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Jayson Werth homers, Gio Gonzalez sets tone as Nats sweep Phillies

Jayson Werth homers, Gio Gonzalez sets tone as Nats sweep Phillies

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

How it happened: Few things can cure a pitching staff's woes quite like playing the worst offense in all of baseball. Nats pitchers had taken their lumps in recent weeks, but through three games at the Philadelphia Phillies, order was restored. 

Nats starters dominated in all three outings to help recalibrate their bullpen. And now the Nats are back on track just in time for an off-day before they move on to New York to face the Mets.

On Wednesday night, it was Gio Gonzalez who carved up the Phillies. He went six innings with just one run allowed on two hits and a walk. The lone run he surrendered was a solo homer by Freddy Galvis.

Phillies starter Adam Morgan was also very good. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs on three hits. He gave up a solo homer to Jayson Werth and an RBI single to Wilson Ramos before he was pulled.

Werth also had a single for his 26th multi-hit game of the season. Anthony Rendon had two hits including a double, while Michael Taylor, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper went a combined 0-for-12. This was the first time that Harper hasn't reached base since he returned from his neck injury on Aug. 14.

After Gonzalez left the game, Blake Treinen took over to pitch 1 1/3 perfect innings. Mark Rzepczynski also tossed 1 1/3 and allowed a hit. Shawn Kelley then took over to get the final out of the ballgame.

The Nationals swept the Phillies for the third straight time. It was the Nationals' 9th sweep of the 2016 season. 

The Nats finished the month of August with a 17-11 record, the most wins in a single month for them so far this year. They won 16 games in April, May and June.

What it means: Washington has won 20 of their last 23 against NL East opponents and they don't play another team outside of their division until Sept. 23. With Wednesday's win, the Nats moved to 78-55 on the year. That's a 95-win pace.

Gio keeps rolling: Like Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark in the previous two nights before him, Gonzalez took advantage of a weak Phillies lineup to put in one of his best starts in a while. That was a welcomed change after Gonzalez had to go up against teams like the Rockies, Orioles, Indians, Giants and Dodgers for eight consecutive starts. Despite the tough competition of late, Gonzalez has been on quite the tear for weeks now. Over his last 11 starts he's got a strong 3.16 ERA across 62 2/3 innings. Gonzalez still has some work to do to drop his 4.14 season ERA, but 11 starts is not a small sample size. Gonzalez has been solid for two months now.

Werth hits No. 20: Another night, another homer for Werth, who now has four in his last six games. He had eight in August alone, which ties a career-high for homers in a month for him. This one was a 453-foot bomb to straightaway center field off Morgan, one that nearly took out a TV camera.

It was Werth's 20th homer of the season, the first time he's reached 20 since 2013 when he finished 13th in NL MVP voting. And by getting to 20, the Nats have five players with 20 homers or more. The others are Harper, Murphy, Ramos and Danny Espinosa. Only one other MLB team - the Orioles - also has five players with 20 or more bombs this season.

Ramos is heating up: Ramos spoke on Sunday about how having two days of rest prescribed by Dusty Baker had helped rejuvenate his swing and so far the results are backing up that premise. His RBI single on Wednesday gave him hits in all five games since he returned from his two-game layoff. He also has RBI in four of those five outings. The Buffalo saw his season average dip from .338 on Aug. 7 all the way to .312 on Aug. 27 in a span of just 15 games. But if he keeps swinging it like he has in recent days, that number will start to go back up.

Up next: The Nats finally have an off-day after playing 20 games in 20 days, a stretch that took a serious toll on their pitching staff in particular. On Friday night they get back to work in New York to start a three-game series at the Mets. First pitch in the opener is 7:10 p.m. with A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.97) set to go up against Cy Young candidate Noah Syndergaard (12-7, 2.55).

[RELATED: Turner on playing like a little kid, rest helped Ramos]

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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.