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Nationals fall to Braves following ridiculously long rain delay

Nationals fall to Braves following ridiculously long rain delay

The Washington Nationals told their fans to expect water Thursday night, and after three hours of waiting under storm-less skies, they finally delivered.

The Nationals delayed their series opener against the Atlanta Braves for 3 hours, 5 minutes despite negligible rain. As a reward for fans who stuck around, Washington gave away free soda, ice cream, and yes, water.

Atlanta beat Washington 5-2 when play resumed. The game ended at 1:20 a.m.

"For 15 minutes of rain, that's unbelievable," Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez said. "I'm talking to you at 1:30 in the morning right now for a 15-minute delay."

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The Nationals' scheduled game Wednesday night against the New York Mets was postponed amid a downpour and after a delay of 1 hour, 55 minutes, but only a very brief shower hit Nationals Park on Thursday before first pitch was thrown at 10:10 p.m.

"That's a first for me," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Kind of frustrating."

The grounds crew didn't put the tarp on the infield until 74 minutes after scheduled first pitch. Light rain eventually fell, but only for a couple of minutes.

After the delay reached 2 1/2 hours, the Nationals posted a statement on the video scoreboard saying, "It is our sincere hope that we will be able to play tonight's game. The weather system that we have been monitoring is beginning to reach the ballpark & should pass through shortly. ... Thank you for your patience."

Despite the warning, the grounds crew removed the dry tarp 10 minutes later, and players began warming up in the outfield.

During the delay, a tweet from Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte read, "This No-Rain delay is something I've never seen before!!" When someone suggested he and his teammates take advantage of the break with some slip-and-slide fun on the tarp, Inciarte responded, "Can't. The tarp is dry."

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz and Gonzalez pitched as scheduled with a smattering of fans remaining.

"It was a weird night, but we got through it with a win and that's all we can do," Foltynewicz said.

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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.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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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.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT