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Nats end Mets perfect home record

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Nats end Mets perfect home record

NEW YORK (AP) -- An agitated Stephen Strasburg settled down in a hurry after a rocky start and the Washington Nationals became the first visiting team to win at Citi Field this season, beating the New York Mets 8-2 on Thursday night.

The Mets had opened 10-0 at home for a team record-tying 12-game streak over two seasons.

Washington took advantage of yet another error by shaky shortstop Wilmer Flores to rally for its third straight win, matching its longest streak this year. Bryce Harper hit two doubles, including a three-run drive in the ninth inning.

Strasburg (2-2) seemed out of sorts at the beginning. In his previous outing, a loss at Miami, he got into a pointed discussion on the bench with pitching coach Steve McCatty.

This time, Strasburg strayed to talk with plate umpire Tom Hallion following the first inning after a few close pitches were called balls. In the second, Strasburg gave up consecutive doubles by Flores and Kevin Plawecki and glared at catcher Wilson Ramos.

Ramos briefly went to the mound, and then zipped the ball back to Strasburg after a pitch. When Curtis Granderson hit an RBI single, Strasburg didn't back up the throw home.

That prompted a visit from McCatty, and they sat next to each other in the dugout when the inning was over. Strasburg flipped his hand a time or two, apparently miffed.

But when Strasburg came out for the third inning, he was a completely different pitcher. He wound up retiring 10 straight before getting pulled after his 100th pitch as the Mets threatened in the sixth.

Strasburg gave up two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out seven.

Jacob deGrom (2-3) was perfect through three innings. He issued a leadoff walk in the fourth and Yunel Escobar followed with a routine double-play grounder, but Flores fumbled it for his sixth error this year.

Jayson Werth's single, Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly and Ramos' RBI grounder put Washington ahead. Harper's double in the sixth set up RBI singles by Zimmerman and Ramos.

DeGrom allowed five hits and three earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Harper has reached base in a career-best 16 straight games. Nats center fielder Denard Span, on the disabled list earlier this year, left in the sixth and there was no reason given.

Washington reliever Sammy Solis made his big league debut, pitching two perfect innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon (left knee) had a full workout in the minors after missing several games because of tightness in his side. If he's OK, he's expected to play five innings for Double-A Harrisburg on Friday, manager Matt Williams said.

Mets: 3B David Wright, out since April 15 with a strained right hamstring, is "making progress," manager Terry Collins said. There's no timetable for him rejoining the team. ... RHP Rafael Montero will probably go on the DL because of stiffness behind his pitching shoulder, Collins said. Montero was brought up from Triple-A to start Tuesday and sent back to the minors after the game.

UP NEXT

An ace matchup Friday night when RHP Max Scherzer (1-2, 1.26 ERA) returns to the Washington rotation to face RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 3.04). Scherzer missed his last scheduled start after jamming his right thumb while batting. "I hope that thumb bothers him a little bit," Collins kidded. Harvey shut down the Nationals earlier this season and "is back to full force," Williams said. Harper is 0 for 10 with five strikeouts lifetime vs. Harvey.

MORE NATIONALS: Around the NL East: Marlins climbing out of early-season hole

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Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.

After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.

"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."

Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.

"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."

It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.

"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."

Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.

"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."

The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.

"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."

Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.

Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.

Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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