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Instant Analysis: Brewers 4, Nats 2


Instant Analysis: Brewers 4, Nats 2

Game in a nutshell: Two innings into this one, it looked like we might be in for a slugfest. Adam LaRoche launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the first off Shaun Marcum. Jonathan Lucroy then responded with a solo homer in the top of the second off Edwin Jackson. Long night for the pitching staffs? Actually, no. Both Jackson and Marcum dominated after that, with Jackson getting the edge thanks in no small part to some stellar defense behind him. Bryce Harper nailed Ryan Braun at the plate with a perfect throw in the top of the fourth. Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond combined to turn a nifty, 4-6-3 double play moments later to end that inning. And Jesus Flores made perhaps his best throw of the year to catch Jean Segura trying to steal second in the top of the eighth, capping a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play that brought a roar from the crowd of 30,382. Those roars, though, turned to boos in the ninth inning when Tyler Clippard (whose hold on the closer's job was already tenuous) blew his fifth save of the year, letting the Brewers rally to score the tying run, the go-ahead run and an insurance run in stunning fashion. The Nationals couldn't rally in the bottom of the ninth, so they wound up suffering one of their more frustrating losses of the season. On the bright side, the Braves lost in Philadelphia, so the Nationals' lead in the NL East remains 5 12 games and their magic number to clinch the division title is down to 7.

Hitting highlight: They got the early blast from LaRoche, and little did the Nationals know they wouldn't get anything else the rest of the night. Good thing LaRoche got a hold of a changeup from Marcum in the bottom of the first inning and crushed it off the back wall of the right-field bullpen. Even better that Ryan Zimmerman was on base at the time, making it a 2-run blast. That gives LaRoche 31 homers for the season (one shy of his career high) and 96 RBI for the season (four shy of his career high).

Pitching lowlight: When Davey Johnson revealed this afternoon he planned to divide save opportunities between Clippard and Drew Storen, you had to wonder how Clippard would respond. Johnson wasted no time giving him another opportunity, handing him a 2-1 lead in the ninth. It wasn't really Clippard's fault he got into quick trouble: Norichika Aoki put down a perfect bunt to open the inning, then took second on Flores' passed ball. But what happened after that was Clippard's fault. Braun singled home the tying run. Aramis Ramirez doubled home the go-ahead run. Throw in a wild pitch for good measure, and Clippard stunningly was given the hook in mid-inning and booed as he walked back to the dugout.

Key stat: Nationals pitchers who have won 10 or more games in a season: Livan Hernandez (15 in 2005, 10 in 2010), Esteban Loaiza (12 in 2005), Ramon Ortiz (11 in 2006), Tim Redding (10 in 2008), Tyler Clippard (11 in 2010), John Lannan (10 in 2011), Gio Gonzalez (19 in 2012), Stephen Strasburg (15 in 2012), Jordan Zimmermann (11 in 2012) and Ross Detwiler (10 in 2012).

Up next: The series continues with a Saturday matinee at Nationals Park. Gio Gonzalez will once again be in search of his 20th win when he faces right-hander Wily Peralta at 1:05 p.m.

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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.