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Orioles hit three HRs off Gio Gonzalez, beat Nationals 6-4 in Beltway Series opener

Orioles hit three HRs off Gio Gonzalez, beat Nationals 6-4 in Beltway Series opener

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Trey Mancini capped a three-homer binge in the first inning against Gio Gonzalez, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Monday night for their season-high fifth straight victory.

Kevin Gausman (2-3) limited baseball's most potent offense to two runs over seven innings. He retired the first 10 batters and struck out eight in his longest outing of the year.

Joey Rickard hit a leadoff homer and Mark Trumbo added a solo shot before Mancini connected with a runner on to make it 4-0. That was enough offense for the Orioles, who now hold a 37-24 advantage over their neighboring rivals in the so-called "Beltway Series," which began in 2006.

Caleb Joseph had a career high-tying four hits for the Orioles. Baltimore (21-10) owns the second-best record in the majors behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.

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Bryce Harper homered and drove in two runs for the Nationals, who lead the majors in runs, hits and batting average

After the Orioles let a six-run cushion shrink to three, Brad Brach worked the ninth for his eighth save. After Brach gave up a one-out RBI double to former Oriole Matt Wieters, pinch-runner Trea Turner strayed too far from second base on a groundout to first and the game ended with a rundown in which Adam Lind was tagged out between third and home.

Gonzalez (3-1) came in with a National League-leading 1.64 ERA for the team with the best record in the NL. None of that mattered to Baltimore, which took the lead for good when Rickard sent the left-hander's fourth pitch into the left-field seats.

Gonzalez made it through six innings and gave up six runs -- one fewer than his previous six starts combined. His poor outing upped his ERA to 2.64 and dropped his career record against Baltimore to 1-6.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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