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Nats' Morse hits tying HR, go-ahead double in 11th

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Nats' Morse hits tying HR, go-ahead double in 11th

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Michael Morse hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning, then delivered a two-run double in the 11th that sent the Washington Nationals over the Milwaukee Brewers 11-10 on Sunday. Bryce Harper drew a leadoff walk from Jose Veras (3-4) in the 11th and Ryan Zimmerman singled. One out later, Morse doubled down the left-field line for an 11-9 lead. Morse's homer with one out in the ninth off John Axford made it 9-all. The opposite-field shot barely made it over the wall in right. The NL East-leading Nationals rallied for four runs in the eighth to tie it at 7. The Brewers have lost nine of 10. Milwaukee's beleaguered bullpen duo of Francisco Rodriguez and Axford each allowed three runs in failing to protect another late lead. Craig Stammen (4-1) pitched 2 1-3 hitless innings for the victory. Tyler Clippard allowed a solo home run to Corey Hart to open the bottom of the 11th, but earned his 20th save in 22 chances. Washington reliever Ryan Mattheus gave up four runs in just 1 2-3 innings, including home runs to Rickie Weeks, Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez. Milwaukee opened a 7-3 lead on Weeks' 11th home run of the year in the seventh, but Rodriguez gave up three runs in the eighth and was removed for Axford. Corey Brown then scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the dirt from Axford that went to the backstop. Aoki and Gomez hit back to back solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth to give the Brewers a 9-7 lead. Axford struck out Zimmerman to open the ninth. He then walked Mark DeRosa before giving up the home run to Morse, his eighth of the year. Milwaukee starter Mark Rogers, starting in place of Zack Greinke, pitched 5 2-3 solid innings in his first major league appearance since 2010. The right-hander was the fifth pick in the June 2004 free agent draft, but had pitched only 10 innings in the majors before replacing Greinke in the Brewers' rotation. Rogers gave up a home run to Steve Lombardozzi to lead off the game, but settled in to keep the Nationals off-balance. He gave up two runs on six hits and struck out seven. The Brewers managed only five hits in six innings off Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, but took advantage of the All-Star's wildness. Two batters who walked and another who was hit by a pitch scored, and the Brewers also scored on a bases-loaded walk. A play in the sixth inning resulted in three of the four umpires involved in separate arguments at the same time. The Brewers led 3-2 and had the bases loaded with one out when Aoki laid down a squeeze bunt. Gonzalez made a quick, off-target throw to first that forced Lombardozzi to stretch into foul territory and make the catch while Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy easily scored from third. First base umpire Tim Welke ruled Aoki safe, and Lombardozzi immediately began to argue while holding the ball in his glove. Seeing the argument, Cody Ransom then sprinted home. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook, however, ruled time had been called and sent Ransom back to third. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke came out and argued with Estabrook that time had not been called. Washington manager Davey Johnson and Lombardozzi were arguing with Welke at first at the same time while Ransom was complaining to third base umpire Laz Diaz. Paul Schrieber at second base was the only umpire not in an argument. NOTES: Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday and made his first start for his new team on Sunday. ... Washington 1B Adam LaRoche was removed from the game in the fourth inning due to tightness in his back. He is day to day. ... Before the game, the Brewers traded C George Kottaras to the Oakland Athletics for RHP Fautino De Los Santos. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. ... Aramis Ramirez was held out of Milwaukee's starting lineup to rest his sore left wrist. He pinch hit in the sixth and was intentionally walked. ... Harper returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game with a stomach virus. ... Before the game, Washington unconditionally released OF-1B Xavier Nady.

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Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Will Mike Rizzo continue to shape the Nationals? The Junkies believe he's too valuable to lose

Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez and Matt Wieters aren't the only important guys within the Nationals organization becoming free agents in 2019.

President of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo is also becoming a free agent when his contract expires on October 31st.

In the final year of his five-year contract, the 57-year old is set to make $2.5 million.

RELATED: HOWIE KENDRICK RETURNING TO NATIONALS

Since joining the organization, Rizzo has turned the team into a legit World Series contender. They've won four division titles in the last six years under his guidance, but have been unable to get over the NL Division series hump. And even though that's a glaring red mark on his resume, Rizzo knows the success he's brought to the organization. 

When you look at what we accomplished,’’ Mike Rizzo said in a recent interview, “it’s really unsung and underappreciated. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I like it here. I love the city. I love the team I put together. I like being a GM in the NL East. And I want to stay here. I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too.

Rizzo is talking about GM's like Cubs' Theo Epstein and Yankees' Brian Cashman, who've received big paydays over the last year.

I know we haven’t won the World Series, but I get tired of hearing how we can’t win the big one, or we can’t get out of the first round. We haven’t had that many chances.

Does Rizzo deserve an extension? The Sports Junkies think he does, but with GM's like the ones above cashing out, they can also see him wanting to test the open market.

"Why wouldn't they?", said Jason Bishop, noting his track record.

"There's a sense he wants to test the market," said Eric Bickel. That's the vibe I'm getting from him."

Rizzo is a weekly guest on the Junkies and has said that the organization will figure it out. However, the 2018 season may be the last time for a long time the Nats have a real shot at making a run before they lose some of their stars to other teams. If Rizzo does take that into consideration and decides to go elsewhere, the Junkies don't see him having any issues finding employment.

"If there was a time to roll, it would be after this season when you get your last run with this group," said Eric Bickel. And then If they don't pay you what you think you deserve, he'll be snatched up in 22 seconds."

RELATED: BEST OF NATS' RACING PRESIDENT TRYOUTS

If they do decide to sign him to an extension, will it be a long, drawn-out ordeal? The Junkies disagree on that one. 

"He is too valuable, Jason Bishop said. He's too valuable. You gotta ink him to a deal sometime during the season."

Luckily for D.C. sports fans, long, drawn-out extension talks aren't foreign to them.

To see their full discussion, click the media player above. 

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

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Nationals re-sign Howie Kendrick for two-years

WASHINGTON  -- The Nationals have agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with outfielder Howie Kendrick, a deal subject to a successful physical.

Agent Pat Murphy confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Monday. USA Today was first to report the deal.

Kendrick, 34, hit .293 with seven home runs and RBIs in 52 games with Washington after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The versatile right-handed hitter got just three plate appearances off the bench in the playoffs.

In 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and Nationals, Kendrick is a .291 hitter with a .755 OPS. He's now primarily an outfielder for Washington after playing left field, second base, first base and other positions throughout his career.