The Jonathan Papelbon vs. Bryce Harper scuffle marked an embarrassing moment for a Washington Nationals team that has fallen well short of expectations.
Washington won't have to worry about any more trouble from Papelbon for the rest of the season, and Max Scherzer's latest solid effort helped it head into its road series against the Atlanta Braves starting Tuesday night on a positive note.
The Nationals (80-76) suspended Papelbon four games without pay after he attacked Harper in the dugout late in a loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. The closer also dropped his appeal of MLB's suspension for throwing at Baltimore's Manny Machado on Wednesday, meaning he won't pitch again in 2015.
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Harper originally said after the altercation that he was scheduled to have Monday off, but manager Matt Williams said Harper was out of the lineup because of his role in the incident.
''It's been a very difficult 24 hours for the organization,'' Williams said prior to Monday's game. ''Incidents like that in the dugout (are) not the way we want to play our games.''
Scherzer helped the Nationals move past it, pitching 7 1-3 innings of no-hit ball in Monday's 5-1 win over Cincinnati. Matt den Dekker homered for the second straight day and is 8 for 13 over his last three.
Washington, which was eliminated from postseason contention after New York clinched the NL East on Saturday, had lost five of six.
The Braves (62-94) can relate to Washington's frustration. They've lost their most games since 1990 and need to win one of their final six to avoid dropping 100 for the first time since '88.
Atlanta was swept in a three-game series at Miami over the weekend, and Freddie Freeman left Sunday's 9-5 loss in the third inning after aggravating a wrist injury that has plagued him most of the season.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Freeman is day to day.
"It's been a frustrating season for everybody, from a personal standpoint and team-wise," Freeman told MLB's official website. "Nobody wants this, but I think the gratification of coming out on the other side is going to be that much more fulfilling. When you come back on top after you've fallen, it's a better story."
Matt Wisler (6-8, 5.40 ERA) is part of the rebuilding process after being acquired on the eve of the season in a trade that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to San Diego.
Wisler has had his struggles during his rookie season, but he's posted a 3.79 ERA over his last three after beating the Mets last Tuesday. The right-hander, though, is 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in three starts and one relief effort against the Nationals.
He last started against Washington on Sept. 3 and gave up a season high-tying seven runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 15-1 defeat.
Tanner Roark (4-6, 4.76) gets the ball for the Nationals and is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation this month. The right-hander made his first start in that stretch against the Braves on Sept. 4 and allowed one run in 4 1-3 innings of the Nationals' 5-2 win.
Roark is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances in his career against Atlanta, with Freeman going 9 for 19 with four doubles in their matchups.