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Gonzalez struggles as Nationals fall to Rays 6-1

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Gonzalez struggles as Nationals fall to Rays 6-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Erasmo Ramirez pitched six scoreless innings and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Washington Nationals 6-1 on Monday night.

Ramirez (6-2) won for the sixth time in his last seven starts following a winless stretch of 25 games that included 15 starts.

Tampa Bay won for the 12th time in 16 games. The Rays have held opponents to two or fewer runs in 32 of 65 games.

Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria left with a bruised left wrist after being hit by a Taylor Hill pitch in the fifth. X-rays were negative.

Gio Gonzalez (4-4) gave up five runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings for the Nationals.

Washington slugger Bryce Harper returned to the lineup and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a walk as the designated hitter. He got hit on the inside of his left leg above the knee in the ninth inning Saturday by a 95 mph fastball from Milwaukee reliever Michael Blazek and didn't play Sunday.

The Nationals got a bases-loaded RBI single from Yunel Escobar in the ninth before Harper lined into a game-ending double play.

The Rays chased Gonzalez in the fourth when Longoria had a sacrifice fly and Logan Forsythe added a run-scoring single to make it 5-0.

Tampa Bay went up 3-0 with a two-run third as Forsythe had an RBI single that went off Gonzalez's heel and Jake Elmore hit a sacrifice fly.

Kevin Kiermaier's hustle helped the Rays take a 1-0 lead in the second. Running hard out the box, Kiermaier turned what looked a routine single to center into a double. He then stole third and scored on Rene Rivera's sacrifice fly.

Brandon Guyer had a fifth-inning RBI triple for the Rays.

Harper drew a two-out walk in the third to load the bases, but Ramirez got out of the jam by getting a grounder from Wilson Ramos. Clint Robinson lined out to first with the bases loaded to end the fifth.

Tampa Bay's Steven Souza Jr. tied a team record with walking five times. Strangely, he was left stranded on base all five times.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Escobar got hit on the right hand by Ramirez's pitch in the third, but remained in the game.

Rays: LHP Matt Moore (elbow ligament replacement surgery) had his third rehab start for Class A Charlotte postponed by rain.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Alex Colome (3-2) and Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (2-2) are Tuesday night's scheduled starters. Colome has gone six or more innings three times this season and is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in those outings.

MORE NATIONALS: Strasburg to make rehab start Wednesday

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Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes

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USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes

The MLB All-Star Game is at Nationals Park and is now less than a month away, so let's check in on how D.C.'s top players and fan favorites are doing in the voting. 

After the first National League All-Star Game ballot update last week, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams were the three Nationals among the top players receiving votes. And while that's still the case, they've all dropped one position since last week. Perhaps because of the Nats' recent slump?

Opening as the No. 1 outfielder, Harper is now No. 2 in the voting with 1,002,696 tallies, behind Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis with 1,173,653 votes. They are, however, the only two outfielders with more than a million votes and 2-of-5 overall in the voting. 

Adams — who was 14th among outfielders last week — slid one spot to No. 15 with 237,165 votes.

Last week, Turner was the No. 4 shortstop on the ballot, but he has since dropped to No. 4 with 279,071 votes. He's behind San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, Braves' Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs' Addison Russell and Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story — who was the one to jump Turner this time around. 

If you're a Nats fan who doesn't like these results, don't worry. You can keep voting until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and you can vote up to five times every 24 hours. Read more about how to vote for your favorite players in the MLB All-Star Game HERE

The 2018 NL-AL matchup is in Washington, D.C. on July 17.

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Nationals bats get hot, but not enough vs. Blue Jays

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals bats get hot, but not enough vs. Blue Jays

TORONTO — Washington Nationals reliever Ryan Madson had spent the past couple of weeks thinking about how long he'd gone between giving up home runs.

He won't have to wonder about it any more after the Toronto Blue Jays burned him with back-to-back blasts.

Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte broke a tie with consecutive home runs in the eighth inning, Randal Grichuk added a pair of solo shots and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 8-6 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez and Solarte connected off Madson (1-3) as the Blue Jays won their seventh consecutive home game. Hernandez hit his 12th home run while Solarte's was his team-leading 15th.

"Everybody knows Madson is one of the best relievers in the league," Hernandez said. "We made some adjustments, took good swings, and hit it hard."

Madson last gave up a home run on June 4, 2017, while pitching for Oakland against Washington, when Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run shot.

"I've been thinking about it a little bit because it seemed like it had been a while," Madson said of his year-plus streak. "It's kind of been on my mind for the last couple of weeks."

Madson, who allowed two home runs in all of 2017, blamed poor fastball command for his rough outing.

"I envisioned the inning going a lot different than that, obviously," he said. "The stuff was good but no command of it."

Hernandez went 3 for 4 and was hit by a pitch, reaching bases four times.

Grichuk went 3 for 3 with a bases-loaded walk. He homered off Tanner Roark in the second and went deep again off Shawn Kelley in the fifth. The homers were the sixth and seven of the season for Grichuk, five of which have come in June.

Kevin Pillar and Kendrys Morales each had two hits and an RBI for the Blue Jays, who are 6-2 in interleague play this season.

"Every game we win means a lot," Hernandez said. "We're just trying to get closer to the fight for first and second (wild card) spots."

Washington has lost five of six.

"You never want to get swept but I'm glad we swung the bats today," manager Dave Martinez said. "We haven't been swinging very well. I'll take our chances very time we score six runs."

Grichuk snapped a 5-5 tie with an RBI single off Justin Miller in the seventh but the Nationals answered in the eighth with Brian Goodwin's RBI single off Toronto's Tyler Clippard.

Ryan Tepera (4-2) pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for the win.

Slumping Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper started as the designated hitter and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .217.

Harper, who has seven hits in his past 51 at bats, flied out to leave the bases loaded against Tepera in the eighth.

Neither starter lasted more than four innings. Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio allowed three runs and six hits while Roark allowed four runs and eight hits.

"I stunk today," Roark said.

THIEVERY

Toronto allowed a season-worst five stolen bases, four of them by Michael A. Taylor. The five steals matched Washington's season-high.

CATCH WITH DAD

On Father's Day, the sons and daughters of several Blue Jays tossed ceremonial first pitches to their dads, a group that included Solarte, Pillar, Morales, Aledmys Diaz and pitchers J.A Happ and John Axford.

FATHERHOOD

Gaviglio left before the game was over to fly home to Washington state after learning his wife had gone into labor with the couple's first child.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Matt Adams (left hand) was out of the lineup for a second straight day. Adams was hit by a pitch while attempting to bunt Friday. Daniel Muprhy made his second straight start at first.

Blue Jays: OF Steve Pearce (strained left oblique) went 2 for 2 with a walk in his second rehab game at Triple-A Buffalo. Pearce went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk Saturday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington returns home Monday to face the New York Yankees. The teams will resume a May 15 game that was suspended with the score tied 3-3 in the middle of the sixth inning. Following the completion of that game, the Nationals and Yankees will make up a May 16 game that was postponed by rain. RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 5.91) will start the nine-inning game. The Yankees have not named a starter.

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