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Ross tops deGrom, but Mets top Nats


Ross tops deGrom, but Mets top Nats

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Jacob deGrom may be the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and may have been coming off a lights-out performance in the All-Star Game last week, but for six innings Tuesday night, Joe Ross was the more-impressive young right-hander on the mound at Nationals Park. Then came the top of the seventh, when this game abruptly turned in the Mets' favor and continued down that path until it was too late for the Nats to recover.

Eric Campbell's 2-run single to right off Aaron Barrett (who was brought in to replace Ross) turned a 1-run Nationals lead into a 1-run Nationals deficit. That clutch hit came shortly after first baseman Clint Robinson couldn't handle a grounder to his left, an error that set in motion the Mets' go-ahead rally. Poor defense became a common theme late, with Bryce Harper overthrowing the plate by 20 feet on the decisive hit and Matt den Dekker's throw to second base skipping past Danny Espinosa to help set in motion the Mets' 4-run rally in the top of the ninth that put the game out of reach.

Ross had been fantastic, allowing one run over his first six innings and out-pitching deGrom, who was no slouch himself in allowing just two runs (on Wilson Ramos' homer) during his six innings of work. But with his teammates unable to mount anything more at the plate, Ross was left to take a hard-luck loss.

The Nationals, meanwhile, looked mighty sloppy in the field one night after playing their best defensive game of the season. And so they have seen their lead in the NL East drop back to 2 games entering Wednesday afternoon's series finale.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: For a brief while, it looked like Ramos would be the offensive star of the night. The Nats catcher had only 10 hits over his previous 64 at-bats, only two of them for extra bases. But he managed to stay back on deGrom's 98-mph fastball over the outside corner and drilled it to right field, just over the wall for a 2-run homer. That's the kind of swing Ramos consistently shows when he's in a good groove at the plate, and it's the kind of swing he hasn't shown much of late. If that's a sign of things to come, the Nationals will be all the better for it.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Making his first big-league start in a month, Ross picked up right where he left off. The 22-year-old right-hander was aggressive, going right at New York's hitters, using his fastball and slider effectively and not looking at all unprepared for the moment. His only real hiccup came in the top of the fourth, when he needed 29 pitches to get out of a jam with only one run scoring. Yes, two more runs scored in the top of the seventh, but that was a direct result of Robinson's fielding error and then the 2-run single Barrett allowed to Campbell. In the end, Ross allowed two earned runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking none and striking out four ... yet took the loss. Tough outcome for the rookie on this night.

KEY STAT: With an 0-for-3 performance Tuesday, Bryce Harper has gone hitless in in back-to-back games for the first time since May 4-5 vs. the Marlins.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday with another great pitching matchup. It's Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.27) for the Nats and Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 3.05) for the Mets.

RELATED: Williams on Ripken helping Desmond; Taylor on his catch

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Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

Nats prospect update: Three minor-leaguers sent to Kansas City for Kelvin Herrera

The biggest story in Nationals prospects this week is the three Washington lost to the Royals in return for closer Kelvin Herrera. Here’s a look at what the Nationals gave up to add more depth to the bullpen.

Kelvin Gutierrez, AA 3B

The infielder, formerly on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, has posted a .285/.344/.388 line through his six-season minor league tenure. One of his greatest strengths is his speed, with 55 career stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits this season. His other notable tool is his powerful arm strength, which may help explain his transition from shortstop to the hot corner.

Blake Perkins, High A OF

The Nationals chose outfielder Blake Perkins in the second round of the 2015 draft. He has quite a bit of room to improve at the plate, batting .234/.344/.290 this season in Hagerstown. However, what he lacks offensively, he makes up for in the outfield. According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, Perkins has “plus speed, mature instincts, excellent routes and an above-average arm.”

Yohanse Morel, RHP

The biggest wild card of the group, Morel is a 17-year-old outfielder-turned-pitcher from the Dominican Republic. His fastball reaches 95 mph and he certainly has huge potential for growth. He has not yet pitched in the U.S. since making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in early June.

So, what did the Nationals gain?

Right-handed closer Kelvin Herrera is a two-time All-Star who is currently in the midst of a stellar season. In his Nats debut, he needed just six pitches to shut down the Orioles in the eight. The team is reportedly (and understandably) thrilled to have Herrera joining the roster. Adam Eaton said, "I'm so happy he's here and he's on my team and I don't have to face him anytime in the near future."

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Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .