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Johnson likely out long-term with foot injury

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Johnson likely out long-term with foot injury

ATLANTA — Veteran outfielder Reed Johnson is likely to miss significant time after pulling a muscle in his foot late during the Nationals’ dramatic, 13-12 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night.

Johnson hurt himself while legging out a key RBI double in the top of the seventh, pulling up lame as he reached second base. Manager Matt Williams and a Nationals trainer came out to examine him, and though Johnson initially remained in the game, he realized he couldn’t stay in after having to dive back to the bag on a subsequent pickoff attempt.

“He felt it when he came out of the box,” Williams said. “He heard a big pop. And when he got out to second, it was starting to subside and then he had to dive back into second base again and he couldn’t go any farther.”

Williams described the injury as a pulled muscle in Johnson’s foot and lower leg.

“It acts like plantar fascia, but it’s actually a muscle that kind of goes underneath your foot and up the side of your leg,” the manager said.

Asked if this would likely be a long-term injury, Williams replied: “It may be. It’s not like it’s a little strain. He was really having trouble moving. So we’ll have to see how it is tomorrow and we’ll make a decision on it.”

Assuming Johnson is placed on the disabled list, the Nationals will need to summon another outfielder to take his roster spot. Matt den Dekker would be the most likely choice, but the club would be allowed to recall Michael Taylor even though the top-rated prospect was optioned fewer than 10 days ago. MLB rules allow a recently demoted player to be recalled if he replaces an injured teammate.

Signed to a minor-league contract after he was released by the Marlins during the final week of spring training, Johnson made the Nationals’ Opening Day roster. The 38-year-old was 4-for-18 with Tuesday night’s double and two RBI.

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

Marcell Ozuna homered and Austin Gomber tossed six shutout innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

St. Louis has won a season-high eight straight. The Cardinals, who are 18-9 since the All-Star break, captured their sixth successive series after taking the first three of the four-game set.

Daniel Murphy homered in the ninth for Washington, which has lost four in a row and seven of nine to fall below .500 and nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The current skid began with a loss to the Cubs on a two-out, walk-off grand slam.

Ozuna homered in the second inning, his 14th of the season and his first since July 30.

Gomber (3-0), in his fourth start of the year, gave up three hits, struck out six and walked four.

Bud Norris pitched the ninth to pick up his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina added run-scoring hits for St. Louis, which improved to 19-9 since Mike Matheny was fired and replaced by interim manager Mike Shildt.

St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games with a walk in the fifth. It's the longest current streak in the majors. Carpenter left the game in the seventh after he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Matt Grace, but X-rays were negative.

Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) left in the fifth inning after colliding with Bader on a play at the plate following a wild pitch. Hellickson gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Bader, who had three hits, also made a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Bryce Harper in the fourth.

The Cardinals, who have an NL-best 12-2 mark in August, remain one game behind Philadelphia for the second wild card spot. They are four games behind Chicago in the NL Central.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday. He threw around 70 pitches and could be ready to return early next week, manager Dave Martinez said.

Cardinals: LHP Brett Cecil was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. Cecil, who had been sidelined with inflammation in his right foot, pitched four scoreless innings in four appearances with Triple-A Memphis. LHP Tyler Webb was optioned to Memphis.

UP NEXT

RHP Tanner Roark (7-12, 4.12) will face RHP Luke Weaver (6-10, 4.66) in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday. Roark has won his last four decision, Weaver is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA in nine career games against NL East foes.

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Nationals' Jeremy Hellickson exits game after collision

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Nationals' Jeremy Hellickson exits game after collision

Washington Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was removed from Wednesday night's game in St. Louis in the fifth inning after colliding with Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader at the plate.

Hellickson was covering home after a wild pitch. He stumbled over Bader as Bader slid home safely.

Hellickson was charged with three runs, two earned, on three hits in his 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.