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Nationals bullpen blows two-run ninth-inning lead against Cubs, lose 5-4

Nationals bullpen blows two-run ninth-inning lead against Cubs, lose 5-4

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jon Jay hit a go-ahead two-run double during a three-run ninth-inning rally against Blake Treinen, lifting the Chicago Cubs over the Washington Nationals 5-4 on Thursday.

Tommy La Stella drove in a run with a two-out single against Treinen (0-2), and Jay followed with a hit to right-center that brought home Javier Baez and La Stella.

Wade Davis struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 16th save after Felix Pena (1-0) worked the eighth.

Rookie Jeimer Candelario, who started for the injured Kris Bryant at third base, broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh by launching his first career homer off starter Joe Ross.

Manager Dusty Baker was ejected for the first time in his two seasons with the Nationals after arguing a third-strike call in the sixth.

Washington took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on Anthony Rendon's two-run homer and Brian Goodwin's RBI single.

Candelario was hit by Treinen's fastball in the left knee to start the ninth-inning rally. Candelario appeared to be in significant pain and was visited by a team trainer, but stayed in the game. He went for an X-ray after the win.

The Nationals blew their 13th save this season, tying the Mets and Phillies for most in the National League. Six pitchers have at least one save for Washington, and four of them also have at least two blown saves.

The win split the four-game series and kept the defending World Series champions from falling under .500.

Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, is expected to miss at least a couple of games after spraining his right ankle in an 8-4 loss Wednesday.

Trea Turner stole two bases, bumping up his total to seven in the series and 35 on the season. He entered the day tied for the NL lead with Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton.

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras threw out two attempted base stealers, including Turner at third base in the first.

Both teams scored a single run in the first inning before the starting pitchers dominated.

Ross allowed two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. After allowing Contreras's RBI single in the first, Ross didn't allow a hit until the sixth or a run until Candelario's shot.

Cubs starter Jon Lester gave up Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single in the first, but then blanked Washington over the next five innings. He struck out seven and allowed three hits. Over his last four starts, Lester is 2-0 with 2.42 ERA. He entered with a 5.49 road ERA this season.

Nationals left fielder Ryan Raburn struck out swinging in the sixth, but replay showed he made contact with Lester's pitch. Baker argued with first base umpire David Rackley before his ejection.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said that with a day off Monday, he may let Bryant rest until Chicago hosts Tampa Bay Tuesday. ... SS Addison Russell (shoulder) batted fifth and finished 0 for 3 with a walk after not starting the previous three games.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-4, 2.50 ERA) makes his fifth start of the season as Chicago faces Cincinnati on Friday. The Cubs are 5-1 against the Reds in 2017.

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (6-5, 5.1.5) opens a three-game series Friday at St. Louis against RHP Mike Leake (5-6, 3.12).

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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USA Today Sports Images

Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.