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Instant Analysis: Nationals 5, Mets 4

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Instant Analysis: Nationals 5, Mets 4

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals won in walk-off style on a wild pitch by Pedro Beato. Harper tripled in the game-tying run in the 10th and Tyler Moore was up with the bases loaded when the winning run came home. Ross Detwiler had perhaps his best outing of the season as he shut out the Mets through seven innings of work, but late mistakes by the Nats' bullpen squandered the win for him. Tyler Clippard was handed a scoreless game and a two-run lead in the ninth, but allowed a three-run homer to a pinch-hitting Jordany Valdespin to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. The Nats were able to come back to tie it in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI single by Danny Espinosa, but gave the lead back in the tenth. Michael Gonzalez allowed a two-out double to Josh Thole for the Mets fourth run. All in a wild game at Nationals Park.

Hitting highlight: Harper's triple off the wall in right field in the 10th was pivotal as the Nats tied the game for the second time when facing the loss.
Pitching lowlight: Detwiler threw an absolute gem with five hits allowed and zero walks, but Clippard spoiled his night with the blown save. Clippard allowed two singles and then the home run on a 83 mph changeup.
Key stat: Ross Detwiler now holds a 3.15 ERA on the season through 84.2 innings pitched. That is about as good as it gets from a number five starter.

Up next: The Nats and Mets series continues on Wednesday at Nats Park. Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 2.48 ERA) will go up against Chris Young (2-3, 4.28 ERA).

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Cal Ripken Jr. finds nothing wrong with Bryce Harper's swing

Cal Ripken Jr. finds nothing wrong with Bryce Harper's swing

Bryce Harper hasn't been the Bryce Harper we're used to seeing in 2018. 

the 2016 N.L. MVP is seen his batting average drop to a career-low .214 and ranks among NL leaders with 100 strikeouts. On Saturday after their game vs. the Mets, manager Dave Martinez had a talk with the right fielder after he failed to run out a ground ball in the fifth. 

There have been several theories thrown out there as to why the 25-year old is slumping. From simply being mentally checked out to his "unconventional" swing at the plate. But before you take that theory and run with it, baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. sees nothing wrong with his technique. 

"We're they saying that about it when it was working?", Ripken said Monday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington. 

"'Cause its essentially the same swing. And if you look at videotape, there's some subtle difference that you see. He has a signature way he swings the bat. Sometimes your engine's running a little high inside." 

Those who are more in-tune with the fundamentals will find his swing a bit out of the norm, but Ripken would not describe it as "unconventional."

"No, I don't think it's unconventional and I think he's been consistent. It's just the way he hits. Everybody has this unique sort of signature on how they swing the bat and if you're trying to help him, you don't go change everything and say you gotta go. You just try to bring him back to his comfort and his timing and his confidence and then that'll happen. It's proved that his style of hitting works for him and so I wouldn't try to make him somebody else."

Well, that way of hitting obviously works considering he does have 23 home runs this season and just won the 2018 Home Run Derby Monday night after launching ten 450-foot home runs and nine home runs in 47 seconds.  So what will it take for him to carry that momentum into the second half of the season? Ripken senses the need for a clearer mental game during a stressful contract year. 

"It's a slump, so what are the reasons, what are the causes for that? And probably it's a little more mental than physical."

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How to effectively spend money at the Fan Shop at the MLB All-Star FanFest

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USA Today Sports

How to effectively spend money at the Fan Shop at the MLB All-Star FanFest

FanFest is overwhelming. There are a ton of different things going on at once in a giant convention center hall. But there's one safe area to go and be at peace. The Fan Shop.

The problem with the Fan Shop — and it's not just unique to this one — is that everything is too expensive. Everything.

But fear not, we've done our research, and have a plan for how to (and how not to) spend your money as well as some interesting items you can buy.

The most efficient way to spend $20

Ok kids, your parents just gave you a nice crisp 20 from the ATM over in the corner and told you to be back in 15 minutes. That's not nearly enough time to scour the whole Fan Shop and find the best things to buy. Don't worry. We've spent hours in the Fan Shop researching for this very situation.

We're going for variety here. We could theoretically just get five All-Star Game buttons to wear, but that's no fun. We could blow it all on one item: a pair of socks, a shirt, a small stuffed animal, a mug. Unless one of those things are the greatest of that thing you've ever seen, let's not make that our only purchase.

Let's go with an All-Star Game decal for $6.99 to start. You can put that on your car, laptop, refrigerator, or basically anything. The possibilities are endless. With our remaining $13, we don't have a lot of options if we want to buy more than one thing, and we do. To make that happen, we're buying an All-Star Game coozie for $6.99, snagging a button for $3.99 and walking back to mom and dad with some change.

The most efficient way to spend $50

Well it's our lucky day. Somebody just got paid and sent you into the Fan Shop with a green Ulysses S. Grant. Now you can actually buy legitimately useful things.

An All-Star Game t-shirt is a must. You can wear it over and over to show off how cool you are. That'll cost $30, though, so now we've got to scramble again.

Do you hear that? It's a shot glass calling your name. Even if you're not 21, it's probably more fun to drink that nasty, liquid children's cough medicine out of a shot glass than the plastic cup that comes with the bottle. Pony up the $8 and move along.

All the cool kids have sweet key straps nowadays, and the one that's hanging on the rack five feet to your right is only $10. Go get it, put some keys on it and get twirling like that cute lifeguard at the pool.

The most efficient way to spend $100

Let's get one thing out of the way. If you can't efficiently spend $100, then before reading this you should probably go get some help.

That being said, it's summer and you need to keep the sun out of your face. Go get a $35 hat.

One very nice store attendant was kind enough to point out that they were selling the same socks the players will wear for both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. You have to get them. They're $25, and we've got $40 left.

It's time to be a kid again. A 17-pack of baseball cards is only $10, and maybe one of those guys will make your great-great-great-great grandson some money when he finds the card in a box in the attic in like 150 years. Who knows, but the potential return on investment seems worth a 10-spot.

Oh wow you just remembered your aunt just had a baby a few months ago. You know what that baby wants? A stuffed animal. Grab that one over by the checkout counter for $20. While you're over there, spend your last $10 on a mug.

The most and least expensive items in the Fan Shop

This one took some digging. But after several hours searching through the depths of the Fan Shop, we're confident we've found the most and least expensive things you can buy.

The most expensive item wasn't that hard, honestly, given it screams "I'M SUPER EXPENSIVE."

That's right, this Dooney & Bourke custom team gigantic bag is $399.99. Now, if you're insane and/or wealthy enough to spend that kind of dough on a bag that has your favorite baseball team on it, be my guest. My advice would be to save your money for something better, like 66 beers at one of the concessions stands. Remember, you're the one with the problem, not I.

The cheapest item was much harder to find for a few reasons. First, it's tiny and nowhere near the entrance. Second, it's something people generally won't be looking for because it's a button and, well, who wants a button? Nobody. Nobody wants a button.

This button costs only $3.99 plus however many hospital trips you have to make because you can't stop stabbing yourself with the pointy edge of the fastener. On second thought, this may deceptively be the most expensive item in the Fan Shop. Well played, MLB Fan Shop, well played.