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Nationals tweak left side of bullpen

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Nationals tweak left side of bullpen

The Nationals have recalled left-hander Felipe Rivero from Class AAA, optioning Matt Grace to Syracuse to address a bullpen that was overworked and ineffective during this weekend's sweep in Cincinnati.

Rivero made his major-league debut April 17 for the Nationals but had to be placed on the disabled list after only one appearance when it was discovered he had gastrointestinal bleeding. Once that serious condition was treated, the 23-year-old was optioned to Syracuse, where he made five appearances, allowing two runs in four innings of work.

The Nationals needed a fresh arm in their bullpen after a rough weekend against the Reds in which the relief corps collectively gave up 14 runs on 19 hits and six walks over 11 2/3 innings. Grace was among the biggest culprits, allowing four runs without retiring a batter during Sunday's loss.

Grace impressed upon making his MLB debut, taking the roster spot that opened when Rivero went on the DL, with eight consecutive scoreless appearances to begin his career. He had labored more recently, though, retiring only two of the last 11 batters he faced.

The Nationals made another minor transaction Monday, acquiring right-hander P.J. Walters from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. Walters, 30, has spent time with five different organizations over the last three years and posted a 4.70 ERA in four starts with Class AAA Oklahoma City this season. He'll report to Syracuse and likely join the Chiefs' rotation.

[MORE NATIONALS: THE NATS HAVE A ROUGH WEEKEND IN CINCINNATI]

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Nationals Roundup: Austin Voth paces Nats to victory in Game 1 of annual Beltway Series

Nationals Roundup: Austin Voth paces Nats to victory in Game 1 of annual Beltway Series

The Battle of the Beltway Series kicked off Tuesday night in Baltimore between the Nationals and Orioles inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 

For the 31st time in 43 games, Washington emerged victorious with its 8-1 decision over Baltimore. A club that was once 19-31 returning home from a dismal sweep at the hands of New York in late May, has now won 13 of its last 16, 18 of its last 23, and 27 of its last 38 games. The Nationals remain the best team in baseball since May 24, and notched win No. 50 on the season. 

Player Notes:

The Nats have struggled to find a consistent fifth starter throughout much of this season. Is Austin Voth the guy? His six innings of four-hit, one-run baseball jumpstarted his second half of the season nicely Tuesday. The 27-year-old tossed 84 pitches, 57 of which were strikes. 

Prior to Tuesday, only 100 players had hit a ball that landed on Eutaw Street at Oriole Park. Matt Adams became the 101st to do so with his towering, 396-foot blast in the 2nd. 

The 20-year-old phenom continues to dazzle in and outside of Washington. Juan Soto's solo home run broke a tie with Ken Griffey Jr. for the 4th-most home runs before turning 21 in MLB history (39). 

To no one's surprise, 2019 All-Star Anthony Rendon scorched two more doubles Tuesday night. The third baseman now has a total of 25 on the season. 

Injuries: 

SP Max Scherzer: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Jonny Venters: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 18

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 16

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, Expected to be out until at least Aug 7

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 17

Coming Up:

Wednesday 7/17: Nationals at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park 

Thursday 7/18: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park

Friday 7/19: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

MORE NATS-O'S NEWS:

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Nats’ bats blast Birds in Battle of the Beltways Game 1

Nats’ bats blast Birds in Battle of the Beltways Game 1

Is it a rivalry? That's a discussion for another time. Was it a blowout? You bet.

The first matchup of the two-game series went to the Nationals with a final score of 8-1 Tuesday night. 

Austin Voth recorded his first-ever Major League win even with a shaky first inning. The right-handed pitcher spoke to reporters postgame, saying the ball was slipping more than usual. 

With the fifth spot in the starting pitching rotation up for grabs, Voth believes "this is another opportunity."

"I know the last two outings that I've had haven't gone my way," the pitcher continued. "But I felt like I was fighting back in the start to put my name back in fifth starter contention." 

He did just that tonight.

"He's pitched well. I like what I'm seeing," said Davey Martinez. "If he struggles for an inning or a few pitches, he has that poise and gets back into that rhythm and I kind of like that."

It wasn't just the bullpen launching the Nats to victory. Three separate players (Soto, Rendon and Adams) combined for two RBI each. 

The Nationals were playing both long and short ball Tuesday night, with three of their eight runs coming from solo homers.

Matt Adams launched a ball to Eutaw Street to start off the Nationals scoring. Plaques line Eutaw Street to mark the balls that land there, and Adams' ball becomes the 102nd in the ballpark's history.  

Juan Soto batted a foul ball off of his shin in the top of the sixth. He responded two pitches later with a solo home run. 

Post-game, Soto admitted it hurt but, "I just get mad. When I hit it I was like 'you [pitcher] hit me.' It wasn't me it was the pitcher. I just get mad and I try to hit the ball as hard as I can." 

There is a lot of history between these two teams. The Nationals may have taken the 2018 series from the Orioles 5-1, but the all-time record still goes to the O's, 45-40.

The history between these two teams is not just on the field. Managers Davey Martinez and Brandon Hyde spent three years coaching together with the Cubs.

This is the first of four matchups this season between the two teams. The second and final game of the series takes place Wednesday night at Camden Yards. 

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