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Nats 2, Phillies 1: Harper homers, Scherzer dominates


Nats 2, Phillies 1: Harper homers, Scherzer dominates

GAME IN NUTSHELL: Max Scherzer and Sean O'Sullivan had squared off twice already this season prior to Friday night, with Scherzer prevailing both times. And in each of those games, the Nationals ace was buoyed by a Bryce Harper homer off O'Sullivan.

So what happened in meeting No. 3 of the season? The exact same thing. Scherzer once again pitched a gem against the Phillies, tossing eight innings of 1-run ball. And Harper once again homered off O'Sullivan, giving him three in three games against the big right-hander.

The Nationals' go-ahead run, though, came in large part due to Scherzer, who led off the sixth with a single to right and then busted it 270 feet around the bases to score on Ian Desmond's RBI double off the center-field fence. The crowd of 35,893 was particularly impressed with that aspect of Scherzer's night.

Drew Storen pitched the ninth, protecting a 1-run lead, securing his 13th save in 14 tries and lowering his ERA to 0.98. And the Nats notched their sixth straight win, their 18th win in 22 games to match a club record and continue a torrid stretch of elite baseball.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Harper's latest home run was yet another jaw-dropper. Not because of how far he hit it, but because of how he hit it. Down 0-2 to O'Sullivan, Harper took a close curveball for a ball, showing the patience that has become his hallmark this season. Then he somehow managed to connect on a high fastball at his shoulders and drive it over the left-field fence, an impressive display of power once again from Harper, who is just on an insane tear at the plate. At that moment, he had 11 homers in a span of 45 at-bats. How crazy is that? Consider that if you took away all his non-homers from that stretch and turned them into outs, he'd still own a .244 batting average. Just nuts.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Just as we've come to expect Harper to homer every night, we've come to expect dominance from Scherzer every fifth night. And Friday night was no exception. The right-hander gave up a couple of well-struck balls to center field in the early innings, with Ryan Howard and Odubel Herrera combining to plate the Phillies' lone run. But he was lights-out after that, working quickly and efficiently to toss eight innings on 110 pitches. In the process, he became only the second pitcher in Nationals history to go at least seven innings in seven straight starts. Only Livan Hernandez has bested that, with eight straight such starts back in 2005.

KEY STAT: Five of Harper's six intentional walks this season have come via the Phillies pitching staff.

UP NEXT: The middle game of this series features Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 5.98) and Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.24) on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Saturday.

MORE NATIONALS: Roark will return to Nats' rotation with Fister out

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All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

USA Today Sports

All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

There is inclement weather in the forecast for Tuesday evening both before and during the 2018 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

The rain could, theoretically, force the game to be delayed or even postponed, but the forecast shows the skies clearing up as first pitch nears.

Bad weather and MLB All-Star Games share a history in Washington.

The last time Washington hosted the MLB All-Star Game, in 1969, a bad rainstorm forced the game to be postponed from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon.

Even if the weather does let up and the game is able to start on time, there are sure to be problems with D.C.'s already-dense traffic. Roads are flooding and with more people on them than usual, getting to the game will surely be an issue.

All-Star Game Forecast

The worst of the weather seems to have already happened on Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the evening forecast calls for a slight chance of precipitation, with mostly cloudy skies and, naturally, a lot of humidity.

The issue, if there is any, would likely be with the All-Star Game getting started on time. That said, there's obviously still the chance for delays during the game.

Luckily, a full postponement seems unlikely at this point.

All-Star Game Traffic

There's hardly a worse place to drive in the United States during rush hour than in, around or through Washington. With the All-Star Game in town, there are already significantly more cars on the road than there usually are. Add rain and flooded roads into that equation and things get extra messy.

The George Washington Parkway, a main thoroughfare in the area, has already flooded.

One road in Alexandria, Virginia, is flooded and has cars scattered about.

Public transportation would seem to be the way to go, but even the Capitol South Metro Station in Southeast D.C. is flooding.

A brief history of weather and the All-Star Game

The first and only time the MLB All-Star Game was ever postponed because of rain was in 1969, the last time Washington was the host.

Three other times, the game has either been shortened or delayed because of rain, most recently in 1990 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. That game was delayed for over an hour but was still played.

All signs point to the game being played Tuesday night, but Nationals Park has definitely felt the wrath of this storm already.

On the bright side, if it's light enough when the game starts, there will probably be a rainbow somewhere in-view from the stadium, which should make for some pretty cool pictures for those in attendance.

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What to eat at the 2018 MLB All-Star FanFest

What to eat at the 2018 MLB All-Star FanFest

Before we begin, let's make one thing clear: if you're going to the MLB All-Star Game FanFest to eat, you're already doing something wrong.

There isn't really any good food there, but there are some interesting options. You can, of course, get a bunch of fried food and traditional ballpark fare. But you also have some more intriguing options, if you're feeling adventurous.

You could get what one concession stand claims to be an "Old City Style Philly Cheese Steak," some jerk chicken, various subs or even sushi, among other things.

But you're in D.C. for the day, and you only want to spend $40 on lunch for you and your date so you can still go out for what's sure to be an overpriced dinner.

The safest bet is to go to the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog stand and grab a pair of hot dogs for $7 each. There's a reason Joey Chestnut can eat 74 of these babies in 10 minutes. Having only spent $14 on your main course, you've still got money left over for drinks and a desert.

If you're over 21, there's a whole corner of the convention hall set up with a selection of adult beverages ranging between $6 and $7. If you're not, there's some fresh-squeezed lemonade at a nearby stand for only $5 — unless you want a large, that's $8.

Whatever you choose, it's time to head to the Dippin' Dots stand for dessert. They don't call it the ice cream of the future for nothing. This $6, five-ounce cup of ice cream pellets (it's better than it sounds) will soak up the rest of your lunch budget.

Riskier (and also more expensive) options include a $12 jerk, pineapple or curry chicken bowl or a variety of rice bowls from Hanaro Sushi for $15 apiece. Either of these choices will likely eliminate dessert from your meal, but who really wants dessert with lunch anyway?

When all is said and done, you're probably not getting a gourmet meal out of this experience, but you can at least enjoy a not-bad meal while you explore some of the interesting things about baseball.