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Nationals can't figure out Rockies' Marquez, lose 4-2

Nationals can't figure out Rockies' Marquez, lose 4-2

WASHINGTON -- German Marquez is rolling along quite nicely for the Colorado Rockies. Just ask Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals.

Marquez carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, Trevor Story homered and Colorado beat Washington 4-2 on Saturday night in a matchup of playoff contenders.

Marquez (9-4) set down his first 16 batters before allowing three hits in a span of four hitters in the sixth inning. The right-hander struck out a career-high 10 while allowing two runs and three hits over seven innings in his 20th career start.

"That's a really special performance when you take a perfecto into the sixth inning," Colorado manager Bud Black said.

Pat Neshek, who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on Wednesday, pitched a perfect eighth in his Rockies debut. Greg Holland, who was activated from the paternity list Saturday, completed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 32nd save in 33 tries.

Marquez won his fourth consecutive start. He also joined teammates Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela as the only rookies in the majors with at least nine victories this season.

"He had great stuff going tonight," Nationals catcher Matt Wieters said. "He had a curveball that was really sharp. It was tough. He was able to throw it for strikes early and then throw a hard one below. He got rolling there the first time through the lineup."

Harper went 0 for 4 to end his 19-game hitting streak. Tanner Roark (8-7) labored through five innings, allowing four runs and five hits with four walks.

"He was wild wide off the plate," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "Every time he tried to go away, it'd be off the plate."

Story hit a two-run drive to right-center in the second for his 15th homer this season. Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds added consecutive RBI doubles in the fifth.

Marquez struck out Adam Lind to open the sixth. Wieters then poked a single to left to break up Marquez's bid for a perfect game and pinch hitter Howie Kendrick, making his Washington debut a day after he was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, doubled.

Wilmer Difo got Washington on the board with a two-run single, but Harper struck out to end the threat.

Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Lind, the Nationals' Nos. 3-7 hitters, each entered the night hitting at least .317. They combined to go 0 for 16.

"To hold this lineup that they have to what he did tonight, he obviously had electric stuff throwing 98, 99," Reynolds said. "He was dotting his slider and curveball and threw his changeup when he had to. He was impressive."

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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.