those came before Harvey was replaced by reliever Logan Verrett. The two hits Revere had in the third equaled the total he put up in his previous eight games combined (35 ABs).

Rendon's Renaissance continues: The results since manager Dusty Baker pushed Rendon down to sixth in the lineup have been excellent so far. The Nats third baseman went 3-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBI on Thursday. Since moving to the sixth spot, Rendon is 6-for-13 (.462) with four RBI, three runs and three walks.

Harper breaks slump vs. Harvey: The reigning NL MVP entered Thursday night hitless in 23 plate appearances against Harvey, but landed a single in his second at-bat to break that slide. Harper then stole second base for his seventh steal of the season. That surpasses his totals from both 2014 and 2015 when he posted six in each of those years. Harper is currently on pace to steal 28 bases this season.

What's next: The Nats move on to face the Marlins in Miami starting with a 7:10 p.m. first pitch on Friday night. The opener will pit Tanner Roark (2-3, 3.10) against lefty Justin Nicolino (2-1, 3.75) in the 12th matchup already this season between the two teams.

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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.