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Scherzer hit by line drive, Nationals find way to win

Scherzer hit by line drive, Nationals find way to win

MILWAUKEE -- The Washington Nationals snapped out of their hitting slump just in time and survived a scare when a line drive slammed into ace Max Scherzer's left calf in the first inning.

Trea Turner's double to the center field wall scored Wilmer Difo from first base in the eighth, and the Nationals rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Saturday night.

The Brewers took a 2-1 lead into the eighth, when Michael Taylor homered on the first pitch from rookie reliever Josh Hader (1-2). Difo bunted Hader's second pitch for a single and later scored on Turner's double.

The Nationals have scored at least 10 runs in 20 games this year, but managed only four in the first 25 innings of the four-game series in Milwaukee.

"Things weren't going our way most of the night," Washington manager Dusty Baker said.

Scherzer was lifted after throwing 75 pitches over five innings. A liner from Milwaukee's Travis Shaw hit him in the first. In Scherzer's fifth-inning plate appearance, he hit a grounder to shortstop, limped to first and was thrown out easily.

The right-hander pitched the bottom half of the inning before being removed to open the sixth in a 1-1 game. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out two.

"It tightened up in the second," Scherzer said. "I could pitch on it but I couldn't run. I could feel in my mechanics that I was still getting through the ball so I knew I wasn't in danger of hurting my arm."

Scherzer said he didn't expect to miss an extended period of time.

The Brewers fell 4 games behind Chicago in the NL Central, the farthest Milwaukee has been out of first place all season.

Ryan Madson (5-4) pitched a scoreless seventh in his first outing since Aug. 12. He was reinstated from the disabled list on Friday.

Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 14 chances with the NL East-leading Nationals since being obtained from Oakland on July 16. With one runner on, Manny Pina hit a fly near the center field wall that Taylor caught to end the game.

"He hit it good. It sounded good," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "It just wasn't enough."

It was just the second time that Hader had appeared in back-to-back games this season. He allowed two runs on three hits and only retired one batter.

"I felt good," Hader said. "My arm was ready. I just left pitches over the plate and they got hit."

Milwaukee rookie Brandon Woodruff, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday, allowed one run on two hits and a walk while striking out eight in seven innings. In four starts this year, he has a 1.52 ERA.

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Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager

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Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

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National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

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