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Wire Taps: Nationals finish ten-game homestand 9-1, head to Nats Park North

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Matt Williams' description of the recently-completed homestand? "It was some hairy times and some not-to-plan moments," the Nationals' skipper said. Washington won nine of ten games. Now they head out to Philadelphia, Seattle and L.A.

Mitchell Leff

The Washington Nationals finished their ten-game homestand 9-1. Overall on the year, the Nats are now 75-54 with an 8.0-game lead in the division. The comeback win on Sunday was just another in a season full of them.

After the 14-6 win over the San Francisco Giants, manager Matt Williams was asked what if anything he took from the way the team continued to fight in spite of the fact that they fell behind early in the series finale.

"It's part of our DNA. We established that in Spring Training. And it's part of the way we have to play the game if we're going to be successful." -QOTD: Matt Williams on the Nats applying pressure

"Just that they don't quit," Williams said. "They don't stop fighting. I think that they feel it's important to continue to apply pressure even if we're down. Get some guys out there and have opportunities and they just did that again today. And we did that by bunching base hits together. That will help you along the way. Homers happen, but the fact that they bunched base hits together says something about approach and how they're going about it."

As for the homestand as a whole, which featured five walk-off wins which thrilled the crowds who turned out in the nation's capital? Williams had to be pleased with the results, right?

"It was some hairy times and some not-to-plan moments," the first-year skipper said. "But they just keep going. They just keep playing and they're having fun, they're prepared and they're able to go out and execute and that's all we can ask. They've done that all year. So, pleased with it? Yes. We have a very difficult road trip coming up and so we're going to have to play well on that one."

The road trip starts in Philadelphia tonight, moves to Seattle on Friday and finishes up with a three-game series in LA. next week. While you wait for the series opener with the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, here's some reading material.

All the links that are fit to print. Starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "There was optimism among teammates that he’d found a key, turned a corner — pick your pet phrase." - "Stephen Strasburg shows he’s no longer the Nationals’ obvious choice to start a Game 1" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Roark's top innings season was '13 with 159. This year he's at 160. He's the logical bullpen candidate for several reasons." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Although Strasburg’s offense picked him up with a late-inning barrage to win 14-6, it was a rough day for the right-hander and one that followed a familiar pattern." - "Fastball command a familiar foe for Strasburg" - Andrew Simon, All Nats All the Time

• "One walk around the Nats clubhouse after Sunday’s 14-6 win over the Giants and it was clear: what just transpired at Nationals Park over the last week-plus was quite unusual." - "Nats close memorable homestand with wild comeback win over Giants" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals showed Sunday afternoon that they don't have that give-up mentality." - "San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals - August 24, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The win pushed the Nats to 75-54 on the year and closed their homestand on a positive note, right before a nine-game road trip." - "Nationals come back to beat Giants 9-6 before big road trip" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "If the Phillies stick to a five-man rotation, Burnett is on pace to make 34 starts. The right-hander is 6-14 with a 4.42 ERA on the season." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - August 25, 2014" - Daniel Popper, MLB.com Preview

• "And the big picture shows the Nationals up eight games in the National League East after a 9-1 homestand." - "LaRoche on magic number: 'My advice is to keep winning'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "As Harper watched from the batter's box, the ball clanked off the yellow foul pole for a home run..." - "Harper continues power surge with homer vs. Giants" - Daniel Popper, nationals.com: News

• "Harper collects the bats not as artifacts, but as experiments. He likes to switch between bats to find out what feels best to him at a given time..." - "Why did Bryce Harper use Yasiel Puig’s bat? Because he uses everyone’s bat" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Harper is arguably playing his best baseball since April 2013 and it’s perhaps most evident in the type of hits he’s getting." - "Harper continues to heat up in Nats’ win over Giants" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "After that ridiculous homestand, the Nationals are in pretty good shape with 33 games left on their schedule." - "Nationals Pastime: Everyone contributing" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals finished their 9-1 stay at Nationals Park with two high-water marks: eight games ahead in the National League East and 21 games over .500." - "Nationals vs. Giants: Washington flexes muscle in 14-6 win over San Francisco" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "On top of his altered mindset, Thornton said manager Matt Williams has also aided his success significantly." - "Thornton thriving with Nats by throwing strikes" - Daniel Popper, nationals.com: News

• "Catcher Jose Lobaton, who tied a career-high with three hits, said he knows where Strasburg can work to get better command of his fastball." - "Hearing from Strasburg, Lobaton, Hairston, Harper and Espinosa after 14-6 win" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "During Sunday's Giants-Nationals game, a young fan tempted fate by running in between home plate and the pitcher's mound ... while Stephen Strasburg was warming up." - "Young girl runs in front of mound after pregame ceremony, braves Stephen Strasburg fastball" - MLB.com

• "At one point last month, Lobaton caught Doug Fister several times in a row and Fister posted a dominant string of outings." - "On Jose Lobaton’s defense and pitch framing" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "During Sunday's Giants-Nationals game, a young fan tempted fate by running in between home plate and the pitcher's mound ... while Stephen Strasburg was warming up." - "Young girl runs in front of mound after pregame ceremony, braves Stephen Strasburg fastball" - MLB.com

• "Manager Matt Williams said Cabrera is day to day moving forward, as the Nationals embark on a nine-game road trip that includes series at the Mariners and Dodgers." - "Cabrera day to day with rib-cage tightness" - Daniel Popper, nationals.com: News

• "Cabrera hurt himself in the seventh inning, when he hit a groundout to shortstop on an awkward half-swing." - "Asdrubal Cabrera day-to-day with tightness in right side" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera left with tightness in his right side after a swing in the seventh inning." - "Nats’ Asdrubal Cabrera leaves win over Giants with injury" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Manager Bruce Bochy pulled Vogelsong two batters into the sixth, He was at 95 pitches. He outpitched Stephen Strasburg. He didn’t want to come out and said he felt stronger as the game progressed." - "Bullpen gives it away after Ryan Vogelsong’s exit — SF Giants lose 14-6" - John Shea, San Francisco Giants: The Splash

• "Tanner Roark's strikeout rate is even lower than Shields', but the Washington Nationals righty has a more favorable matchup as the Philadelphia Phillies fan a bit above average." - "Fantasy Baseball daily notes for August 25 -- pitcher rankings, batter ratings, news, injuries, next level" - Todd Zola, Fantasy Baseball - ESPN

• "Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy had no shot of playing Sunday, but when third base umpire Paul Emmel raised his rabbit ears in the third inning, the two veteran starters were ejected for complaining that opposing pitcher Stephen Strasburg wasn't coming to a full stop in his windup." - "Giants' bullpen has complete meltdown in 14-6 loss to Nationals" - Alex Pavlovic, Inside Bay Area

• "The Giants' bullpen has remained extremely reliable. That's not the same as being perfect." - "San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals - August 24, 2014" - Chris Haft, MLB.com SF Recap

• "Manager Bruce Bochy pulled Vogelsong two batters into the sixth, He was at 95 pitches. He outpitched Stephen Strasburg. He didn’t want to come out and said he felt stronger as the game progressed." - "Bullpen gives it away after Ryan Vogelsong’s exit — SF Giants lose 14-6" - John Shea, San Francisco Giants: The Splash

• "Earlier in the week, they completed a stretch of five walk-off wins in six games and they're 17-5 since Aug. 2. All season, we've been waiting for the Nationals to click; they're finally clicking." - "Five things we learned on Sunday" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "Congress always takes an extra-long recess in August because Washington gets really hot in the summer." - "Kernels: Capitol Gains" - Doug Kern, Stats & Info Blog - ESPN

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Auburn: "Eleven Doubledays came to the plate, and a season-high seven of them scored to springboard the Doubledays to an 8-0 thrashing of the Williamsport Crosscutters." - "Doubledays wallop Williamsport on Sunday" - Evan Weston, Auburn Doubledays News

Low-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (40-23, 84-49) won back-to-back 7-2 games over the Hickory Crawdads (34-29, 75-57) over the weekend, thereby taking the three-game series in Hickory two games to one." - "Suns magic number down to one after series win over Hickory" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

• "Inside the Nationals’ front office, it’s likely no players have incited more excitement this season than [Reynaldo] Lopez." - "Nationals prospect Reynaldo Lopez is a name to know" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals (72-54, 34-23) split their Sunday doubleheader at Pfitzner Stadium with the Frederick Keys (59-68, 27-33) by losing 4-3 in Game One and crushing the Keys 12-1 in the nightcap." - "Potomac Nationals Doubleheader Recap vs. Frederick Keys" - Potomac Nationals News

• "When he entered the dugout in the middle of the sixth inning, [Ian] Dickson was told by manager Tripp Keister that his night was over after 98 pitches." - "Washington Nationals prospect Ian Dickson pitches six hitless innings for Potomac Nationals" - Kelsie Heneghan, MiLB.com News

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Harrisburg Senators fell in their home finale of 2014 to the Trenton Thunder, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon before 5,378 fans at Metro Bank Park." - "Trenton Bests Harrisburg in Sens' Home Finale" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News

• "Sprinklers kicked on to water the field at Metro Bank Park late Sunday afternoon after the Harrisburg Senators completed the home portion of their 2014 season." - "Harrisburg Senators bid farewell to Metro Bank Park for 2014 before finishing on road" - Tim Leone, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost 5-3 to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday afternoon." - "Brandon Laird homers in Syracuse Chiefs' loss to Lehigh Valley IronPigs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Another week of minor league baseball is in the books. Here’s a look around the Washington Nationals’ farm system." - "Washington Nationals: Minor League and Prospect Report for August 24th" - Brian Skinell, District Sports Page

• "Taylor, 23, was named the 2014 Eastern League Rookie of the Year after hitting .313 with a .396 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging percentage in 98 games with Double-A Harrisburg this season." - "Michael A. Taylor named Eastern League Rookie of the Year" - Amanda Comak, Curly W Live

• NATSTOWN:

• "For the first time since late-April, the Phillies have won consecutive series. This past week, they took 2-of-3 from the Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals." - "Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• "The Nationals finished their homestand an unbelievable 9-1, and are winners of 12 of their last 13 games." - "Nats Mount Huge Comeback, Score 14 in Romp of Giants" - Andrew Flax, The Nats Blog

• "The Nats took two out of three from the Giants and expanded their division lead from seven to eight games." - "After successful weekend of baseball, Nats look to expand division lead" - Mark Buterbaugh, DC Pro Sports Report

• "Monday Super Quickie - A sacred calling" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Rally Pigeon, who was trending on Twitter and featured on the Nationals Park scoreboard, was hailed as a feathered hero." - "Rally Pigeon sparks Nationals to win over Giants in series finale" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "In front of 35,000-plus at Nationals Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for baseball, the Washington Nationals defeated the San Francisco Giants by a score of 14-6 to end their 10-game homestand." - "Washington Nationals Game 128 Review: Nats Blow Past Giants, Win Series" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Bartolo Colon laughed when asked about the possibility that the Mets may trade him prior to Sunday's waiver Trade Deadline." - "Mets have multiple options in potential deal for Colon" - Anthony DiComo, mets.com: News

Phillies: "For the second week in a row, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg began his Sunday at the ballpark by having a meeting with an unhappy player." - "Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg meets with unhappy players … again" - Jim Salisbury, HardballTalk

Marlins: "Stanton, who was batting .299/.405/.564 with 94 RBIs heading into Sunday afternoon's contest against the Rockies, has made it clear he wants to play for a winning team." - "Ken Rosenthal: Miami Marlins should still trade Giancarlo Stanton" - Scott Gelman, Fish Stripes

Braves: "The worst of the schedule is behind them, and the Atlanta Braves are a game behind San Francisco for the second wild card. That’s the good news." - "Good news: The toughest part is behind the Braves" - Mark Bradley, Mark Bradley blog