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Nats' bench comes through again with homers against Marlins

Nats' bench comes through again with homers against Marlins

Held scoreless through the first five innings on Friday night, the Nationals exploded for three home runs spread across the sixth, seventh and eighth to beat the Marlins in their series opener. One came from Bryce Harper, who hits a lot of them. The other two emerged from what is starting to become an expected source.

That would be the Nationals' bench, which produced a two-run bomb by Stephen Drew and a solo shot by Chris Heisey that served as an insurance run. 

Drew smacked his second of the season in the sixth off Bryan Morris. Heisey hit his fourth (out of eight total hits this year) in the eighth off Dustin McGowan.

Manager Dusty Baker pushed a lot of buttons in the 5-3 victory and those two calls certainly worked in his favor.

"The thing about it is these are the guys that you want coming off the bench," Baker said. "I try to match them up with guys that i think that I they're most likely to have some success against. We're fortunate enough that it worked today."

Pinch-hitters, in fact, have been coming up big consistently for the Nats this season, at least in hitting homers. Friday night was the first time in Nationals history they've had two pinch-hit homers in the same game. They now have six as a team for the season, which ranks second in baseball.

Baker keeps coming up flush with his gambles, but that's not say he deserves all the credit, of course.

“Dusty’s been making some good calls. But at the end of the day, Dusty don’t hit the home runs," closer Jonathan Papelbon said. "Those guys put in a lot of work. They deserve a lot of credit for that. I've always said that long men in the bullpen and guys hitting off the bench, those are the hardest jobs in baseball. So tip my hat to those guys.”

On a night both Drew and Heisey homered, Papelbon wasn't the only teammate that sent praise their way.

"Dirt deserves it and so does Heis. These guys, day in and day out they grab a bat. Even Clint [Robinson]," Gio Gonzalez said. "They all want the bat. They all want to go up there and swing the bat."

'Dirt,' by the way, is Drew's nickname. And the trio - including Robinson - are known as the 'Three Amigos,' if you ask Gonzalez. If they keep this up, perhaps it will stick.

"Having faith in the guys and being able to just throw them anybody out there, they think they're going to do damage every single time they go up there," Bryce Harper said. "We have a very confident team and a very confident bench. That's huge for a team that wants to win a lot."

Heisey and Robinson know the deal when it comes to playing off the bench. For Drew, though, this is still all very new. As recently as last season he was an everyday player. He has leaned heavily on guys like Heisey and Robinson for advice while tinkering his own approach to adapt.

"As of late, I’ve gotten better at it," Drew said. "I try not to take too many swings in the cage, just be ready throughout the game. But also you want to be able to have that good feel when you go up to bat, like you’ve already had three or four at-bats in your mind. So, more mentally staying focused that way and being ready to go up there. It’s a good feeling tonight, just to be able to contribute and tie up the game right there."

It's early in the season, but Baker certainly has some weapons at his disposal to bring off the bench. He likes how his group of reserves is shaping up.

"It's especially nice when they hit home runs," Baker said.

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.