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Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's

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Strasburg homers Nats to win over O's

Game in a nutshell: Desperately in need of a win after dropping three straight, the last two to the Orioles, the Nationals dug themselves into another early hole, down 3-0 after a series of defensive miscues. Then Stephen Strasburg took matters into his own hands. Not to mention his bat. With a fourth-inning bomb into the left-field bullpen, Strasburg delivered his first career home run and sent the crowd of 41,918 into a frenzy. The right-hander also turned things up a notch on the mound, retiring the last 10 batters he faced, seven via strikeout, to improve to 4-1 for the season and send the Orioles back up the B-W Parkway with a lopsided loss.Hitting highlight: Sure, Bryce Harper's two-run triple was nice. So was Jesus Flores' solo homer. And so was Danny Espinosa's two-run homer. But who are we kidding here. The hitting highlight of the came from none other than Strasburg, who electrified the crowd with his fourth-inning homer into the left-field bullpen. Even more amazing: Strasburg's blast came on an 0-2 curveball from Wei-Yin Chen. Even more amazing than that: He took about five minutes to circle the bases. Even more amazing than that: He never smiled once, at least not until his curtain call.Pitching highlight: We've already given Strasburg plenty of praise. How about some love here for Tom Gorzelanny, who bridged the gap between the Nationals' starter and the back end of their bullpen with two scoreless innings of relief? Gorzelanny retired six of seven batters faced, the only "mistake" a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter Luis Exposito. It's a thankless job, but it was of vital importance this afternoon.Key stat: Today's crowd of 41,918 brought the Nationals' season attendance to 628,615. That's a 38 percent increase from attendance last year at this time, roughly 8,000 extra fans per game. The only major-league clubs with a larger increase this season: the Marlins and Tigers.
Up next: No break from a really tough stretch for the Nationals. They open a nine-game road trip Monday, all against NL East rivals. The trip begins at 7:05 p.m. Monday in Philadelphia, with Gio Gonzalez facing Kyle Kendrick before what should be a raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager. What comes next?

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, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, 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.

"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."

"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand." 

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.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy undergoes successful knee surgery

While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news. 

Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report. 

Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:

"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."

"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.

RELATED: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT