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Max Scherzer overpowers Giancarlo Stanton in first return since neck injury

Max Scherzer overpowers Giancarlo Stanton in first return since neck injury

WASHINGTON -- A one-sided win for the Washington Nationals still included two impressive comebacks.

Max Scherzer overpowered Giancarlo Stanton in his return from a neck injury, Jayson Werth homered in his first game since June and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 11-2 on Monday night.

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Scherzer (13-5) allowed one run and five hits, including Christian Yelich's home run, and had 10 strikeouts in his first start since Aug. 13.

Jayson Werth returned from a foot contusion he suffered on June 5 and had a two-run homer off Jose Urena (12-6).

"It was a great comeback," Nationals manager said of Werth. "You couldn't have drawn it up any better than that."

Scherzer's game plan worked spectacularly against Stanton, who on Monday was named NL Player of the Week for the second time this month. One day after becoming the first NL player to hit 50 home runs in a season since Prince Fielder in 2007, the slugger went 0 for 3 against Scherzer with two strikeouts and a double-play grounder.

Howie Kendrick hit a three-run triple, and Matt Wieters added a two-run single in the decisive sixth for an 11-1 lead as Washington halted Miami's four-game winning streak.

The Marlins have won 13 of 17, with the four losses by an average of 7.25 runs.

"It was just one of those games for us," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of us bouncing back. Our last few losses have been just like this, it seems like."

Stanton batted .448 (13 for 29) with five homers and 11 RBIs last week.

"He can take you deep at any moment, but you can't really worry about that," Scherzer said. "You have to have the belief that you can make pitches and get him out."

The two-time Cy Young award winner missed two starts with inflammation in the left side of his neck. Scherzer threw 100 pitches, struck out at least 10 batters for the 14th time this season and lowered his ERA against the Marlins to 1.17 over four starts.

Werth, 38, missed 75 games after fouling a ball off his foot at Oakland. He was activated Monday from the 60-day DL following a six-game rehab assignment. His blast in the fourth put Washington up 4-1 after Miami scored in the top half of the inning on Yelich's homer.

Werth later singled as Washington loaded the bases in the sixth against reliever Dustin McGowan. All three scored after Yelich misplayed Kendrick's sinking liner and the ball scooted to the wall.

Urena threw 94 pitches in four innings, allowing four runs and five hits with three walks. The right-hander was 3-0 with 2.95 ERA in four previous starts this month.

Miami entered the series 4 1/2 games behind Colorado for the second wild card spot.

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.