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Nationals-Cardinals Preview

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Nationals-Cardinals Preview

The Washington Nationals hardly looked like postseason newcomers while grinding out a close win over the defending World Series champions.

The Nationals now seek to head home with a commanding lead in their NL division series, and Jordan Zimmermann will try to help by overcoming a rocky history against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 on Monday.

Making the franchise's second playoff appearance and first since 1981, Washington calmly rallied for a 3-2 victory Sunday. The Nationals shut out the Cardinals after the second inning and worked their way out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the seventh before Tyler Moore drove in the tying and go-ahead runs on a two-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth.

"Not many people have probably watched too many Nationals games, but we have a great starting rotation and a great bullpen," said shortstop Ian Desmond, who had three singles and scored a run. "They keep us in the ballgame and some timely hits from this kid, and the rest of the guys coming off the bench, that's really been the formula."

Washington will try to head into the first postseason game in the nation's capital since 1933 with a 2-0 lead in the series, and Zimmermann (12-8, 2.94 ERA) is looking to aid that cause by avoiding another miserable performance against St. Louis. He's 0-2 with a 9.12 ERA in five career matchups with the Cardinals, easily his worst showing against any opponent.

St. Louis tagged Zimmermann for a career-high eight runs over a season-low 3 2-3 innings Sept. 1 in Washington, although the right-hander was better at Busch Stadium in his final regular-season start Sept. 29, allowing three runs over 6 1-3 innings in the Nationals' 6-4, 10-inning victory.

The hitters on the Cardinals' playoff roster are a combined 26 for 69 (.377) against him with Yadier Molina going 5 for 11.

"It's going to be tough to shut them completely down," Zimmermann told the Nationals' official website. "They are going to get their runs, but you've just got to keep it to a minimum and try to get out of jams as best you can when you're in a tight spot."

While Zimmermann, who went 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA over his final five starts, will be making his postseason debut, Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92) will pitch in his sixth playoff game since the beginning of last October. He went 0-2 with a 4.21 ERA in five starts during the Cardinals' championship run, but the worst of those came on the road and he allowed only six runs over 21 2-3 innings in St. Louis.

"It definitely helps a little bit because you've been out there in a situation like we are right now," he said. "You take what you learned from last year, but you know, I'm just going to try to do the same thing that I try to do every time I go out there. I just give my best and give my team a chance to win. That's all I basically worry about."

Like Zimmermann, Garcia also ended the regular season with some momentum, prevailing in three straight starts and putting up a 2.10 ERA over his final four. He's 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his last four home outings.

Garcia, though, gave up six runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings in his only matchup with Washington this season Aug. 30. The left-hander's start at Nationals Park was his third following a stint on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained throwing shoulder.

"It's one of those things where they had a really good lineup and a really good team, and made a couple mistakes and paid the consequences," he said.

Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse have four hits apiece off Garcia, going a combined 16 for 40 (.400).

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.