5-Run Nationals' 6th Gives DC Seventh Win.
The DC Faithful have seen how it happens so we know how it works, but to see it go against someone else and in the Nationals' favor for a change was something to behold. The Houston Astros have a 4-2 lead after five innings, with Washington rallying for two-runs in the bottom of the fifth on Elijah Dukes' and Austin Kearns' RBI singles. DC starter John Lannan, after giving up three runs in the Astros' fifth, comes back for the sixth and retires the 'Stros in order...
...Lefty reliever Wesley Wright replaces Astros' starter Brian Moehler for the bottom of the sixth and issues a leadoff walk to Anderson "Elvis" Hernandez. Pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard flies out...and then it begins...Cristian Guzzzzz-man singles. Nick Johnson's Discerning Eye draws a walk to load the bases, Wright out, right-hander Felipe Paulino in...Ryan Zimmerman...walks in a run...4-3 Houston. Adam Dunn gets down 0-2, takes two and waits on a 2-2 curve that the Big Donkey lines to right, two runs score, 5-4 Nationals. Elijah "Super" DUKES singles, Zimmerman scores, 6-4 DC. Austin Kearns' takes one on the jersey. Bases loaded? WWJD? Jesus Flores pops out. Anderson "Elvis" Hernandez...walks for the second time in one inning, Dunn walks home from third, 7-4 Nationals. Paulino out. Jeff Fulchino in...Ronnie Belliard makes the last out, 8 batters after he made the first...
Lannan Limits Damage, Nationals' Hitters (Walkers?) Come Through In Win.
DC lefty John Lannan earned his first win 6 starts into the '09 season by hanging around long enough for the Washington Nationals to get to the beleaguered Houston bullpen. Lannan gave up a bunt single on a rain-soaked infield to Astros' leadoff hitter Kazuo Matsui in the first and watched the runner come around to score when Elijah Dukes misjudged a line drive out of the mist by Lance Berkman.
In the 5th, Lannan gave up back to back singles to start the frame and back to back one-out doubles to score three and put Houston ahead 4-0, but the second double was well played by Elijah Dukes in center and Anderson Hernandez, whose relay throw to third caught Michael Bourn trying for three. And in spite of allowing two more singles, Lannan got the third out and escaped further damage.
Following a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the frame, Lannan's replaced in the Nationals' sixth when the DC rally puts them ahead for good, Lannan lasts long enough to claim his first win:
THE KIDS CALL IT THE STREAK!!! IT'S 22-GAMES LONG!!!
It didn't take the Washington Nationals' Face of the Franchise© long to stretch the streak to 22-straight games, as Ryan Zimmerman singles in his first at bat against Houston starter Brian Moehler and singles of Moehler again in the third. Zimmerman doubles and scores in the fifth, walks and scores in the sixth and doubles in a run before scoring another in a two-run seventh to put DC ahead 9-4, leaving Ryan Zimmerman 4 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 singles, 2 RBI's, 3 runs scored and a .333 AVG after 24 games and 102 at bats in which he's now collected 11 doubles, 5 HR's and 18 RBI's, with 10 walks, a .393 OBP, .588 SLG, .981 OPS...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!
Better Your Bullpen...
After Houston starter Brian Moehler allows 8 hits and 2 ER in 5.0 innings, lefty Wesley Wright replaces Moehler for the sixth and allows 1 hit, 2 walks and 3 ER in 0.1 IP. Felipe Paulino relieves Wright and surrenders 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 ER in 0.1 IP, and Jeff Fulchino gives up 4 hits, 2 walks and 2 ER in 2.1 IP.
Lannan puts in 6.0 innings of work, and is replaced by "Wild" Joel Hanrahan who pitches his best inning of the year, overpowering Geoff Blum, Kazuo Matsui and Michael Bourn for a quick, scoreless frame...and then Garrett "What Me Worry?" Mock comes on with two scoreless, allowing just 1 hit in the eighth before retiring the Astros in order in the ninth.
For The Completists, Full Game Report (Currently Unedited) After The Jump...
Nationals now 7-17.
Houston Astros at Washington Nationals. Game 24 of 162.
Kaz Matsui bunts the first pitch of the game down the third base line for a leadoff runner on a bunt single. Michael Bourn up, Kaz Matsui gets picked off by DC lefty John Lannan and beaned by Nick Johnson’s throw to second, Matsui's safe. Lannan hangs a 2-2 curve to Bourn, who flies to Elijah Dukes in center for the first out of the game. Lance Berkman hits a line drive to center, and Dukes completely misjudges it and has it fly over his head. Matsui scores. 1-0 Astros. Berkman tries to steal on Jesus, and Jesus Flores puts the throw on the third base bag, right in Ryan Zimmerman’s glove, "You're OUT!". El Caballo grounds out to Cristian Guzman at short to end the Astros' first...Cristian Guzman grounds the second pitch he sees out to second. Nick Johnson’s Discerning Eye draws him a walk. Ryan Zimmerman rips a single under a diving Miguel Tejada to the left of second. Johnson advances. ‘Stros starter Brian Moehler throws a full count fastball by Adam Dunn for the second out. Elijah Dukes takes strike three inside to end the first.
Cristian Guzman fields and throws to first in time to get Miguel Tejada for the first out. Hunter Pence takes 3-1 pitch way outside and walks with one down. Lannan drops a two-strike slider on Jeff Keppinger and gets a grounder to short, Guzman to Anderson Hernandez to Nick Johnson at first, double play...Austin Kearns rips a grounder right back up the middle. Anderson Hernandez punches another single to the left of second and into center. John Lannan K’s trying to bunt a two-strike sinker. Cristian Guzman lines the first pitch right, Pence has it.
Houston catcher J.R. Towles gets hold of a 3-1 pitch, but flies out to center. Brian Moehler skies one to Dukes. Kaz Matsui draws a two-out walk. Michael Bourn hits the third and final out of the inning to Dukes...Nick Johnson flies out to Hunter Pence in left. Ryan Zimmeran beats Miguel Tejada to the backhand. Adam Dunn lifts a 1-2 pitch to the grass in front of the track in left. Elijah Dukes chases strike three into the dirt, 1-0 Astros after three.
Cristian Guzman picks it up at his shoes and throws to first in one motion to get Berkman at first to start the fourth. El Caballo doubles over Dukes’ head in center. Miguel Tejada grounds to Zimmerman at third, Zim throws to first. Guzman fields and throws while charging Pence’s grounder and the Guz is on target, Lannan's through four...Austin Kearns chops one to Keppinger at third. Jesus Flores splits the gap in left center and hustles around to second for a stand-up double. Anderson Hernandez grounds out to third, Flores advances. John Lannan drops a dribbler in front of the plate, the ‘Stros catcher Towles throws to first.
Jeff Keppinger drops a leadoff single over Cristian Guzman’s glove in short center. J.R. Towles singles to short left. Lannan hangs a bender to Matsui who beats Zimmemran down the line for a two-RBI double. 3-0 Astros. Michael Bourn rips one to center and off the wall, Matsui scores, Bourn goes for third and gets nailed by Elijah Dukes and Anderson Hernandez, who get the perfect relay to third. 4-0 Astros. Lannan leaves a 2-2 pitch up, and Berkman slaps a liner to left for a single. El Caballo bounces a hard liner off the third base bag, Zimmerman tries but has no chance with the throw. Tejada flies out to Dukes. 4-0 Houston...Cristian Guzman takes a swing at the first pitch and grounds out to second. Nick Johnson flies out to center. Ryan Zimmerman’s 3 for 3 after a double off the top of the wall in left. Adam Dunn works the count full and walks. Elijah Dukes shatters a bat singling over short, Zimmerman scores, 4-1 Astros. Austin Kearns drives a single to the opposite field!! Dunn scores, 4-2 Houston. Jesus Flores flies to left to end the fifth.
Hunter Pence grounds the first pitch out to short. Ryan Zimmerman slides to field a Keppinger grounder and pops up to throw out the ‘Stros third baseman. J.R. Towles grounds to Guzman, to Johnson, Lannan with a quick scoreless frame...Wesley Wright takes over on the mound for Houston. Anderson Hernandez walks to start the home half of the frame. Ronnie Belliard gets a pinch hit chance in Lannan’s spot. Belliard flies to right, El Caballo catches it. Cristian Guzman works the count in his favor and singles through second. Nick Johnson has a Discerning Eye, and he uses it to walk the bases loaded for Ryan Zimmerman, who’ll face a new pitcher, Felipe Paulino. Paulino walks Zimmerman, 4-3 Houston. Adam Dunn waits for his pitch and rips it right, two runs score, 5-4 Nationals!!!! Elijah Dukes rolls one over the mound and launches it into center, 6-4 DC on Dukes’ RBI single. Jesus Flores pops out to the infield. Anderson Hernandez walks with the bases loaded for the second forced in run and the end of the night for Mr. Paulino. 7-4 Nationals. Ronnie Belliard flies out to end the inning.
“Wild” Joel Hanrahan takes over in the seventh. Geoff Blum pops up to the infield. Kaz Matsui swings through a two-strike fastball. Michael Bourn grounds out to second, Stand up and Stretch...Jeff Fulchino’s on for Houston. Cristian Guzman sneaks one under Kaz Matsui’s glove for a single. Nick “Two-Spot” Johnson lines out to Tejada at short. Ryan Zimmerman lines to right and into the corner, Guzman scores from first, 8-4 Nationals. Elijah Dukes singles under Matsui, Zimmerman scores, 9-4 Nationals. Austin Kearns K’s on a full-count fastball. Jesus Flores fouls strike three into the catcher’s glove.
Garrett Mock’s on the mound in the eighth. Lance Berkman flies out to right. El Caballo singles through short. Miguel Tejada pops up behind the plate...Fulchino’s back against Anderson Hernandez. Willie Harris walks, Guzman grounds into a double play. Nick Johnson takes strike three.
Garrett Mock back for the ninth. Darrin Erstad grounds to first. ONE!! J.R. Towles takes a two-strike slider, strike three. TWO!!! Geoff Blum pops out to third. THREE!! 1,2,3 the Nationals win.
Nationals now 7-17.