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Nationals hit three homers to win third straight game against Mets

Nationals hit three homers to win third straight game against Mets

NEW YORK -- Trea Turner hit a leadoff homer and the Washington Nationals backed Stephen Strasburg with three long balls Saturday, beating the New York Mets 7-4 to stay undefeated at Citi Field this season.

Adam Lind added a two-run shot and Jose Lobaton also went deep for the NL East leaders, who can finish a four-game sweep Sunday afternoon. Washington is 6-0 in Queens this year -- part of an impressive 24-12 mark on the road -- and has won 12 of 16 at the Mets' home ballpark since the start of last season.

Yoenis Cespedes homered and had four hits for third-place New York, which dropped 11 1/2 games out of first. The banged-up Mets (30-37) expected to challenge rival Washington at the top of the division, but injuries and poor pitching have taken their toll in a race that no longer looks competitive.

Strasburg (8-2) permitted two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, rebounding from his worst start of the season. He struck out five and walked two.

Four relievers from a much-maligned bullpen finished up, with Enny Romero getting five outs for his second save. The left-hander gave a huge fist pump after Cespedes grounded into a game-ending double play.

Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon each had an RBI double for the Nationals, who have won seven of nine meetings with the Mets this season. Washington hit three homers for the second straight matchup and turned four double plays -- one night after spinning three behind ace Max Scherzer.

The Nationals scored once in each of the first four innings against Seth Lugo (1-1), including on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Wilmer Flores. Turner's fifth career leadoff homer and third this season, on Lugo's second pitch, was the third the Mets have allowed in their past five games.

After trailing by four twice, New York cut it to 6-4 in the eighth on an RBI single by Jose Reyes. With two on, Romero struck out Rene Rivera to end the inning -- Rivera fanned all four times up.

Rendon's run-scoring double in the ninth made it 7-4.

Lugo gave up four runs, three earned, over 6 2/3 innings in his second start of the season after recovering from elbow inflammation. He was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament late in spring training.

The Mets had won Lugo's previous eight starts dating to last year.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Shawn Kelley was receiving treatment for tightness in his neck before the game. Unless it loosened up, manager Dusty Baker did not expect Kelley to be available out of the bullpen. Kelley worked the ninth inning Friday night and threw 26 pitches in closing out a 7-2 victory.

Mets: Cespedes, who returned from a strained hamstring June 10, started his third straight game ahead of a scheduled day off Sunday. The slugger has also dealt with quadriceps and heel issues recently, and his legs were tested several times Saturday following hours of heavy rain in the early afternoon before the game. But he ran well all day, legging out two infield singles, twice going first to third and even galloping a long way for a running catch in deep left field. He hustled into second base on one of Jay Bruce's three singles and later scored one of his three runs with a feet-first slide on Flores' line-drive sacrifice fly, barely beating a strong throw from right fielder Bryce Harper.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-2, 6.39 ERA) pitches the series finale Sunday. Washington has scored 85 runs in Ross' eight starts this season.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-3, 4.33 ERA) threw 116 pitches Monday in his second career complete game, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1 with a five-hitter. He is 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA in nine starts vs. the Nationals and has 22 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings against them this year.

More Nationals: NATS BULLPEN IS ONE OF THE WORST IN LAST 40 YEARS

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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.