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Wire Taps: Nationals salvage finale with Phillies, prepare for Braves' visit to D.C.

The Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time in six games on Sunday. Now they prepare for a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves in Nats Park. The Nationals start the series with a seven-game lead in the NL East.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies' leadoff man Ben Revere singled to start the top of the eighth of the finale of the three-game set with the Washington Nationals on Sunday in D.C. Revere lined to center off Tyler Clippard in what was then a one-run game, and when pinch hitter Chase Utley failed to move him into scoring position, popping out to short in the next at bat, Revere tried to do it himself.

With Jimmy Rollins at the plate, Revere took off for second and was initially called safe by second base ump Adrian Johnson. It was close, but Revere appeared to have reached the bag with his left hand as Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond collected the throw from Jose Lobaton.

"So we called up and we had trouble with the phone. Randy called and we didn't get anybody. Then they called and he picked up, they still couldn't get through..." -QOTD: Matt Williams on trouble challenging eighth inning call at second

There was action in the first base dugout as soon as Revere was called safe, and the Nationals challenged the call.

Nats' skipper Matt Williams said they were ready for Revere to try to steal second, watching closely and pretty sure his left hand was blocked by Desmond's right foot, which was planted firmly in front of the bag.

"We know that he's going to try to steal there, certainly," Williams told reporters after the Nationals' 3-2 win.

"The throw took Desmond into the play, and so the way he went to catch the ball his foot was there and it looked as if his left hand got caught. So we called up and we had trouble with the phone. [Bench coach] Randy [Knorr] called and we didn't get anybody. Then they called and he picked up, they still couldn't get through so the third time it worked, so it took a little while to make the decision, but they saw that his hand got caught on Desi's foot."

The umpires saw the same thing when they looked at the replay and the call was reversed. Revere was off the basepaths.


Jimmy Rollins walked, but Grady Sizemore's swinging bunt ended the inning with the score still 3-2 in the Nationals' favor and they ended up winning when Drew Storen retired the side in order in the ninth, avoiding a sweep after dropping the first two games of the three-game set.

Instead of a runner on second with one out in a one-run game, the reversed call helped Clippard to a scoreless frame.

It was one small moment in the series finale with the Phillies, but in a tightly-contested game, it ended up being an important call to get right and Williams and his staff were on it.

The Nationals are down with the Phillies for the season, having won 9 of 19 games against their NL East rivals.

Tonight the Nats start a three-game set with the division's second place team, the Atlanta Braves.

Game Time: 7:05. Until then links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "The Nationals’ talented pitching staff has a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB), which is on pace to be the best ever (since the modern era began in 1900)." - "The Nationals pitching staff is on pace to break an all-time record" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The left-hander has only been in Washington for a month, but in that month, he has been one of the most reliable arms in the bullpen." - "Nationals reliever Matt Thornton, 37, proving to be a valuable pickup" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "Scott Hairston doesn’t start often for the Nationals, but when he does, there’s a good chance the Phillies’ Cole Hamels is on the mound." - "Hairston embraces challenge of Hamels matchups" - Andrew Simon, All Nats All the Time

• "For the first time in a season during which he has battled a shoulder injury and command issues, Gonzalez avoided walking a single batter." - "Gio Gonzalez walks none in start for first time this season" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Roark recognizes he is pitching more than he ever has before, with the potential to pitch significantly more should the Nationals make a deep run into October." - "Nationals monitoring Roark’s workload down the stretch" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "This will be Mattheus' third stint with the Nationals this season. He's pitched a combined 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run." - "Nats recall reliever Mattheus, outfielder Taylor" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "With one victory today, the Nationals avoided a sweep by the Phillies, extended their lead in the National League East to seven games, trimmed their magic number to 14..." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams meets with the media after 3-2 win over Phillies" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Washington leads Atlanta by seven games in the NL East, and the Braves have to hope the success that has gone into their 22-10 record against the Nationals since the start of last season will continue." - "Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - September 8, 2014" - Joe Morgan, MLB.com Preview

• "Combined with the Braves’ loss in Miami, the Nationals now enter this week’s big series against Atlanta holding a 7-game lead and a magic number of 14 to clinch the NL East title." - "Instant analysis: Nats 3, Phillies 2" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "After a review of 46 seconds, the play was overturned and Revere was called out. The potential tying run was consequently erased, and the Nats went on to win, 3-2." - "Nats' win aided by Williams' successful challenge" - Bill Ladson, Elliot Smith, nationals.com

• "As Rafael Soriano sorts out his struggles with a break from the ninth inning, the Nationals will lean on the closing experience of their other late-inning relievers." - "Nationals turn back Phillies, 3-2, behind Adam LaRoche, Gio Gonzalez and Drew Storen" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "The door to the right-field bullpen swung open, and as the crowd of 29,108 began to recognize a familiar figure and a familiar walk-in song emerging..." - "Storen saves the day in return to closer’s role" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "It was Storen's first save since June 30 against the Marlins. Closing games is nothing new for Storen. After all, he saved 43 games for Washington in 2011." - "Storen impresses in rare save opportunity" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "The right-hander jogged from the bullpen to a chorus of 'Drewwww!' and did what Soriano has struggled to do since the All-Star break." - "Drew Storen slams door as Nationals put away Phillies" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "The win could not have come at a better time as the Nats begin a three-game series with the Braves tomorrow night." - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Storen, Gonzalez, LaRoche and Hairston after win over Phillies" - Courtney Lofgren, MASNSports.com

• "With the victory, Washington reduced its magic number to 14, as the Braves were blanked by the Marlins, 4-0." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - September 7, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Will move Storen to head of this pen, but expect Clippard to mix in as well with Soriano out of the gig for now." - "Bullpen Report: September 7, 2014" - Colin Zarzycki, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "At the top of the free agent list may be Melky Cabrera followed by Denard Span, who has a $9 million club option by Nationals, Bonifacio who once again hits the free agent road, Alberto Callaspo and Colby Rasmus." - "Cubs Leadoff Man/Center Fielder An Offseason Priority" - Bruce Levine, CBS Chicago

• "Former MCC star Tyler Moore also made a return to the Major League level earlier this week as the Washington Nationals recalled him for the final month of the season." - "Former MCC baseball stars doing well in major leagues" - Robby Atkinson, Meridian Star

• "The Braves ventured out on this latest three-city trip talking about a need to at least win every series and hopefully sweep one or two to boost their postseason chances." - "Braves shut out, lose game, series, season series to Marlins" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

• "Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels has dominated many hitters, but Washington journeyman leftfielder Scott Hairston isn't one of them." - "Phillies Notes: Hamels has hard time with Hairston, LaRoche" - Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer

• "Cole Hamels didn't balk in a run yesterday afternoon, but his balk did lead to the game-winning run..." - "Phillies Notebook: Phillies on wrong side of reviews" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

• NATS MINORS:

• "DH John Wooten propelled a three run home run in the top of the sixth inning to left field to give the Potomac Nationals (3-1, 1-1) a 3-0 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (3-2, 3-2) in Game Two of the Mills Cup Championship Series." - "Potomac Evens Championship Series At One With Wooten HR" - Potomac Nationals News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Since Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president, Abe the racing president wears jersey No. 16. What does it say about Nats fans that so many of us adore the hapless Teddy..." - "Nationals Magic Number: 16 (Again)" - Zach Rausnitz, City Desk

• "The Great Emancipator kicked off the current homestand Friday night with a presidents race victory to move within 6 games of Teddy Roosevelt in the hunt for the season title..." - "Video: Teddy loses, but his magic number drops to 2" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Oh, hey, Drew Storen is the Nats closer again" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "The Marlins are clinging to a slim postseason hope and are three games under .500." - "Miami Marlins at Milwaukee Brewers - September 8, 2014" - Stephen Planovich, MLB.com Preview

• "Three-fifths of the rotation is 24 years old. Still, Miami has shut out an opponent 15 times this season, two more than 2013, even with 13 different starters taking the mound following the absence of ace Jose Fernandez." - "In taking season series from Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins show continued growth" - Christina De Nicola, FOX Sports

Phillies: "Cole Hamels didn’t try to rationalize anything after suffering his first loss in over a month Sunday afternoon." - "Cole Hamels hit hard in 1st loss in over a month" - Jim Salisburg, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Braves: "Freddie Freeman will likely never understand why he struggled so mightily against the Marlins this season." - "Freeman's season-long woes vs. Marlins over" - Mark Bowman, braves.com

Mets: "Noah Syndergaard will have to wait until at least 2015 to make his major league debut." - "Oh, Noah! Syndergaard not among September call-ups" - Mike Puma, New York Post