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UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series

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UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series

[UPDATED: 6:12 p.m.]

BALTIMORE — The Nationals placed Denard Span on the disabled list and Jordan Zimmermann on the paternity leave list Friday afternoon, part of a flurry of roster moves before the start of their weekend series against the Orioles.

Infielder Wilmer Difo was recalled from Class AA Harrisburg to take Span's roster spot and give the Nationals another position player this weekend. Reliever Aaron Barrett, meanwhile, was activated off the DL after missing 24 games with a right biceps strain, and will take Zimmermann's roster spot for now.

Span's placement on the 15-day DL — the team officially says he has back tightness — had been surmised for several days. The injured center fielder flew to Dallas on Thursday to be examined by a specialist after a month spent dealing with occasional back spasms and made it clear he did not expect to play at all in this weekend's series.

Manager Matt Williams said the MRI found no structural damage and they believe he will be able to return soon after games resume following the All-Star break.

"It's good news. The results of the MRI and the specialist he saw found nothing alarming, which is good," Williams said. "We have to look at his history and look at the two surgeries he had this winter and say that there's some changes in there. So we have to address them. We have him another set of exercises to further his strength. He'll start that process and he'll be back quickly, so that's a good sign."

That roster move is retroactive to July 7, so Span will be eligible to return as soon as July 22. With the All-Star break next week, he could wind up missing as few as nine games, assuming he's not more seriously injured.

Span expressed worry before he left for Dallas that his back injury was something serious, that it could jeopardize his career. Williams said those feelings are understandable and that Span is relieved to know his diagnosis.

"You can understand that. You don't know why something is happening and you're trying to figure it all out. Some days are good, some days are not so good. All the news is great, that will give him a sense of relief. It is certainly a relief for all of us and it will allow him to get aggressive in his rehab to get back in this short time," Williams explained.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, will start on Saturday. Sunday's starter has yet to be determined, though all indications point to Max Scherzer getting the nod.

Barrett returns to the Nationals' bullpen after missing nearly four weeks with a biceps strain. The right-hander was 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 30 games before suffering the injury while throwing a pitch in Milwaukee, but did not surrender a run in four rehab appearances with Class A Potomac.

Barrett's injury looked ominous at the time, and he admitted Friday he was initially worried he had suffered serious damage to his arm.

"A couple outings before that, it was really bothering me," he said. "And then when I pitched in that game, the last five or six pitches, I literally couldn't feel my arm. So it definitely scared me, for sure. I didn't know if it was anything more serious than it was. I think if I would've continued to go on, I think I could've really hurt something more extreme. It could be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully I caught it before it got worse."

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

SAN FRANCISCO -- Trea Turner got five hits, Matt Adams homered and drove in six runs, and the Washington Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way, routing the San Francisco Giants 15-2 Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.

The Nationals had totaled just eight runs during their skid. Andrew Stevenson had two doubles, two singles and four RBIs as Washington set season highs for runs and hits (18).

Manager Dave Martinez's ballclub has been stunted by a rash of injuries this season but salvaged the final game of the three-game series at AT&T Park series to end a rough 4-5 road trip. Max Scherzer (5-1) did his part, striking out 10 in six innings.

Turner came into the game batting .232, and the leadoff man's slow start had contributed to the Nationals' struggles. He raised his batting average 35 points, tying a career high for hits in a game. He also scored twice, drove in two runs and stole his 10th base this season.

Adams matched his career best for RBIs. He singled as part of a three-run first, put the Nationals up 6-1 with a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija (1-1) in the fourth and added a two-run single in the eighth.

The Nationals scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs.

Scherzer earned his fourth consecutive win, all of them coming after a Washington loss. He allowed two runs and five hits, and reached double figures in strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season.

Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval each two hits apiece for the Giants.

Samardzija labored through a 30-pitch first inning and was done after retiring 11 batters. He gave up six runs on eight hits with three walks.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman and 2B Howie Kendrick were given the day off.

Giants: Mac Williamson was a late scratch because of neck stiffness, one day after stumbling over the bullpen pitching mound and crashing into a low fence while chasing a foul ball. ... RHP Chris Stratton was placed on the paternity list. ... RHP Roberto Gomez was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA) pitches against the Diamondbacks on Friday in Washington. He has yielded six earned runs and three homers over his last 13 innings.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-3, 4.98) faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday night. Holland is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

"I got pretty lucky," Williamson said. "I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore."

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout -- this one went 423 feet -- but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

"We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it."

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

"I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down," Williamson said. "I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out."

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

"It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base."

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. "That was a really gutty effort that he gave us," Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.