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Ryan Zimmerman's three-run homer boosts Nationals over Athletics

Ryan Zimmerman's three-run homer boosts Nationals over Athletics

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ryan Zimmerman hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Washington Nationals held off the Oakland Athletics 11-10 on Sunday.

Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor added back-to-back homers off Frankie Montas during Washington's five-run ninth, helping the NL East leaders improve to 5-1 on their nine-game West Coast trip.

But the Nationals nearly blew an 11-4 lead in the ninth, highlighting their continued trouble with closing out games. Koda Glover allowed the first five batters to reach before he was replaced by Shawn Kelley, who surrendered a grand slam by Matt Joyce with one out. Kelley then retired the next two batters for his fourth save in six tries.

Khris Davis had three hits and two RBIs for Oakland, including his 17th homer. Sonny Gray pitched seven effective innings, allowing three runs and four hits.

MORE BASEBALL: 2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

The Athletics have dropped seven of nine.

Gray was working with a 1-0 lead before Washington scored three times in the sixth. Trea Turner hit a two-run triple and scored on Brian Goodwin's sacrifice fly.

The Athletics tied it at 3 on Davis' drive in the seventh, but the Nationals went ahead to stay in the eighth. Zimmerman drove a 3-1 changeup from Ryan Madsen (1-4) over the wall in left for his team-leading 16th homer.

Washington right-hander Tanner Roark (6-2) allowed four runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings in his longest start of the year.

MINOR MOVES

Oakland called up first base/outfield prospect Matt Olson from Triple-A Nashville and sent down right-hander Daniel Mengden.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Wieters was hit by the barrel of a splintered bat while in the on-deck circle during Adam Lind's at-bat in the top of the fifth inning. The bat struck Wieters just below his left knee but he stayed in the game.

Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn, on the disabled list with a right triceps strain, will start Tuesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. . LHP Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) will pitch on Monday for the second time on a rehab assignment with Class A Stockton.

MORE BASEBALL: 2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.

RELATED: WIETERS WILL RETURN TO NATS IN 2018 

Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.