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Nats-Red Sox instant analysis

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Nats-Red Sox instant analysis

Game in a nutshell: After last night's impressive show starring Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the Nationals once again pounced on the Red Sox and took an early lead. Adam LaRoche's team-leading 10th homer got them on the board, and a three-run fourth off Daisuke Matsuzaka made it 4-0 and spoiled the right-hander's return from Tommy John surgery. Gio Gonzalez was dominant for six innings but got a quick hook after putting two men on in the seventh. Lefty Michael Gonzalez (no relation) then let two inherited runners score on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's laser off the Green Monster. No worries, though, because Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard shut the door on any possible Boston comeback, and in the process ensured yet another series victory for the first-place Nationals.

Hitting highlight: It took them a little while to figure out Matsuzaka, but once the Nationals got to the Red Sox right-hander, they really got to him. During a three-run fourth inning, they put four men on base and hit another ball hard for an out. Most impressively, both Michael Morse and Ian Desmond delivered RBI with base hits to the opposite field. Morse's double was his sixth hit since coming off the disabled, five of them hit to right field. Desmond's subsequent single brought in two more runs and gave him 30 RBI for the season (third-most among all MLB shortstops).

Pitching highlight: No pitcher in baseball has surrendered fewer hits per nine innings this season than Gio Gonzalez, who for six innings today gave up only two clean hits. But the wheels began to fall off in the seventh, and after issuing a one-out walk and then a single, the lefty was done for the day after 98 pitches. Thus continued a somewhat disturbing trend by Nationals starters, who despite their dominance this season are averaging only 6.04 innings per outing. Long-term, they're going to need to go a bit deeper into games.

Key stats: How good has Bryce Harper been at in-game adjustments? He's hitting just .250 in his first at-bat of the game, but he's hitting .394 in all subsequent at-bats against opposing starters.

Up next: Sunday's series finale features another intriguing pitching matchup. Jordan Zimmermann makes his first career start at Fenway, with left-hander Jon Lester on the mound for the Red Sox at 1:35 p.m.

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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.