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Desmond leads Nats offense in Philly

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Desmond leads Nats offense in Philly

Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez said after the teams 2-1 win over the Phillies on Monday that he approached shortstop Ian Desmond prior to the game to ask for his help. Gonzalez said he wasnt feeling quite well and could use a boost from his teammates.

I was telling him today, Im going to need you out there, Im a little under the weather. I need you to go out there and keep me lifted right now, Gonzalez said.

And he did that job, he was out there doing his job and putting in runs for us.

Desmond in fact accounted for both Nationals runs, he launched a solo home run in the second inning and poked a RBI single in the fourth. He and Gonzalez played against eachother while in high school in Florida and the Nats pitcher is thankful to now play for the same team.

Ive known Desi for quite a while now, almost ten years now or nine years, and hes always been the same athlete I remember in high school, he said.

He is a competitor, he was a leader when he was in high school and I feel like hes a leader in here too.

Of all the surprises the Nationals have seen this season, a lot of good and some bad with injuries, Desmonds play may be the most positive development. The 26-year-old has been one of the teams most maligned players in recent years with sinking on-base percentages and soaring error totals.

Before the season Desmond looked like the one weak link in the Nats lineup on paper, it was a big question whether he could handle the leadoff position with such a deep lineup behind him. But this year Desmond has found success in all parts of the game and has been one of their most consistent all-around players.

Desmond was switched from leadoff to the fifth spot on Saturday and in the three games since has not slowed down. After Monday he is 5-for-13 with four RBI, a homer, and a run when batting fifth. It represents a different dynamic, clearing the table rather than setting it, but Desmond is happy almost wherever he hits.

I like batting everywhere but eight. I really dont mind hitting anywhere. I am fortunate to have good hitters around me to get good pitches, he said.

Desmond is now tied with Adam LaRoche for the team lead with seven home runs on the season. His seven in 41 games has him on pace to hit 27 homers on the season which would be five more than he hit in his first three MLB seasons combined. It also slots him first in the National League for shortstops and third overall in the majors.

As for why he is hitting with more power this season?

I think daddy strength. They say when you have a kid you get stronger, so thanks Grayson, he said, referring to his young son.

I dont know whats happening, Im blacking out.

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Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

The biggest story in Nationals prospects this week is the three Washington lost to the Royals in return for closer Kelvin Herrera. Here’s a look at what the Nationals gave up to add more depth to the bullpen.

Kelvin Gutierrez, AA 3B

The infielder, formerly on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, has posted a .285/.344/.388 line through his six-season minor league tenure. One of his greatest strengths is his speed, with 55 career stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits this season. His other notable tool is his powerful arm strength, which may help explain his transition from shortstop to the hot corner.

Blake Perkins, High A OF

The Nationals chose outfielder Blake Perkins in the second round of the 2015 draft. He has quite a bit of room to improve at the plate, batting .234/.344/.290 this season in Hagerstown. However, what he lacks offensively, he makes up for in the outfield. According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, Perkins has “plus speed, mature instincts, excellent routes and an above-average arm.”

Yohanse Morel, RHP

The biggest wild card of the group, Morel is a 17-year-old outfielder-turned-pitcher from the Dominican Republic. His fastball reaches 95 mph and he certainly has huge potential for growth. He has not yet pitched in the U.S. since making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in early June.

So, what did the Nationals gain?

Right-handed closer Kelvin Herrera is a two-time All-Star who is currently in the midst of a stellar season. In his Nats debut, he needed just six pitches to shut down the Orioles in the eight. The team is reportedly (and understandably) thrilled to have Herrera joining the roster. Adam Eaton said, "I'm so happy he's here and he's on my team and I don't have to face him anytime in the near future."

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Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .

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