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Joe Ross cruises as Nationals top Brewers


Joe Ross cruises as Nationals top Brewers

FINAL: Nationals 6, Brewers 1

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals tried not to make too much of Friday night's unsightly loss to the Brewers, which came on the heels of a red-eye flight from Colorado following a long West Coast trip. The proof, though, would hinge on how they played in tonight's second game against Milwaukee. The answer: Well. Very well.

Joe Ross cruised over seven innings, allowing only one run in the rookie right-hander's latest impressive performance. And his teammates put together a quality performance at the plate against tough Brewers rookie Taylor Jungmann. Michael Taylor and Anthony Rendon each homered, and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each drove in runs to help pace a balanced attack and send the Nationals to one of their most complete victories in awhile.

With that, the Nats got themselves back to the .500 mark, with a chance to win their second consecutive series Sunday afternoon.


HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The offense in this one came not from the heart of the order but from the guys at the top and the bottom. Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon reached base a collective six times, while Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos and Michael Taylor totaled five hits and three RBI. The big rally came in the bottom of the fourth, with contributions from several of those guys. Ramos doubled home Espinosa with a rope into the left-field corner. Werth then singled home Ramos with a base hit back up the middle. And Rendon delivered a big, 2-out double down the left-field line that brough Taylor home and nearly brought Werth home (he was tagged out on a close play at the plate). Those kind of quality at-bats from five different players proved critical in this game.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: After back-to-back shaky outings on the West Coast, Ross was back to his old self in D.C. The rookie was efficient, kept the ball over the plate and kept damage to a minimum. Over seven strong innings, he scattered six hits, allowing only one run (Khris Davis' towering homer on a hanging slider). Here's the most-impressive fact about Ross to date: In nine of his 10 big-league starts, he has walked zero or one batter. That's incredibly uncommon for a rookie.

KEY STAT: Taylor Jungmann had pitched at least five innings in 12 of his 13 big-league starts to date before getting knocked out after four innings by the Nationals tonight.

UP NEXT: The series finale features Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.44) against struggling veteran right-hander Matt Garza (6-13, 4.98) at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.