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Ross tops deGrom, but Mets top Nats

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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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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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It's been 13 years since Ryan Zimmerman hit his first career walk-off HR

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It's been 13 years since Ryan Zimmerman hit his first career walk-off HR

On June 18, 2006, a 21-year-old Ryan Zimmerman beat the New York Yankees with one swing. The once rising star who would later be nicknamed 'Mr. Walk-Off' launched his first career game-winning home run 13 years ago today. 

The blast marked the 10th long-ball of his big league career and came on Father's Day with his dad, Keith, in the stands. 

Fast forward to 2019 and the now 34-year-old owns a .279 career batting average with 267 home runs. 

But 2019 hasn't given him much of a chance to add to those totals, seeing how he's played in just 22 games after being placed on the 10-day Injured List April 28 because of plantar fasciitis

His recovery, though, is well underway. NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas reported Tuesday that the first baseman ran the bases and will do so again Wednesday. If these drills go well, look for the veteran to begin a rehab assignment as part of his continued efforts to return to help the Nationals make a run in his 15th season. 

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