Nationals

Upsetting start for seeded women at Citi Open

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Upsetting start for seeded women at Citi Open

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Third-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States survived a three-set opening match against Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the first round of the Citi Open on Monday.

Second-seeded Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa and fifth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic were not so lucky.

American Brian Baker, a shock participant in the round of 16 at Wimbledon earlier this year, dropped the final two sets to Frenchman Florent Serra and was eliminated, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the men's tournament.

Scheepers, ranked No. 42 in the world, fell 6-2, 6-1 to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia. Zahlavova Strycova was beaten by Romania's Edina Gallovits-Hall, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

After losing the final three games of the second set, including two on her own serve, Stephens opened the third by breaking Karatantcheva twice for a 3-0 lead. The 19-year-old American, who reached the fourth round at the French Open and the third round at Wimbledon this year, tacked on two more breaks of serve to advance.

No. 7 seed Coco Vandeweghe of the United States avoided an upset by defeating Erika Sema of Japan 6-4, 6-1. Eighth-seeded Olga Govortsova topped Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2, and Leonardo Mayer beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8) to advance to the second round.

The Washington tournament, a staple on the ATP schedule, is combining with the WTA Tour for the first time.

Mardy Fish, the top-seeded men's player, is scheduled to play his opening match on Tuesday.

Fish, the No. 13 ranked player, skipped the Olympics after missing several weeks on tour earlier this year following a procedure to correct a heart problem.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is the top seed in the women's draw.

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With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

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With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

WASHINGTON - When Gerardo Parra stepped into the batter’s box for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, everyone in the ballpark knew something was different with the 32-year-old outfielder.

His walk-up song, “Baby Shark”, drew the immediate attention of everyone in attendance. And it would not be the last thing that Washington Nationals fans remembered from Parra on the day.

“I wanted to put on something different,” Parra said postgame. “My [two-year-old daughter Aaliyah Victoria] loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop, then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put in Baby Shark.’ I'm happy for that.”

After his performance against the Phillies in a 6-2 victory, “Baby Shark” should probably stick around as his walk-up song.

Parra was 0-for-23 when he came to the plate in the fourth inning. Before then his last hit came on June 1 against Cincinnati. Quickly Parra broke that hitless streak and doubled to plate the go-ahead run for the Nationals. He took a first-pitch slider from Zach Eflin and drove home Matt Adams, giving the Nats a 2-1 advantage.

Later in the game, he followed that up with a home run in the eighth inning as the Nats hit back-to-back jacks. It gave Parra, who started in the outfield for Victor Robles, his first multi-hit game since his June 1 appearance and his fourth such game on the Nationals roster.

But paired with his walk-up song, Parra’s sixth-inning assist to get out Bryce Harper is going to make him a fan favorite.  As Harper tried to go from first-to-third on a Scott Kingery single to shallow center, Parra scooped up the ball bare-handed to throw Harper out at third base. Without it there would have been no outs with runners on the corners and Patrick Corbin nearing the end of his start. Instead, the Nats cruised through the rest of the inning to preserve the lead. The Phillies appealed the play but to no avail.

“That's the only chance I had to get Harper,” Parra said. “I know he's an aggressive player and I tried to get everything perfect. Bare-handed, throw the ball as fast as I can. I think that changed the game.”

“It’s 'Mini-me,'” manager Davey Martinez, who played 16 years in the major leagues primarily as an outfielder, said about Parra after the game. “That’s what I tell him too. He came down [to the dugout after the play] and said, ‘You didn’t do that, you never did that.’ I go, ‘Too bad I ain’t got video of it…’ It was a tough play, barehanded, coming up firing. He’s really good, he’s a good outfielder.”  

With “Baby Shark” as his walk-up song Parra went 2-for-4 with a home run and a game-changing assist in a one-run ballgame. It looks like Parra has found his new walk-up song.

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Trey Mancini, the Orioles' lone bright spot, exits game after getting drilled with 92 MPH fastball

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Trey Mancini, the Orioles' lone bright spot, exits game after getting drilled with 92 MPH fastball

Trey Mancini, the Orioles' only hope at an All-Star, exited Baltimore's matinee against Oakland in the top of the first on Wednesday, after he was struck on the left elbow by a 92-mph fastball from the Athletics' starter Chris Bassitt.

Baltimore's Chris Davis pinch-ran for Mancini, who left the game almsot immediately after being hit. 

Baltimore announced on Twitter that Mancini exited the game with a left elbow contusion. 

Mancini, the Orioles' first baseman and outfielder, was a bright spot in a rather lackluster Baltimore lineup.

The only Oriole with a real chance at an All-Star selection, Mancini is batting .304 in 70 games and leads Baltimore with 84 hits, 18 doubles and 16 homers.

The 27 year-old also has one of the highest slugging percentages on the Orioles (.558).

Fans reacted with anguish on Twitter after Mancini exited the game.

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