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hongwei28 Feb 10
As Boston Red Sox players donned red Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey , white and blue outfits to celebrate a 3-0 victory on the 4th of July that completed a sweep, the Washington Nationals held a players-only meeting to discuss a fifth consecutive loss and the precarious spot they’re now in beyond the halfway point of the season.

Done in again by small mistakes that get magnified in a stretch such as this, the preseason NL East favorites lost for the 17th time in 22 games Wednesday to fall below .500 for the first time this late in the year since being 60-61 on Aug. 21, 2015.

This time, it was a throwing error by Adam Eaton on a sacrifice fly in foul territory and a wild pitch by Ryan Madson (2-4) in a disastrous seventh inning that dropped the Nationals to 42-43 and kept them from making up ground on the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

”We’re a good team and we’re going to go out there and compete with anybody,” said Bryce Harper, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

”We just have to keep grinding and keep doing our thing and good things will happen. We’ve never been in this position before, and I think it’s an exciting time for us. In years past, we’ve won the division by a lot of games. We’re able to be behind right now and I’m excited to get there and test it.”

Powered by struggling outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two RBIs on the sac fly and a ninth-inning double and a strong start by Eduardo Rodriguez (10-3), the Red Sox moved 30 games over .500 under rookie manager Alex Cora.

”We know where we’re at, but we still have a long ways to go Aaron Ekblad Jersey ,” Cora said. ”(The Nationals) have a good team. They’ll figure it out. I’ve seen that before from them. They struggle a little bit and they’ll pick it up. They’ll be in the hunt.”

Bradley, who came into the game hitting .201, worked full counts on each of his at-bats that produced a run. He was hoping the ball Eaton caught deep in foul territory down the third-base line would go out of play so he could see another pitch but will gladly take the RBIs – the second time this season he has had two in a game without a home run.

”Just had to continue to battle and finally get a pitch I could handle,” Bradley said. ”Any time you can help the team win, it’s a positive. It’s good, any way you can do it.”

Rodriguez struck out six in six scoreless innings, mixing his change-up and slider in more often to keep Nationals hitters off-balance.

The Red Sox now have the first pair of 10-game winners in the majors with Rodriguez and Rick Porcello, whose double off Max Scherzer helped win them the first game of this series.

The Nationals have lost four series in a row. This freefall led to the postgame meeting Wednesday afternoon.

”It’s `Let’s get this thing going,”’ Nationals infielder Trea Turner said. ”We all know we’re capable of playing better baseball. It’s time we do it. It’s do or die now.”

FEDDE HURT

Nationals starter Erick Fedde left the game one batter into the second inning with right shoulder stiffness and gave way to left-hander Matt Grace, who allowed just one hit and struck out four in four innings of relief. Manager Davey Martinez said Fedde was scheduled to have an MRI.

”We watched him throw and his (velocity) was down,” Martinez said. ”He was out there and wanted to keep pitching. I went out there and they told me he was stiff and I said `No Youth Jamie McGinn Jersey , we’re not going to do that to you.”’

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said LHP Drew Pomeranz (biceps tendinitis) would most likely make a second rehab start early next week. … RHP Tyler Thornburg was activated from the disabled list after rehabbing from shoulder surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last June.

Nationals: 1B Matt Adams was activated after missing 16 games with a broken left index finger. To clear room, LHP Tim Collins was designated for assignment. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) is doing some catching, but still hasn’t done enough running to be ready to return.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After a day off, LHP Chris Sale (8-4, 2.41 ERA) brings a 15-inning scoreless streak into his Friday start at Kansas City, which is expected to start Jason Hammel (2-10, 5.56).

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 2.63) will look to last at least six innings to spare a heavily used bullpen when Washington faces RHP Pablo Lopez (1-0, 3.00) to open a four-game series against the Miami Marlins.

Rookie Jake Bauers and the Tampa Bay Rays made it a lost weekend for the New York Yankees. An injury to Gary Sanchez turned the trip into an even bigger loss.

Bauers led off the 12th inning with a home run and Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees with a 7-6 victory Sunday.

”It’s a crazy feeling,” Bauers said.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sanchez hurt his right groin/hip abductor trying to beat out a double-play grounder in the 10th and ”it’s probably going to be a DL situation.”

”What can I say?” Sanchez said through a translator. ”That’s the way baseball is sometimes. Now I’m just hoping it’s not a long time.”

Sanchez will undergo an MRI exam Monday.

Giancarlo Stanton doubled twice and homered while going 5 for 5 for New York. The Yankees had been the only team in the majors that hadn’t lost three in a row this year – this was the latest into any season they had gone without losing three straight since August 1954.

”Just a frustration weekend, but you just turn the page from it Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey ,” Boone said.

Bauers, who tripled earlier, homered on the first pitch from Chasen Shreve (2-2). Five previous New York relievers held Tampa Bay hitless for eight innings.

Brett Gardner opened the 12th with a bunt single that saw Rays reliever Jonny Venters strain his right hamstring and depart the game.

Venters hadn’t pitched in the majors since the 2012 NL wild-card game with Atlanta until joining Tampa Bay this season. The lefty had three Tommy John surgeries (2005, 2013, 2014) and another other major procedure in 2016.

Venters will be going on the disabled list

”Hopefully, it’s a mild strain,” Venters said. ”It’s disappointing, but injuries are part of the game.”

Ryan Yarbrough (7-3) replaced Venters and worked out of a first-and-third jam by getting a two-out grounder from Austin Romine, who replaced Sanchez.

Stanton hit a solo homer in the eighth off Vidal Nuno that made it 6-all. He reached on an infield single in the 10th before Sanchez hurt himself.

Nuno allowed one run over four innings.

Yankees pinch hitter Clint Frazier lofted a towering fly in the ninth that struck a speaker hanging from an overhead catwalk and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, as allowed by the ground rules at Tropicana Field, caught the carom for an out in shallow left.

Hechavarria missed time earlier this season with bruise near his eye when a ball took a strange bounce on the turf after striking a catwalk.

”As the play was happening Authentic Nick Bjugstad Jersey , once it hit up there, I thought about that last play,” Hechavarria said through a translator. ”That’s not going to happen again.”

Tampa Bay tied it in the second on Hechavarria’s solo homer, and went up 6-3 when Carlos Gomez had an RBI single and Jesus Sucre drove in two with a double off Domingo German during the third.

”It always nice to beat the Yankees,” Hechavarria said. ”And it’s good that they’re leaving here a little frustrated about getting swept by us.”

It’s the second time – also the Chicago Cubs in June 2008 – that Tampa Bay has a swept a series of three or more games against a team that entered a series with the best record in the majors.

Didi Gregorius and Stanton had consecutive run-scoring doubles in the fifth to make it 6-5. Miguel Andujar put the Yankees ahead 3-2 with a three-run homer in the second.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka, on the 10-day disabled list since June 9 with strained left and right hamstrings, threw 26 pitches in his first bullpen session. He will get on the mound again Tuesday.

Rays: Gomez started after missing Saturday’s game with a sore left wrist. He was hit by a pitch from CC Sabathia on Friday.

FIRST START

Yankees RHP Luis Cessa (0-0) will make his first start this season Wednesday night at Philadelphia. The move allows Sabathia to get a couple extra days of rest and start the opener Friday night of a three-game series with Boston at Yankee Stadium.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0) makes his third major league start Monday night against Philadelphia RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7).

Rays: LHP Blake Snell (9-4), with an extra day of rest, faces Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4) on Monday night.