WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 19: Danny Espinosa (left) #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates his two-run home run with third base coach Bo Porter as he rounds the bases in the second inning of their game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on August 19, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Mets Vs. Nationals: Bryce Harper Breaks Out As Washington Wins, 5-2

Bryce Harper homers and triples while driving in two runs, while Gio Gonzalez improves his record to 16-6.

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Mets Vs. Nationals Recap: Bryce Harper Powers Nats Past New York

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals took the rubber match over the New York Mets on Sunday by a score of 5-2. Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez worked in and out of jams early, but with help from the defense he was able to get through 5.2 innings, giving up just one run on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts. The Mets made him labor, as Gonzales threw 110 pitches, but they struggled to take advantage.

Harper became just the fifth 19-year old to hit at least 12 home runs in a season and later added a triple as he drove in two runs. Second baseman Danny Espinosa added a homer of his own, his 14th of the season, in the Nationals' win.

Mets starter Jeremy Hefner took the loss. He was chased after five innings, allowed five runs on eight hits. The game started late after a near three-hour rain delay.

The first-place Nationals begin an important home series against the second-place Braves tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Tim Hudson will be on the mound for Atlanta. Washington has yet to announce a starter.

For more on the Nationals, visit Federal Baseball. For all things MLB, visit Baseball Nation.


Washington Nationals Lineup against Mets Released

Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond are in the Nationals' lineup this afternoon against the New York Mets after all -- it was reported that they would be taking a "day off" -- as the Washington Nationals have released the starting nine via Twitter. Here's the lineup:

Jayson Werth - RF
Bryce Harper - CF
Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
Adam LaRoche - 1B
Michael Morse - LF
Ian Desmond - SS
Danny Espinosa - 2B
Kurt Suzuki - C
Gio Gonzalez - P

In a rubber match against an NL East Rival, the Nationals have decided to play their best bats in support of Gonzalez, who is one win away from the Major League lead and the Nationals' post-Montreal franchise record. Last night, in a 2-0 loss, the Nationals' bats were rather tepid, a sharp contrast from Friday's 6-4 win which saw a Bryce Harper home run and a Michael Morse grand slam seal the deal for a 6-4 win. The Nats begin a three game home stand against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, so manager Davey Johnson is clearly working to extend his club's lead over the rest of the division.


Mets Vs. Nationals Preview: Gio Gonzalez Starts For Washington In Rubber Game

In a pitchers' duel between the Washington Nationals' Edwin Jackson and the New York Mets' Jon Niese, the Nats fell by a score of 2-0 Saturday on a lone Ike Davis home run in the seventh. With this home series now knotted up, the Nationals will turn to trusty lefty Gio Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29 ERA) against New York's right handed-rookie Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76 ERA) to win their last home series against the Mets for the 2012 season.

Gonzalez has been an excellent complement to Nationals' ace Stephen Strasburg since being acquired from Oakland -- so excellent in fact, that Gonzalez is but one win away from becoming the winningest single season pitcher for the Nationals' franchise since the move from Montreal in 2005. If the Nationals are to not only win today, but also to maintain their hold of the NL East lead without the to-be-shutdown arm of of Strasburg, the All-Star Gonzalez will have to both meet and exceed what is expected of him by fans and coaches.

Also with a win today, Gonzalez would tie Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Tampa Bay's David Price for the Major League lead in wins.

Gonzalez's last outing against New York was a successful one, as he led Washington to a 5-2 victory over R.A. Dickey at Citi Field with a seven-inning, two-hit performance which yielded one unearned run.

Right fielder Jayson Werth and shortstop Ian Desmond are expected to miss Sunday's contest with a reported "day off." More lineup information, including complete lineups of this rubber match, will be provided as soon as they are made available.

For more Washington Nationals, visit Federal Baseball or SB Nation DC. For more New York Mets, visit Amazin' Avenue or SB Nation New York.


Nationals-Mets Final Score: Nats Fall 2-0 On Ike Davis Homer

The Washington Nationals fell to the New York Mets 2-0 at Nationals Park on Saturday night.

Ike Davis' two-run home run in the seventh was the difference in a game dominated by the starting pitchers.

Edwin Jackson was terrific in defeat, striking out 11 in seven innings while allowing just the aforementioned pair of runs on two hits. His record now sits at 9-10 despite a very solid 3.69 ERA.

Jon Niese picked up his 10th win for the Mets by throwing 7.1 frames of shutout ball. Niese scattered just five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts on the evening.

Danny Espinosa was the only Nats player to have multiple hits with two. Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Jesus Flores each picked up one apiece.

Davis was the offensive star of the game, collecting two of New York's three hits including the game-winning blast. Mike Baxter also chipped in with a triple.

Sunday will bring the rubber match of this three-game set, with Gio Gonzalez going against Jeremy Hefner.

For more on the Nationals, please be sure to check out our blog Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for all the latest news and updates.


Bryce Harper Given Day Off For Nationals Saturday Game Against Mets

Friday night's game against the Mets marked the first time that the Nationals played with a full lineup, featuring all of their sluggers. Washington has the best record in baseball but the series opener against the Mets was just the first time Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, and Danny Espinosa were all on the lineup card for Davey Johnson. It was nice to have a fully loaded arsenal as the stretch run heats up, but that streak will last just one game as Johnson opted to give Harper the day off, via William Ladson:

Harper was reportedly not happy about sitting down but the Nationals need to be cautious and protect the players from themselves during the dog days of August. Harper proved to hit what was the winning homer on Friday, a laser into the right field bleachers.

For more on the Nationals, check out Federal Baseball and stay tuned to SB Nation D.C.Head over to Amazin' Avenue and SB Nation New York for more on the Mets.


Mets Vs. Nationals Preview: Edwin Jackson Takes The Mound In Game 2

The Washington Nationals will look to continue their streaky play on Saturday night in the second game of their weekend series against the Mets. A Michael Morse grand slam and a two-run homer from Bryce Harper clinched a win on Friday against Johan Santana. The pitching staff is a big reason for their strong play over the past two weeks and Ross Detwiler hurled another quality game on Friday, earning his seventh win of the season.

Edwin Jackson will now take the ball for Davey Johnson and try to clinch the series against the division rivals in game two. Jackson was a bit shaky in his last appearance in Arizona, giving up five runs in 5.2 innings. But, with the Nationals seemingly doing everything right these days, the effort was still good enough for the win. Jonathon Niese, who struck out eight and allowed just one run during his last start against the Nats, will go for the Mets.

Despite having the best record in the game, Friday marked just the first time all season Washington had their ideal lineup active and playing. That group will look to settle in during the stretch run and continue their winning ways on Saturday.

For more on the Nationals, check out Federal Baseball and stay tuned to SB Nation D.C. Head over to Amazin' Avenue and SB Nation New York for more on the Mets.


Mets Vs. Nationals Recap: Michael Morse Grand Slam Leads Washington To 6-4 Win

The Washington Nationals returned from their West Coast road trip and opened their weekend series against the Mets with a 6-4 victory at Nats Park. The Nationals' offense did their damage on two quick blows, with the big bats in the heart of the order coming through for Davey Johnson.

Washington led off the bottom of the fourth inning with three straight singles, as Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman set the table for slugger Michael Morse. With the count at 1-1, Morse took a Johan Santana offering the other way to right, depositing it into the bleachers for the Nationals first grand slam of the season. The crowd erupted at the park, and Morse came back out to the top of the dugout for a curtain call.

One inning later, it was another Nationals slugger who added two more with another ripped shot to right. Bryce Harper hit an absolute laser over the right-field wall that screamed into the seats. The two-run blast would prove to be the difference for the Nationals, as the Mets added two more runs late in the game to cut the lead to 6-4.

Tyler Clippard came on in the ninth and battled some wildness to convert his 26th save of the year. Clippard was firing high heat, but unfortunately a lot of it was well out of the zone. Clippard battled to strike out two. and with the tying runs on base, he induced a Ruben Tejada flyout to Morse to end the game. It sealed the 11th win in 13 games for Washington.

Edwin Jackson will take the mound on Saturday and try to keep the hot streak alive.

For more on the Nationals, check out Federal Baseball and stay tuned to SB Nation D.C.Head over to Amazin' Avenue and SB Nation New York for more on the Mets.


Ian Desmond Injury: Nationals Shortstop Reinstated From Disabled List

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond will return to the lineup tonight against the New York Mets. To clear space for Desmond, the Nationals have designated Cesar Izturis for assignment. This is according to the Nationals Twitter page.

Desmond, who has been sidelined since July 22 with a torn left oblique muscle, will bat sixth behind Adam LaRoche. Desmond had been red-hot before hitting the disabled list, batting .388 with 6 home runs and 17 RBI in his last 19 games. He was originally expected to miss five weeks, but the Nationals feel that he has sufficiently recovered.

Desmond was elected to this year's All-Star Game, but chose not to play so that he could rest his sore left oblique. The four-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Nationals. This season he has hit a career-high 17 home runs and stolen 15 bases in just 89 games.

Here's Washington's full lineup for Friday's series opener.

For more Nationals updates, check out SB Nation DC and Federal Baseball.


Nationals Vs. Mets: Matchup Of Lefties Opens Weekend Series

Ross Detwiler meets Johan Santana in the opener of a three-game series at Nationals Park Friday evening.

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