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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Phillies 0

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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Phillies 0

Game in a nutshell: Perhaps needing a pick-me-up after two frustrating losses to the Phillies the last two nights, the Nationals got one late in the afternoon when they learned Jayson Werth would be activated off the disabled list and appear in his first game since he broke his left wrist May 6. Werth was solid in his return, roping a base hit in his first at-bat and adding an RBI groundout in his second.

But the real pick-me-up came from the left-hander on the mound: Ross Detwiler, who turned in seven scoreless innings to out-duel Cole Hamels and improve to 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA for the season. Adam LaRoche's 20th homer of the season (plus some well-timed defensive gaffes by the Phillies infield) provided all the run support Detwiler needed, and Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard closed out a much-needed victory to avoid a series sweep and maintain at least a 2 12-game lead over the Braves.

Hitting highlight: Remember those fears about a month ago that LaRoche's season was careening off the rails? Well, he's certainly gotten things back on track. Since June 30, the veteran first baseman is hitting .333 with five homers, six doubles and 16 RBI. With a three-hit performance tonight -- including a second-deck bomb in the second inning -- LaRoche raised his season average back to .271, his home run total to 20 and his RBI total to 64. Combined with his stellar defensive play and his calming clubhouse influence, he's been invaluable to this team.

Pitching highlight: Detwiler's night actually started off a bit shaky: He put six men on base over the first three innings and seemed to be playing with fire. He sure doused those flames in a hurry. The left-hander proceeded to retire the final 14 batters he faced in succession, getting stronger and more efficient as the night progressed. Detwiler ended the seventh inning with only 88 pitches and probably could've been sent back out for the eighth for only the second time in his career. But Davey Johnson decided to play it safe with his No. 5 starter, who now boasts a 2.55 ERA in seven starts since rejoining the Nationals' rotation.

Key stat: With only 26, the Nationals are tied with the Cubs for the fewest unearned runs allowed in the NL this season.

Up next: It's supposed to be a beautiful evening Friday, maybe they should play two! Actually, they will. John Lannan returns from Syracuse to face Marlins lefty Brad Hand at 4:05 p.m., then 25 minutes after the conclusion of that game, Gio Gonzalez and Josh Johnson take the mound for the nightcap of the single-admission doubleheader.

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.

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See hilarious highlights from Nats' Racing Presidents tryouts

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USA Today Sports Images

See hilarious highlights from Nats' Racing Presidents tryouts

Ever wonder how you can become one of the Washington Nationals' Racing Presidents or what it takes to get the job?

The team recently detailed the requirements and held tryouts on Sunday for the next group of presidents to carry on the 12-season tradition.

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While the basic requirements are pretty standard — be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, etc. — the specifics are quite unusual compared with a typical job. Among them, presidential candidates need to be at least 5-foot-7 but no taller than 6-foot-6 and able to run from centerfield to first base in a 50-pound costume. Needless to say, those who were invited to try out had to be in pretty good physical shape.

So in bitter cold temperatures, participants raced against each other in a 40-yard dash with the 50-pound costume on. They also danced.

Here are some of the highlights from Sunday’s Racing Presidents tryouts.

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