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Zimmermann sharp as Nationals beat Braves again, 6-1

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Zimmermann sharp as Nationals beat Braves again, 6-1

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jordan Zimmermann says the Washington Nationals are happy to win two of three in every series.

Against the Atlanta Braves, they are doing much better.

Zimmermann took a shutout into the eighth inning and the Nationals beat Atlanta 6-1 on Tuesday night to continue their season-long dominance of the division rivalry.

The NL East-leading Nationals have won nine straight games in the season series with the Braves -- including a three-game sweep at Washington last week.

"We're just trying to win the series and take two out of three every time we face somebody and just go from there," Zimmermann said.

Zimmermann (6-5) ended a streak of three losses since his last win on June 2. He earned a no-decision despite throwing eight scoreless innings against Atlanta on Wednesday. He continued that dominance in his second straight start against the Braves, allowing six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.

Clint Robinson hit a two-run homer to cap Washington's four-run first inning off Shelby Miller (5-4). It was the perfect setup for Zimmermann.

"Anytime you get the runs like that early in the game you just pound the zone, throw strikes and let them put it in play," Zimmermann said.

Juan Uribe opened the ninth with a homer off former Braves reliever David Carpenter.

Zimmermann was pulled with two outs in the eighth -- the only inning he allowed more than one baserunner. Zimmermann hit Jace Peterson with a pitch before giving up a two-out single to Nick Markakis. Left-hander Matt Thornton ended the inning with A.J. Pierzynski's groundout.

Miller began the night 2-0 with a 0.85 ERA in five starts against the Nationals. That success ended quickly.

Danny Espinosa's double drove in Denard Span in the first. With two outs, Wilson Ramos hit a single up the middle to drive in Espinosa. Robinson's third homer to right field gave Zimmermann a 4-0 lead before throwing his first pitch.

Pierzynski's throwing error on a rundown between home plate and third base allowed Espinosa, who had three hits, to score in the third.

Miller allowed five runs, four earned, with 10 strikeouts in five innings.

"It just wasn't a normal Shelby Miller outing," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Shoot, he's allowed to have that every once in a while for how good he's been."

DOUBLE DEBUT

RHP Jake Brigham, making his major league debut, threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, in relief of Miller.

"I hate that we lost because I'm walking around with a smile," Brigham said.

Ryan Kelly, also making his major league debut, allowed one run in the ninth. Yunel Escobar, who led off with a single, scored when Ramos hit into a double play.

STREAKING

The Braves won the first game of the season series on April 27 before the Nationals' run of nine straight wins. It matches their second-longest winning streak against any team since their move to Washington in 2005.

The Nationals set a franchise record with 11 straight wins against Seattle from 2005-14. They also won nine straight against the New York Mets from 2013-14.

It matches the Braves' longest losing streak to Washington or Montreal. The Braves lost nine straight to the Expos from June 18, 1972 to June 5, 1973.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon took batting practice for the first time since he was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday with a left quad strain. ... 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left foot plantar fasciitis) worked out with Class A Potomac and will be evaluated following another workout on Wednesday. He has been on the DL since June 11.

Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman (bruised right wrist) probably will remain on the DL longer than 15 days. Gonzalez said Freeman's wrist "is just not improving" as the medical staff tries different treatments. Freeman is eligible to be activated on Friday and Gonzalez said he's not sure how much more time Freeman will need.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Doug Fister (3-3) will look for his second straight win over rookie Matt Wisler and the Braves when the series continues on Wednesday night. Fister threw seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits, in a 7-0 win at Washington on Thursday.

Braves: Wisler (1-1) will make only his third start since his June 19 promotion. He gave up six runs, four earned, in the 7-0 loss to Fister and the Nationals last week. Wisler was sharp in a win over the Mets in his debut.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE