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Nationals shut down again in Atlanta


Nationals shut down again in Atlanta

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals aren't exactly putting forth their best performance in the waning days of a lost season.

For the second straight night, they were shut down by a Braves pitching staff that has ranked among the league's worst all year. Despite a bunch of golden opportunities early against Williams Perez, they could not push a single run across the plate.

That made life plenty difficult for Jordan Zimmermann, who in what likely was his final start as a member of the Nationals gave up two quick runs but then put up zeroes after that before departing for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The winningest pitcher in club history wound up on the losing end of his finale, a frustrating way for his 9-year career with the organization to conclude.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: For the second straight night, the Nationals were shut down by an unaccomplished Braves right-hander. It was Matt Wisler on Tuesday. This time it was Perez, who tossed six scoreless innings. Not that the Nats didn't give themselves opportunities. They put nine men on base (five in scoring position) through those six innings against Perez, but came away without a single run. Bryce Harper was among those who struggled, going 0-for-4 to extend his slump to 3-for-26 and drop his batting average to .331, leaving him tied for the moment with Miami's Dee Gordon for the NL lead.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: If this was the end for Zimmermann — and there's every reason to believe it was — it was a disappointing conclusion to a disappointing season in an otherwise fantastic career with the Nationals. He made a couple of early mistakes, giving up a pair of 2-out RBI singles, to put himself in a 2-0 hole. Then he settled down and pitched effectively through the sixth inning, only to be pulled for a pinch-hitter because his teammates hadn't scored at all and needed to attempt a rally. That was a hallmark of Zimmermann's early days with the franchise, when he was among the hardest-luck pitchers in baseball. But he benefited plenty from offensive support in more recent years. He'll end this season, though, with a 13-10 record, a 3.66 ERA (his highest since 2010), 164 strikeouts and 39 walks in a career-high 33 starts that racked up 201 2/3 innings.

KEY STAT: The Nats still need to win one of their final four games to avoid their first losing record since 2011.

UP NEXT: The series concludes at 7:10 p.m. Thursday when Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.63) makes his final start of a tumultuous season against Braves right-hander Ryan Weber (0-2, 5.91).

MORE NATIONALS: MLB's StatCast puts Ian Desmond in rare company

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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.