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Nationals 4, Red Sox 3

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BOSTON - Before Friday, the Expos/Nationals franchise was 0-9 at Fenway Park through the years of inter-league play.

Now, the record is 3-9.

The Nationals, as they are now known, completed a sweep of the Red Sox with a 4-3 win Sunday, the loss dropping last-place Boston two games under .500.

Bryce Harper drew a pinch-hit walk with one out in the ninth and, an out later, Roger Bernadina drilled a double down the right-field line, scoring Harper, running on a 2-2 pitch, with the winning run off Alfredo Aceves (0-4). Right fielder Ryan Sweeney overthrew the cutoff, eliminating any chance at getting Bernadina at the plate.

Jordan Zimmerman worked the first seven innings for the first-place Nationals, with Tom Gorzelanny (2-1) pitching the eighth for the win and Tyler Clippard the ninth for his third save of the weekend (No. 8 overall). Clippard walked pinch hitter Kevin Youkilis with one out and then notched his second and third strikeouts of the inning, getting Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was ejected in the bottom of the ninth for arguing balls and strikes, Valentine's second ejection as Boston's manager.

The Red Sox, who got three hits, including his 14th homer, from David Ortiz (1-for-13 coming in), went 1-5 on the homestand they completed Sunday. The Nats have won five of their last six.

Boston's Jon Lester, pitching on the sixth anniversary of his major league debut, gave up three runs in seven innings and failed to get a win for a fourth straight start (three straight no-decisions) despite a season-high nine strikeouts.

Washington took the lead with two runs in the seventh, as the Red Sox became victims of their own Green Monster. With two outs and runners on second and third, Danny Espinosa hit a high fly to left, a routine play in any other stadium but a wall-ball double at Fenway, good for two runs.

Podsednik's RBI groundout scored Ryan Sweeney with the tying run in the bottom of the inning.

The Nationals scored in the first inning when Espinosa doubled, took third on a fly out and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's groundout.

Washington's inability to turn a double play allowed Boston to tie the game in the third. Nick Punto walked and took third on Podsednik's one-out single through the right side. Pedroia then hit what could have been a double play ball but Espinosa's toss to shortstop Ian Desmond was slow enough to allow Pedroia to beat the relay.

Ortiz came in hitting exactly .300 and kept from dipping below that line for the first time this season with a double, homer and single.

NOTES: Harper, who had missed just a half inning in playing 37 straight games after his recall from the minors, was rested before hitting and drawing the walk in the ninth. He played the field in the bottom of the inning. Harper was hitting .338 with nine extra base hits in the last 17 games. ... Red Sox left fielder Daniel Nava was a late scratch with a sore left hand. ... A year after he had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, lefty reliever Rich Hill is back on the disabled list with tightness in the elbow, and he will see Dr. James Andrews for further examination. The Red Sox recalled reliever Mark Melanson from Pawtucket, where he had struck out 27 and walked three in 21 2/3 innings after being sent down following a disastrous start to his Red Sox career. "Melancon has been lights-out at Triple-A," Valentine said. "Every report was excellent ... He would have been back sooner if our bullpen wasn't doing as well as it has been." ... Edwin Jackson (2-3) faces Brandon Morrow (7-2) Monday night as the Nationals visit Toronto, continuing a run that has them play 32 straight games against the major league's two Eastern Divisions. Boston's Josh Beckett (4-6) faces his old team when the Red Sox visit Miami Monday night. The Marlins will start Josh Johnson (3-4). Beckett beat the Yankees in the sixth and final game of the 2003 World Series; he will face the Marlins for the first time. ... The Red Sox broke the Portland Trail Blazers' record of 745 straight sellouts, giving them the longest regular-season streak in American pro sports history. The Trail Blazers say the record is 814 because they count playoffs.
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