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Matt Adams' late-game heroics sends game to extras, but Nats fall to Braves

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Matt Adams' late-game heroics sends game to extras, but Nats fall to Braves

WASHINGTON -- Peter Bourjos drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the 12th inning and Atlanta's bullpen finally made a lead stand up, helping the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 5-3 Wednesday after losing Brandon McCarthy to an injured left shoulder.

Bourjos, who entered in left field in the seventh inning and promptly threw a runner out at home, delivered the go-ahead hit off Ryan Madson (0-1) with one out in the 12th. Madson began that inning by allowing consecutive singles and a walk to fill the bags.

Rookie Shane Carle, Atlanta's seventh pitcher, threw the last two innings for the win. He blew a save chance in the 11th, giving up Howie Kendrick's two-out double to make it 3-all.

The Braves also led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but Arodys Vizcaino blew the save then by allowing Matt Adams' tying homer.

Atlanta got homers from Kurt Suzuki in the fourth and the 11th. His at-bat with two outs in the 10th ended with Ender Inciarte getting tagged out trying to steal home. With Nationals closer Sean Doolittle pitching, Inciarte walked, stole second, moved to third on a double steal and then tried to complete his trip around the bases with another swipe. But on this one, catcher Pedro Severino was able to apply the tag in time; the umpire's call of out stood after a replay review.

McCarthy left with what the Braves said was a subluxation of his non-throwing shoulder, which usually refers to a partial dislocation. He spent more than a month on the disabled list last season after dislocating his left shoulder with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wednesday's injury came on the last out of the fifth, when McCarthy stretched out his left arm to collect a toss from first baseman Freddie Freeman on a groundout by Brian Goodwin. McCarthy immediately grabbed at his shoulder and a trainer came out to attend to him.

McCarthy gave up a total of four hits and one run in his five innings.

It helped that the Nationals hit into four double plays, three with McCarthy on the mound.

Nationals starter A.J. Cole gave up three hits in 5 1/3 innings, but each went for extra bases. His third pitch of the game, a 93 mph fastball, was deposited over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center for Ozzie Albies' fourth homer this season.

That was how long it took for Cole to surrender more scoring than Washington's first two starters in the series, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, did in their combined 17 shutout innings Monday and Tuesday.

Cole's other appearance this season was also against the Braves, in Atlanta on April 3, and it went about as badly as could be: He lasted only 3 2-3 innings and allowed 10 earned runs in a 13-6 loss. That put his ERA at 24.55. After Wednesday's game, it was 12.00.

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

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USA TODAY Sports

Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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USA TODAY

3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

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