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Nationals give up 3 HRs in loss to Diamondbacks

Nationals give up 3 HRs in loss to Diamondbacks

WASHINGTON -- Jake Lamb and Chris Herrmann homered off Tanner Roark, and the Arizona Diamondbacks bounced back from an early deficit to beat the high-scoring Washington Nationals 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Erratic starter Taijuan Walker and four relievers combined to blank the potent Washington offense over the final six innings after the Nationals bolted to a 3-1 lead.

Two days after scoring 23 runs against the Mets to cap a record-setting month, Washington went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.

Lamb and Herrmann connected in the fourth inning to put Arizona up 4-3, and Jeremy Hazelbaker added a solo shot in the ninth.

Walker needed 117 pitches to get 11 outs and was pulled with two outs in the fifth. He gave up three runs, walked five and struck out six.

T.J. McFarland (1-0) got four straight outs, J.J. Hoover and Jorge De La Rosa each pitched an inning, and Fernando Rodney worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

Ryan Zimmerman had two hits for the Nationals, his career-high fifth straight multihit game. But Washington's offense sputtered after becoming the first team in baseball history to score at least 14 runs five times in April.

Roark (3-1) struck out eight over six innings for the Nationals, but threw a career-high 125 pitches and left with Washington trailing 4-3.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt and Washington's Bryce Harper each had RBI singles in the first inning, and Daniel Murphy singled in two runs in the bottom of the third.

Lamb led off the fourth with a drive to right, Brandon Drury got an infield hit and Herrmann homered to put the Diamondbacks up for good.

MORE NATIONALS: Where Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals are crushing the rest of the majors

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Sean Doolittle talks everything from sliders to tweets on the latest episode of The Racing Presidents podcast

Sean Doolittle talks everything from sliders to tweets on the latest episode of The Racing Presidents podcast

Curious thing when Sean Doolittle hops on Twitter: multiple replies from his wife, Eireann Dolan, begin to show up. She, in theory, is working on coursework for a Master’s degree while stationed in the other room. But, she finds time to enter a depth-filled discussion or mock a photo choice of her husband on his derriere which randomly accompanied a story involving him.

“Maybe that’s in the syllabus,” Doolittle said.

Their case of two-room tweeting comes up at the end of our 1-on-1 sit down with the Nationals’ All-Star closer in the latest edition of The Racing Presidents podcast. We talked with Doolittle early in spring training when Bryce Harper remained unsigned and a lagging free agency period was fresh. He used his platform during the winter months to express irritation with the process baseball was going through.

He also uses his Twitter account often and judiciously. Doolittle addresses a range of topics, some with political ramifications, some specific to his sport, others to rebut what he deems a silly media take, as he did Wednesday with Colin Cowherd. Social media can be a dangerous place for famous people with opinions. How does he approach it?

“I would say do your homework before you press tweet on anything you do,” Doolittle said. “And then once you’ve done your homework, do it again. Double-check your work. I try to -- whenever I weigh-in on something -- I’ve done a bunch of research online, I’ve read a bunch of articles. I’ve really tried to consider both points of view. And, obviously, you’ve got to be careful about the way you phrase things so nothing can be taken out of context. I think that’s why some of the topics I’ve weighed-in on there’s been a thread of multiple tweets because I don’t want the 280-character limit to be the reason that something I said could be taken out of context. I want to be able to have that nuance and people understand really what I’m trying to say.”

There’s more on that, where Doolittle is with trying to master a slider and what he thinks can be better with baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.

The guys also had a lot of other baseball happenings to talk about. Most notable is the Anthony Rendon negotiations. NBC Sports Washington reported Wednesday that Rendon turned down a late February extension offer from the Nationals. Rendon said discussions have essentially come to a “halt” between himself and the Nationals. However, that doesn’t mean they are over.

Also on this episode: how Mike Trout’s enormous contract extension relates to Bryce Harper’s situation, Gio Gonzalez joining the Yankees and joy around the fact we’re eight days from Opening Day.

Listen, subscribe, rate, and stay tuned for a 1-on-1 conversations with Ryan Zimmerman to close the week.

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Anthony Rendon extension talks come to a 'halt' after he turns down recent offer

Anthony Rendon extension talks come to a 'halt' after he turns down recent offer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Anthony Rendon has noticed. Nolan Arenado, eight years, $260 million to stay in Colorado. Tuesday’s stunning news of Mike Trout’s gargantuan 12-year, $426 million deal. Both extensions.

Back at his locker Tuesday, the news about Trout’s deal spilled out from a flat screen TV in the middle of the Nationals’ vacant clubhouse. Rendon was tossing possessions into a cardboard box to send back to Washington a little more than a week before Opening Day. He pondered Trout’s deal.

“430?” Rendon said. “What do you do with all that money?”

That was an open-ended question, not an indication of Rendon’s negotiation philosophy when talking about a contract extension with the Nationals. Those discussions began more than a year ago. A new deal was offered in late February when Arenado, expected to provide the framework for a future Rendon deal in the District or elsewhere, re-upped with the Rockies. Rendon declined.

“We’ve had some talks in the past,” Rendon told NBC Sports Washington. “I think it’s kind of come to a halt lately. They had an offer out there [around the time of the Arenado deal]. It wasn’t to where we thought we should be. They said we’re going to continue to talk.”

Players appear to be reacting to two chilled winters of free agency, culminating with this offseason’s slog which delayed the conclusion of Bryce Harper’s pursuit of a new deal. The idea of signing an extension -- from upper- to middle-tier players -- is being re-embraced. Rendon has long considered the concept. He is also appreciative of the Nationals’ attempts to retain him.

However, it’s a unique situation considering the client. Recall Rendon made an early spring training statement by pointing out agent Scott Boras works for him, not the other way around. In addition, he’s focused on market value. Both ideas seem basic logic to him, and not specific to baseball. It’s an employee-employer relationship. This employee is paying an agent to work his contract into a place level with comparable employees at other organizations. 

Multiple dynamics are at work. Rendon enters the final year of his contract relaxed about the idea he could remain in Washington or go elsewhere if negotiations don’t pan out. He’s continually touted as one of the game’s better players, despite his efforts to swat back recognition. Nationals managing principal owner Marker Lerner has a distinctly positive view of him.

“We love Tony to death,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington earlier in spring training. “He’s certainly one of the greatest players in the game today. He’s an even finer person. His activities with the youth baseball academy back in D.C. are phenomenal. He does it under the radar. It’s very important to him. Just a great example of the way a professional athlete should conduct himself. Like I said, he’s one of my favorites for a reason.”

Rendon’s reticent public personality makes this a trickier process than most. Here’s what he is the last three seasons on average: 128 OPS-plus, 41 doubles, 23 home runs, premier defense at third base. Here’s what he is not: attached to the game as the end-all, be-all of his life.

“I feel like with those individuals -- with Arenado, when you have a talent like that who’s just as good as those other three guys that signed those big deals -- and Colorado understood that, so maybe they didn’t want to lose him,” Rendon said. “Whether that being Nolan saying he wanted to sign an extension because he didn’t want to test free agency or maybe it was Colorado saying that we don’t want to lose this awesome player that we have. So, I think the Angels maybe thought the same way because that guy is pretty good, too. 

“But I think as long as -- I think if your identity is not in the game, if you’re who you are as a person, you’re not using this to base who you are as a person. … Unless your identity is in the game, I feel like you shouldn’t be looking for that. If [an extension] happens, it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”

Rendon revisited that last line at the close of the conversation: “If it happens…” Then drifted off.

The Nationals tried. Again. It hasn’t happened yet.

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