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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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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

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