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Wire Taps: Nationals drop sixth straight, A.J. Cole gets call, Anthony Rendon update

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The Washington Nationals dropped their sixth straight game last night and lost Yunel Escobar to an injured hand in the process. Escobar will miss a few days, the Nats are right back at it in Atlanta tonight in the second game of three with the Braves...

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Andrelton Simmons was on first when Doug Fister threw over to check the Atlanta Braves' shortstop. Fister sent the throw by Washington Nationals' first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and into foul territory. Danny Espinosa hustled to recover the ball and skipped a throw across the infield to where Yunel Escobar was waiting at third base. Simmons wasn't going to beat the throw. He slid late, cleat-first into Escobar's gloved left hand, knocking the glove off.

Escobar left the game rather abruptly, replaced at third by Danny Espinosa with Dan Uggla coming on to play second.

While Escobar was out, Nats' reliever Rafael Martin took it upon himself to respond, hitting Simmons with a fastball in the first at bat of the Braves' seventh. Simmons came around to score one of two runs Atlanta scored that inning and the Braves took the series-opener in Turner Field by a final score of 8-4, handing the Nationals their sixth straight loss.

After the game, Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked for an update on Escobar.

"Pretty sore," Williams said. "Pretty cut up. On his hand."

His initial reaction to the play?

"My initial reaction was that he was cut up pretty bad."

"Did you think it was a clean slide?" a reporter asked.

"I'm not going to comment on that."

Williams wouldn't comment, but some of the other Nationals did after the game...

The cuts were on Escobar's hand, Williams explained later in his post game presser, but the infielder didn't need stitches.

"No stitches required. No fracture. But he's pretty sore," Williams said.

NATS BEAT: Escobar's hand; Fister skipped; A.J. Cole in Turner Field...

Escobar injured:

• "Yunel Escobar is expected to miss a day or two after his left hand was cut in multiple places on a late, hard slide by Andrelton Simmons during Tuesday night’s game..." - "UPDATE: Nats upset at Simmons for injuring Escobar" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Escobar's bloodied hand was cut in two places by Simmons' spikes. Escobar did not require stitches or x-rays, but the nine-year veteran said he expects to miss a day or two." - "Nationals Pastime: Nationals upset with Simmons' 'ugly slide' that injures Escobar in 8-4 loss" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar, the hottest hitter on a stone-cold Washington team, was apparently injured..." - "Escobar leaves game vs. Braves with apparent injury" - John Donovan, nationals.com

Cole gets call:

• "Cole now becomes the fourth different pitcher to make his major-league debut for the Nationals in two weeks, joining relievers Rafael Martin, Felipe Rivero and Matt Grace." - "UPDATE: Cole to make MLB debut Tuesday night" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Right-hander A.J. Cole will start in place of Max Scherzer tomorrow, Nationals Manager Matt Williams said after Monday’s loss to the Braves." - "A.J. Cole will start instead of Max Scherzer Tuesday" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

Rendon scratched from rehab start:

• "'It's important to make sure for him that he just feels good with his legs and (si) able to play every day,' Williams said." - "Nationals Pastime: Anthony Rendon scratched from tonight's rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals, who went into Monday's game riding a five-game losing streak, could certainly use Rendon's help." - "Rendon scratched from rehab start due to fatigue" - John Donovan, nationals.com

• "Rendon was scheduled to play 7-to-9 innings at second base and bat third for the Senators but was pulled out of the lineup about an hour before first pitch." - "Rendon scratched from Harrisburg lineup with fatigue" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

Max Scherzer updates:

• "Williams said Scherzer, who hasn't issued a walk in his last 16 innings, had full command of his fastball. But he's still struggling with getting his slider to 100 percent." - "Thumb injury pushes Scherzer's scheduled start back" - John Donovan, nationals.com

• "As expected, Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start Tuesday in Atlanta." - "Max Scherzer will not start Tuesday, decision on his replacement to be made after Monday’s game" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

Nationals' losing streak hits six:

• "What exactly is going on right now with Fister? Whatever it is, he hasn’t looked like himself so far this season." - "Braves 8, Nats 4: Streak at 6 after another ugly night" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Fister's tough night ended after 5 2/3 innings. He allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts." - "Nationals Pastime: Losing streak reaches six as Nats fall 8-4 (Escobar injured)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals will instead start rookie A.J. Cole, the team's No. 3-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. The right-hander will be making his Major League debut." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - April 28, 201" - John Donovan, MLB.com Preview

• "The Braves, who had been held below five runs in five of the last six games of their recently completed road trip, erupted for five runs in two innings." - "Nats' rally falls short in series opener vs. Braves" - Jon Cooper and John Donovan, nationals.com

• "That 98-mile-per-hour sinker is rare and powerful enough to get outs by itself. But if Treinen can develop a strong secondary pitch to go with it..." - "Blake Treinen’s improving slider" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "'Oh, well, my wet newspaper is 34 ½ inches, 33 ½ ounces, and I’m waiting on some new ones right now.'" - "Madison Bumgarner takes a big swing at Max Scherzer over comments about DH rule" - Des Bieler, The Washington Post

• "The Washington Nationals visit Turner Field and are off to a muddling start of their own, sporting a low .282 wOBA and the fifth-worst strikeout rate at 22.8 percent." - "Fantasy baseball daily notes for April 28, 2015" - Todd Zola, Fantasy Baseball - ESPN

• "26. Washington Nationals (7-12, last week No. 17): Washington hitters have struck out 160 times, third in the majors, which may help explain this ranking." - "MLB Power Rankings: Mets make case for top spot" - Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News

• "Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons is equally adept at ranging to his left and right or charging ground balls on the run." - "Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons a humble human highlight reel" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN

• "Yet the Nationals entered Monday a full seven games behind the Mets. It is very early, yes, and these are still the Mets." - "The Mets: Second in New York, First in the NL East" - Brian Costa, WSJ

• NATS MINORS:

• High-A Potomac: "Pivetta was lifted after three innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on one hit, six walks and he struck out three, taking his second loss of the season." - "Potomac Nationals vs. Lynchburg Hillcats Game Recap 4.27.15 | Potomac Nationals News

• "Difo is hitting .323 and Ward .321. Difo's OPS is .966 through 17 games with seven doubles and three homers." - "Renda, Difo, Skole, Suero, Lively, Ward and Taylor shining early in Nats system" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "A pair of five-run innings by New Britain was too much to overcome as the Harrisburg Senators lost to the Rock Cats, 13-6, Monday at Metro Bank Park." - "New Britain Breaks Out In Win Over Harrisburg" - Perry Mattenr, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Right-hander Taylor Hill allowed just two runs in five and two-thirds innings in the game, but three Pawtucket pitchers combined to hold the Chiefs to one run." - "Syracuse Chiefs lose to Pawtucket Red Sox, Taylor Hill, Brian Johnson, Jackie Bradley, Jr." - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NL EAST UPDATES: Syndergaard impresses; Hamels rumors; Salty cut

Marlins: "The switch-hitting Saltalamacchia is 2-for-29 (.069) with a double, a homer, four walks and 12 strikeouts. His .389 on-base plus slugging percentage ranks last among 55 National League catchers with at least 29 at-bats." - "Marlins cut Saltalamacchia, on hook for remaining $14.2 million on contract" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel

Phillies: "Cole Hamels has always been important to the Phillies, but he is quickly becoming more and more important in the rest of the baseball world." - "Present tense: Hamels keeps focus on field" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com

Mets: "In the end, Mets top prospect Noah Syndergaard responded to the criticism that he received last week, not with words, but with dominance on the field." - "Syndergaard enjoys best start of Vegas tenure" - Anthony DiComo, mets.com