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Another night ended in a win for the Nationals, their 52nd. They extended their National League East lead to 3 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves, who lost, and took a seven-game lead over the Mets. They know the second half is long, and just beginning, but this game held weight. And they knew they couldn’t afford to lose it.

“These are very big games,” Espinosa said. “Right now, you lose a couple games and they’re right back in it. When we pull off wins like this, it means a lot for us.”