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Nats win as Strasburg dominates in return to the mound


Nats win as Strasburg dominates in return to the mound

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The sight of Stephen Strasburg taking the mound this season has produced plenty of emotions, unfortunately far too many of them negative after four months of struggles, injuries and some downright bizarre outings. But by the end of this night, after Strasburg had thoroughly dominated the Rockies in his return from the disabled list, there is as much reason to be optimistic about the right-hander as there has been in a very long time.

Strasburg was brilliant in his first start since suffering an oblique strain on July 4. He tossed seven innings of 1-run ball, scattering three hits while striking out 12 and failing to walk anybody. He even notched three hits at the plate for the first time in his career. And when he departed after the seventh, a crowd of 37,115 rose to give him his loudest ovation of a trying season.

Strasburg was the recipient of plenty of of run support, with the Nationals scoring in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings, RBI coming from up and down the lineup. And thanks to the Mets actually losing a ballgame for the first time in nine days, the Nats ended the night down only 1 1/2 games in the NL East.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: As they did Friday night, the Nationals got big hits from everybody in the heart of their lineup. And the biggest one came from Wilson Ramos. With two on and one out in the bottom of the second, Ramos stayed back on a breaking ball and roped it to deep right-center. By the time the Rockies retrieved it, both Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond had come around to score and Ramos had coasted into second base with a big double. Slowly but surely, the Nats catcher is coming of a long slump at the plate, and he's doing it with hits exactly like that: to center and right fields.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: If there were any fears about Strasburg in his first start in five weeks, he very quickly put those to rest. Despite allowing a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon, he buckled right down and got out of the first inning with some electric pitches. And by night's end, he had authored one of the best starts of his career: 7 innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball, with 12 strikeout and zero walks. It's the sixth time Strasburg has recorded double-digit strikeouts without issuing a walk in his career. And he even went 3-for-3 at the plate after going 0-for-16 prior to this game. It was everything the Nats could have wanted in Strasburg's return, and it will only leave the right-hander with sky-high confidence moving forward.

KEY STAT: Ryan Zimmerman has driven in a run in each of his last six games. Zimmerman already holds the club record with an RBI in nine straight games in 2012.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up at 1:35 p.m. Sunday when Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.31) seeks his first win at Nationals Park since his June 20 no-hitter. Lefty Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.54) starts for the Rockies.

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

USA Today Sports

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.