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Strasburg goes yard, pitches a gem in series finale vs. Marlins


Strasburg goes yard, pitches a gem in series finale vs. Marlins

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg tossed a complete game six-hitter and also homered, Wilmer Difo added a home run and the Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

Washington, which has won four in a row, extended its lead in the NL East to 15 games over the Marlins.

Miami, which had won 13 of 16 prior to arriving in Washington, had not dropped three in a row since July 14-16.

The Marlins had no answer for Strasburg (11-4), who struck out eight. Strasburg threw 110 pitches. It was Strasburg's second complete game in 179 starts and his first since Aug. 11, 2013, against Philadelphia.

Strasburg is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts since returning from a disabled list stint for right elbow nerve impingement.

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 51 home runs and has 18 this month, went 0 for 4.

Miami left-hander Adam Conley (6-6) made it through the first four innings unscathed before Strasburg launched the first pitch of the fifth to right-center for his second home run this season and third of his career. Two batters later, Difo connected for his fifth homer of the year.

Anthony Rendon had a two-out RBI double in the seventh and Alejandro De Aza scored on a passed ball in the eighth to pad Washington's lead.

J.T. Realmuto had three hits for the Marlins, who went 2-8 at Nationals Park this season.


Difo was 2 for 4, extending his hitting streak to eight games. In that span, he is hitting .394 (13 for 33). The Nationals improved to 25-6 when Difo starts and bats in the No. 2 spot.


Marlins: Manager Don Mattingly said the team has not finalized plans for 1B Justin Bour (right oblique strain) to begin a rehabilitation assignment, but hopes it will happen before the minor league season ends. "We're running out of time, so it's going to be fairly soon here," Mattingly said. "Hopefully after this series or a couple days after he'll go out because he needs to try to get his timing back."

Nationals: OF Bryce Harper, on the disabled list since Aug. 13 with a hyperextended left knee, said he had no set target date for a return. "The knee's feeling OK," Harper said. "Going through a calf strain and, of course, the bone bruise, it takes time. It's all it's been. I'm just trying to take some time. It's only been two weeks plus three days. It's still fairly new. I'm just trying to take it day by day."


Marlins: RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 3.70 ERA) starts against Philadelphia on Thursday as Miami returns home to begin a seven-game homestand.

Nationals: Washington opens a four-game series at Milwaukee on Thursday as LHP Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 2.40), who allowed two runs in seven innings against the Brewers on July 26, gets the nod.

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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.