Wire Taps: Nationals beat Brewers, Matt Williams ejected, Bryce Harper & Wilson Ramos rehab

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers. Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos helped the Potomac Nationals to a win. Matt Williams got ejected. Randy Knorr got to manage. All that and more in today's Wire Taps...

Washington Nationals' Bench Coach Randy Knorr was pressed into action last night in the 3-0 win in Milwaukee when Nats' skipper Matt Williams was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and particularly a called strike three on Danny Espinosa, who K'd looking for the first of three outs as the Nationals wasted a bases loaded, no out opportunity in the second.

The Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the third, however, with Adam LaRoche's three-run blast providing all the offense they needed to beat the Brewers. Knorr told reporters after the game that there was nothing to it.

"There's a couple hiccups, but that's expected, all year I think they're the best in the league and they showed it tonight again and they continued to show it." -Randy Knorr on the Nationals' bullpen

"This one was an easy one when we're winning," Knorr said. "Those are always easy, it's when you're losing and he gets tossed and you're trying to get back in the game."

Gio Gonzalez threw six scoreless then Aaron Barrett, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard completed the shutout.

"They're pretty good out there," Knorr said of the Nats' bullpen. "You feel pretty confident."

"They've been fantastic all year. There's a couple hiccups, but that's expected, all year I think they're the best in the league and they showed it tonight again and they continued to show it. And it's a good feeling when after the sixth inning and you know you can go to those guys and they're going to hold it for you."

There was, however, a slight deviation from the normal plan since Rafael Soriano was unavailable after pitching in three straight games on consecutive days.

"We always had them set up 7-8-9 with Soriano," Knorr explained. "Soriano's been pitching a ton over the last week and we figured let's just move them up. We'll give Drew the eighth and it gave us a chance, cause Clippard has pitched a lot and if we used Clippard before Storen and we scored an extra run we couldn't give Clippard that chance of not pitching today, but it didn't work out and he pitched and pitched great and it worked out for us."

Clippard got his first save of the season. The Nationals got their 40th win. We've got lots of links, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Harper said he is not using a special glove for defense, but does wear the Ryan Zimmerman-inspired mitt for baserunning to protect the thumb." - "Harper has single, walk and run scored, Ramos three-run homer for Potomac" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com


• NATS BEAT:

• "Bryce Harper reached base in both of his plate appearances, and Wilson Ramos went 3-for-4 with a 3-run homer Monday night in a rehab game with Class A Potomac for both members of the Nationals’ starting lineup." - "Bryce Harper reaches base twice, Wilson Ramos homers in rehab game" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Harper returned to the field for the first time since he tore a ligament in his left thumb April 26, playing three innings in left field Monday night at Class A Potomac." - "Bryce Harper starts rehab assignment, Wilson Ramos closes in on return" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Harper said he felt some vibration when he connected on his single, which aggravated his thumb. But he noted that's part of the process of returning from such an injury." - "Bryce Harper singles, plays three innings in first rehab appearance" - Daniel Popper, nationals.com: News

• "Williams was tossed by home plate umpire Mark Wegner for arguing balls and strikes, leaving Knorr in charge the rest of the way." - "Nationals Pastime: Knorr and Williams on the 3-0 win and the skipper's ejection" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'He goes, ‘So I’m getting a day off?’" Williams said with a laugh before Monday’s game. "‘I didn’t say that. I said you need a day.’" - "Matt Williams would like to give Ian Desmond a day off; Nationals need a pitcher Saturday" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Nationals manager Matt Williams was ejected during Monday's 3-0 victory over the Brewers. It marked the first time Williams was tossed from a game as a manager." - "Washington Nationals' Matt Williams ejected for first time as manager" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Matt Williams was ejected for the first time in his career as Nationals manager after arguing balls and strikes in the second inning on Monday night in Milwaukee." - "Matt Williams ejected for first time as Nationals manager" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• ""Straying from the scouting report, Gonzalez flipped 27 changeups the Brewers' way over six innings to silence what had been a screaming-hot offense." - 'Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers - June 23, 2014" - Adam McCalvy, MLB.com MIL Recap

• "Among pitchers, Strasburg, Soriano, in that order. Then Clippard. Stammen may never make an All-Star team but his three-year performance deserves it. Among players, only Rendon. LaRoche has been held back by missing 17 games -- a high number for good 1st basemen." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "First baseman Adam LaRoche and third baseman Anthony Rendon deserve votes." - "Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals need help at polls in All-Star race" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Leading the way for Milwaukee’s offense have been Ryan Braun (10 HR, 39 RBI), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.331 BA, 8 HR, 39 RBI) and a cast of all-around solid hitters." - "State of the Nats: Division leaders square off" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "Zimmerman scooped up groundballs and fired across the diamond with relative ease." - "Ryan Zimmerman takes grounders at third base" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Strasburg was disappointed that he wasn't able to attend Gwynn's funeral on Saturday." "Strasburg plans to quit chewing tobacco" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "At the end of the night, both the bottom line and the trend line were extremely positive for the Washington Nationals." - "Nationals headed in right direction behind strong pitching" - Mike Bauman, nationals.com: News

• "In the just-completed four-game series against the Braves, Espinosa connected for five base hits and was able to get some quality bunts down for singles to get on base." - "Espinosa widens stance at plate to help improve batting numbers" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Danny Espinosa has a history of a low batting average and a high strikeout rate, but he may have found the solution to his hitting woes." - "Nats’ Danny Espinosa has adjusted his hitting stance and it seems to be working" - Jason Butt, The Washington Post

• "With the second-place Braves idle, Washington is now two games ahead in the NL East." - "Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers - June 23, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Gonzalez climbed the mound at Miller Park on Monday to face the hot-hitting Milwaukee Brewers, the team with the best record in the National League, and he delivered six scoreless innings." - "Nationals vs. Brewers: In second start back from DL, Gonzalez impressive in 3-0 victory" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Zimmerman said he would ramp up his activity at third base in fielding practice over the coming days, mostly to prepare for when outfielder Bryce Harper returns after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb." - "Nationals Pastime: Zimmerman feels good after taking grounders at third base" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals hurler Jordan Zimmermann, a native of Auburndale, Wis., returns to his home state Tuesday night hoping to stay hot in what has been an incredible June." - "Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers - June 24, 2014" - Joe Morgan, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Harper has played center before and likes the position. In theory, Zimmerman could play left, Harper center and Denard Span could be benched." - "Why Tanaka may miss the All-Star Game — much to the Yankees’ delight" - Joel Sherman, New York Post

• "Junior James Bourque (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) of the University of Michigan baseball team has signed a contract to play professionally with the Washington Nationals organization." - "Bourque Inks Contract with Washington Nationals" - MGOBLUE.COM - University of Michigan Official Athletic Site

• "James Bourque, a 6-4, 180-pound right-handed pitcher from the University of Michigan, has signed a pro contract with the Washington Nationals organization." - "James Bourque signs with Nationals, gives up final season at Michigan" - The Detroit News

• "Jordan Zimmermann will experience another homecoming of sorts tonight." - "Former Pointer Zimmermann to face Brewers on Tuesday" - Stevens Point Journal Media | stevenspointjournal.com

• "One good outing. One bad pitch. That's all it took Monday night for the Washington Nationals to beat the Brewers, 3-0." - "Nationals 3, Brewers 0" - Michael Hunt, Three-run jack is all Nationals need

• "So who is the ace for the Washington Nationals, who have one of the best rotations in the National League?" - "Fister making bid to become Nationals ace" - David Driver, Yahoo Sports

• "But a closer look at the numbers says Roark, who's been great pitching for the Washington Nationals, belongs among the National League's elite on July 15." - "Steve Soucie: Wilmington's Roark deserves All-Star selection" - Steve Soucie, The Daily Journal: Sports

• NATS MINORS:

• "Another Washington Nationals draft pick is expected to make their Auburn Doubledays debut tonight." - "Doubledays Pregame: AAC player of the year Gardner expected to make Auburn debut" - Jeremy Houghtaling, Auburn Citizen

• "RHP Andrew Cooper (5-1) tossed three shutout innings in relief for Hagerstown to earn the win. He replaced starting LHP Brett Mooneyham, who went four innings in his 2014 Suns debut." - "Suns take first game from Legends 3-1" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

• "Wilson Ramos stole the Major League spotlight as the Potomac Nationals (3-1, 2-0) beat the Salem Red Sox (1-4, 1-4) 5-2 on Monday night." - "Ramos and Harper Shine in Rehab Appearances, Nats Win 5-2" - Potomac Nationals News

• "Pivetta, Ward, Laird Win Weekly Honors" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "An overflow crowd of 7,804 saw a major-leaguer on a rehab assignment lead the Nationals over the Red Sox 5-2 at Pfitzner Stadium." - "Rehabbing Nationals overshadow Red Sox" - Roanoke Times: Sports

• "At the start of the season, officials from the parent Washington Nationals promised more depth at both the major league level and throughout the organization." - "Streaking Syracuse Chiefs winning at a clip unsurpassed in at least a decade" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com

• "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, used a four-run eighth inning to race past the Durham Bulls, 7-4, on Monday afternoon." - "Chiefs rally late, finish sweep of Bulls" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Here's Bryce Harper's oven mitt: 'We're gonna go bake.'" - Nats Enquirer

• "When the USA scored for the second time during Sunday’s World Cup match vs. Portugal, international broadcasts caught a glimpse of a fan dressed as Teddy Roosevelt celebrating the go-ahead goal." - "Video Meet the man who dressed as Teddy Roosevelt at the World Cup" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Baseball Prospectus Invades Washington DC" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM

• "The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 33" - Josh Coleman, The Nationals Review

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Left-hander Andrew Heaney, who began the season as Miami's top prospect, certainly lived up to that billing in his Major League debut on June 19." - "Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies - June 24, 2014" - Joe Morgan, MLB.com Preview

Phillies: "Cliff Lee will throw his third bullpen session on Tuesday as he continues to progress toward a return from the disabled list." - "Cliff Lee nearing next step of elbow rehab" - Corey Seidman, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Mets: "Catcher Travis d'Arnaud is expected to join the team for tonight's game against Oakland." - "Mets notes: Travis d'Arnaud returns" - Matt Ehalt, NorthJersey.com

Braves: "Recently the Braves changed their lineup dramatically for the first time this season." - "What the Braves Lineup Changes Mean for You" - Ben Duronio, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

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