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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Phillies 3

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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Phillies 3

Game in a nutshell: You might have been nervous after the first inning of this game, with Gio Gonzalez looking totally out of sorts and the Nationals trailing 3-1. No need to panic, though, because Gonzalez got himself back on track, and the Nats lineup bust things open again with an impressive display of power. Bryce Harper launched his second homer in as many nights, giving him 21 for the season. Michael Morse blasted two homers, the second of them a titanic clout into the visitors' bullpen. All that support -- plus some effective relief work from Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen -- set up Gonzalez to win his 21st game of the season and help the Nationals reduce their magic number to 3. The Braves, however, won for the 10th time in their last 12 games, keeping the pressure on and ensuring the Nats cannot clinch the NL East until Saturday night at the earliest.

Hitting highlight: It's been a frustrating season for Morse, who has battled serious injuries and nagging injuries and hasn't been able to produce as much as he would have liked. But the man still has the ability to hit a baseball a long way when he gets a hold of one. He didn't hit second-inning homer very far, lofting one just over the 370-foot fence in left field. But four innings later, he more than made up for it with a 451-foot bomb to right-center that sailed over the Phillies bullpen, into the Nationals' bullpen and directly into Tom Gorzelanny's hat. Yes, his hat. That was Morse's 16th homer of the season, and remarkably 12 of them have been hit to the right of center field.

Pitching highlight: The way the bottom of the first inning played out, you never would have guessed Gonzalez would wind up being credited with a quality start. He needed 37 pitches to get through that first frame, with three runs crossing the plate. His command was all over the place, leading to three walks. But he somehow battled back from that and righted his ship. Over his next five innings, Gonzalez didn't allow a run, didn't walk another batter and threw only 69 pitches. Quite a stunning turnaround. And because of it (and some run support from his teammates) the lefty departed in position to earn his MLB-leading 21st win, staying ahead of the Mets' R.A. Dickey (who notched his 20th win earlier in the day).

Key stat: For the moment, Gonzalez has thrown 199 13 innings. No pitcher in history has ever ended a season with 21 or more wins while throwing fewer than 200 innings. Gonzalez may make one more start Tuesday, depending on the Nats' status.

Up next: The penultimate series of the regular season is upon us, with the Nationals traveling to St. Louis for a weekend tilt with the Wild-Card-clinch-seeking Cardinals. Edwin Jackson, owner of a 2011 Cards World Series ring, starts Friday's 8:15 p.m. EDT opener against former rotation mate Adam Wainwright.

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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.

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

Bryce Harper is the 2018 Home Run Derby champion.

In his home ballpark, Harper put on a show Washington won't soon forget.

He ran through a division foe in the first round in Freddie Freeman, took out a strong, hefty lefty in the semifinals in Max Muncy and then hit nine home runs in 47 seconds in the final minute of the final round when it seemed like he had no chance. On the second swing of his 30 seconds of extra time, Harper launched a bomb to deep center field to win.

And while winning the Home Run Derby in his own ballpark is an impressive feat on its own, the numbers behind his victory make it all the more impressive.


3.

He is just the third hometown winner of the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Todd Frazier did it most recently in 2016 in Cincinnati, and Ryne Sandberg won at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1990.

13.

Harper won each of the first two rounds with 13 homers. He didn't need his full time in either of the first two rounds.

446 & 441.

Harper's first two home runs of his first-round matchup against Freeman traveled farther than any of the Braves' superstar's dingers.


10.

In the semifinals, Harper only hit three homers in the first minute, but then blasted 10 in his next 11 swings. That's called efficiency.


5.

In the first round, Harper hit five of the 10 longest home runs of anybody in the field.


45.

Harper hit 45 bombs en route to claiming the title. Here's a visual representation of all of them.

That's also how many dollars cheaper Nats tickets will be... oops!


2.

That's John Wall's number and this is him celebrating his fellow D.C. sports superstar's victory.


19,058.

Bryce Harper hit an absurd 19,058 feet of home runs during the 2018 Home Run Derby. That's more than the 5k you ran last year.

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