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2018 MLB Home Run Derby Live Blog

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 MLB Home Run Derby Live Blog

It's dinger donging time. 

Tonight's the night that Nats fans have looked forward to for a few years now — a Home Run Derby in D.C. featuring Bryce Harper, who's favored to win this year's contest. All eyes will be on Harper and Nats Park and I guess everyone else who's taking part in the event, and NBC Sports Washington will have you covered from batting practice through the last mashed tater. 

Make sure to follow along on our social channels as well, where we'll be sure to be supplying okayish tweets all night. 

10:15: Harper's in the finals! He walks off Max Muncy and will see Kyle Schwarber in the Final Round. He'll have to hit 19 homers

9:45 PM: Kyle Schwarber walks it off! Hoskins hit 20 homers and didn't advance, which is cruel. 

9:40: Buffalo sighting! 

9:38 PM - Rhys Hoskins has some POWER. 20 home runs in the 2nd round and Kyle Schwarber has some work to do:

9:20 PM - BRYCE HARPER IS MOVING ON. Harper walked off with 13 homers to advance to the next round. Nats Park was somewhat into it:

9:06 PM - Max Muncy outslugged Javy Baez and will face off against either Harper/Freeman. MEANWHILE, IT'S TIME:

8:55 PM - They had a quick High School HR derby and one of the contestants literally hit a ball onto the LF concourse:

8:45 PM - Our first drama of the evening! After a slow start, Alex Bregman went on a tear, only to knock what would be the round-tying homer off the wall as the clock expired. Woke the crowd up, too. 

8:30 PM - The ball is flying out so far tonight. Schwarber finishes his 1st round with 16:

8:30 PM - Jesús Aguilar "only" hit 12, so Hoskins moves on from this round. For what it's worth, Aguilar wore his hat backwards and therefore should have advanced. 

8:20 PM - Rhys Hoskins is up first, and after a slow start hoooooo boy did he find a groove. He ends the first round with 17 homers. 

8:00 PM - Bryce is our King:

Stylin' Bryce Harper (6 p.m.)

We knew the Nats' slugger was ready to show his love for his team and the MLB All-Star Game's host city with some spectacular Washington-themed cleats, but Harper took it a step further Monday before the fun started. Harper is hitting in the derby with a special cherry blossom bat, as an additional nod to the nation's capital. 

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

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USA TODAY Sports

John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

Ryan Madson is the latest Washington National headed to the DL, turning the team's relief pitching rotation upside down even more than it already is. 

According to MASN's Dan Kolko, the 37-year-old is nursing a "lumbar nerve root irritation" injury and will sit out for 10 days. 

In response, the team has named Koda Glover as the closer, who was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse Wednesday. 

Glover gave up a game-ending solo blast to the Cardinals' Kevin DeJong Monday night. 

The night before, Madson was on the other end of David Bote's walk-off grand slam in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs. 

As for Tuesday night, Glover's status remains unknown.

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