Nationals even series with Cubs

Stephen Strasburg's brilliance can't save Nats from their October issues

Stephen Strasburg's brilliance can't save Nats from their October issues

It's a new game on a new day.

"The more at-bats I get", Harper said before Game 2, "the more comfortable I get". And so a lot of pressure falls on Gio Gonzalez, who takes the mound today for Game 2. The Nationals will start Max Scherzer, the NL Cy Young favorite whose strained hamstring prevented him from starting either of the first two games. So perhaps this could work out in manager Dusty Baker's favor. Harper swung and missed.

There was more than just exhaling going on at Nats Park.

The Cubs had tied the game on Willson Contreras's second inning home run that just seemed to float into the seats; I had honestly admonished him for flipping his bat on what appeared to me like a flyout to left only to watch the ball just keep carrying.

Giants WR Carted Off With Left Ankle Injury
OUT: After playing in 84 straight games, Giants DE Olivier Vernon (ankle) was sidelined for the first time in his career. Earlier in the game both Marshall and Shepard left with ankle injuries on separate plays in the half and did not return.

Because of days off in the schedule, whoever pitches in Game 2 could be available on regular rest to start Game 5, if there is one. I'll be posting pictures, videos and tweets, while also interacting in the comments section.

"I love you, Pop", Harper told his dad as he gave him a giant bear hug. Check us out on Facebook, on Twitter at @masnNationals, and on Instagram and Snapchat (masnNationals). Then Bryce Harper hit a mammoth shot to right, tying the game up at three.

Update: Game 2 is underway with a bang! The right-hander shut down the high-powered Washington Nationals for seven innings in the first Game 1 start of his postseason career, leading the Cubs to a 3-0 win Friday and 1-0 series lead.

Rizzo's blast was unusual because he hit a Gonzalez curveball, a hard pitch to drive over a fence, and because he became only the second left-handed hitter this year - along with Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves - to hit a homer off Gonzalez.

Las Vegas shooter booked rooms at Chicago hotel during music festival
Those seeking to know the motive of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock have had little more to chase than hints and shadows. The official stressed the information was preliminary and investigators haven't uncovered any solid evidence yet.

Update II: The Nats' first lead of the series didn't last long. The 32-year old, who has a 3.93 ERA in four career postseason starts (all no-decisions), lost to the Cubs in his lone meeting this season despite giving up one run and two hits in six innings. The Cubs will have Jose Quintana on the mound and the Nationals counter with two-time Cy Young Award victor Max Scherzer, who was pushed back in the rotation because of an injured right hamstring. "Relatives, friends, whatever. So when something happens like this, it's going to hit home".

Update III: The Cubs are again taking advantage of their baserunners. Anthony Rendon provided the offense in the first inning with a solo home run off left-hander Jon Lester that carried through the thick air to the Nationals' bullpen beyond the wall in right field. Robles spent part of the season with Double-A Harrisburg (and played against the Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond) before being called up in September. Since that time, millions of baseball fans around the world have subscribed to MLB.TV, the live video streaming product that airs every game in HD to almost 400 different devices.

Update IV: Bryce. Harper. Murphy singled to left to put runners on first and second for Zimmerman, who belted a three-run homer that barely cleared the fence in left field for a 6-3 lead.

The Cubs were lucky to break the game open.

Visitors USA post first win over India
The Indian players played a relative offensive game in the second half compared to the first and had a few opportunities to score. Four out of the six teams that finish third will also get a chance to proceed into the next round determined by goal difference.

After the game, while his teammates were busy getting showered and changed in preparation for a late-night flight to Chicago, there was Harper, standing outside the Nationals clubhouse in full uniform, sharing the moment with his father.

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