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Nats' offense keeps rolling in homer-loaded win over Phillies

Nats' offense keeps rolling in homer-loaded win over Phillies

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: All season long manager Dusty Baker has said he believes the Nationals are a hot weather team. During their coldest stretches of offensive ineptitude he would remind reporters of that theory: just wait until the weather warms up.

This must be what he had in mind.

The Nationals' lineup exploded once again on Friday night in their win over the Phillies, the fourth time in their last five games they've scored at least nine runs. And, just like on Tuesday, they did so to rally from a sizable early deficit.

This time they trailed by four in the middle of the third inning, as Stephen Strasburg got off to an unusually rocky start. It didn't matter, though, as they then scored runs in five consecutive frames to swing the game in their favor.

Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew all homered. Daniel Murphy had two RBI doubles, while Jayson Werth and Drew each had one. Strasburg made it seven innings and struck out 10 for the 28th double-digit strikeout performance of his career. Strasburg moved to 10-0 on the season and extended his winning streak to 13 games.

The Phillies scored six runs keyed by two homers by Tommy Joseph. He hit a two-run bomb off Strasburg in the third and then another off Felipe Rivero in the seventh. Rivero has allowed multiple runs in three of his last four outings. Jonathan Papelbon followed him with his 16th save in 18 appearances of this season.

The Nationals opened their homestead on a positive note and have now won eight of their last 11 games overall.

What it means: The Nats have won four straight against the Phillies and are now 6-4in head-to-head matchups with their division rivals this season after going 2-4 through their first two series. The Nats moved to 37-24 on the year, to tie a season-high of 13 games above .500.

Ramos hits No. 9: We're into the third month of the 2016 season and Ramos just keeps getting better. In Friday's win he clubbed his ninth homer of the season and his fourth in his last 10 games. Ramos has hits in eight consecutive outings and is now batting .345 on the season. He hit .316 in April, .333 in May and is 11-for-24 (.458) in the month of June. Once The Buffalo gets moving, it's hard to slow him down.

Drew also homers: Drew followed Ramos' homer in the fourth inning with a solo shot of his own, a laser to right-center field off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. That marked the eighth time this season the Nationals have hit back-to-back homers. It was Drew's fifth home run of the season and his third in his last five games. He now leads the Nationals in fewest at-bats per home run:

Stephen Drew: 12.4 AB/HR
Chris Heisey: 13.5 AB/HR
Bryce Harper: 14.2 AB/HR

Drew also smacked an RBI double in the seventh inning to put the Nationals up 9-4.

Espinosa homers, too: So many homers. Espinosa launched his 10th of the season on Friday night, which ties him for fourth among MLB shortstops. It was his seventh in his last 14 games. That's quite the pace. Espinosa is now on track to hit 27 homers this season. He went 3-for-4 on the night.

Murphy continues to rake: Murphy had two doubles in this game and both brought in runs. The first was a big one, a two-RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead. Eight of Murphy's last 13 hits have been extra-base knocks. And though his average is down this month, he still has two homers, eight RBI and eight runs scored. 

One of Murphy's outs on Friday came when he grounded into a double play to end the third inning. That was just the first double play Murphy has hit into this season. Chase Utley is now the only qualified NL batter without one GIDP.

Up next: The Nationals and Phillies continue their series with a quick turnaround on Saturday. It's a 12:05 p.m. start with Tanner Roark (4-4, 3.21) and Aaron Nola (5-4, 2.65) set to pitch.

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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.