Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 Over The Washington Nationals, Lastings Milledge Knocks In Winning Run...

Who would've guessed before this game started that former Washington Nationals' outfielder Lastings Milledge would come back to haunt the team that traded him to Pittsburgh? Yeah, me too...While the former Pirates' outfielder, Nyjer Morgan, went 0 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, the Bucs' new left fielder was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI's, knocking in Pittsburgh's fifth run of the game in the home half of the eighth, in what ends up a 5-4 Pirates' win...(ed. note - "Just to be clear, I'd take Nyjer Morgan over Milledge any day, and Milledge's diving miss on a line drive in the eighth reminded me why...")

DC lefty John Lannan was not himself. The Nationals' No.1 starter gave up 9 hits and 5 ER's over 7.0 innings pitched, and he threw 115 pitches, 76 for strikes, while allowing 2 doubles, one each to Steve Pearce and Andrew McCutchen, and 1 HR, also by Pearce, who hit his 1st HR of the season and collected his first RBI in 16 games and 38 at bats in '09. DC third baseman Ryan Zimmerman continued his personal power surge, smacking his 7th HR in July to deep left center off Pirates' right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, giving Zim 5 HR's in his last 8 games, and 20 overall on the season. Zimmerman's already hit 6 more HR's than he did in 106 games last season, and he's now four away from his previous season-high of 24, which he set in 162 games in 2007. 

The Pirates got out to an early 4-1 lead, added an insurance run in the seventh after Zimmerman's HR and then held on as the Nationals rallied for 2 in the eighth, when former DC "closer" "Wild" Joel Hanrahan gave up a one-out walk and an RBI double and was replaced by right-hander Evan Meek, whose wild pitch allowed Cristian Guzman to score to make it 5-4 before Meek struck out Josh Willingham to strand the tying run at first...

Pirates win, 5-4 final. 

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BACKPAGE:

• The Nationals At The Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: What "They're" Saying.

• Rizzo: Still A Longshot For Fulltime?

For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...

Nationals now 32-71.

BACKPAGE: (Under Construction)

• The Nationals At The Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: What "They're" Saying.

After trading Nationals' first baseman Nick Johnson to the Florida Marlins for a Double-AA starter, Washington Nationals' "Acting" GM Mike Rizzo told Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, in an article entitled, "In Two Moves, Nats Deal Johnson, Beimel", that, "There was a reason (the Nick Johnson trade) went up to the very, very few minutes before the deadline at 4 p.m....It's because we knew the player that we identified that we wanted, and we waited for him." According to Mr. Harlan, the Marlins were offering 22-year-old right-hander Ryan Tucker until just before the deadline, when they changed course, "...suddenly offering (Aaron) Thompson, a pitcher Rizzo preferred to (Ryan) Tucker."

MLB.com writer Joe Frisaro, who covers the Marlins beat, spoke to Marlins' president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest about Aaron Thompson for an article entitled, "Marlins land first baseman Johnson", in which Mr. Beinfest refers to Thompson as, "good player", and states that the Marlins "...think highly of,"  the 6'3'' left-hander, but in Mr. Beinfest's words, "...Nick was the guy we wanted, and that was the price that it was going to cost," with "the price" being "...one of five first-round picks" the Marlins had in 2005 as compensation for the fact that they lost Carl Pavano, Mike Redmond and Armando Benitez to free agency.

Mr. Harlan notes in the article that, "Three Washington pro scouts had recently watched Thompson," and, "Each envisioned him as a future middle-of-the-rotation starter," and in MLB.com's Bill Ladson article on the trades (the Nationals also sent late-inning lefty Joe Beimel to Colorado for two minor league pitchers) entitled, "Nats part way with Johnson, Beimel", Mr. Ladson quotes the "Acting" GM explaining that in making the moves, the Nationals had,"'...added starting pitching and a late-inning reliever," to a roster that Mr. Rizzo assures us is, "...not rebuilding. We are building. We are not far from being a good team."

Define "not far"?

• Rizzo: Still A Longshot For Fulltime?

No word on whether today's move had any impact on the Nationals' GM search, but while Mr. Rizzo was working on trading Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel away, USA Today Sports writer Bob Nightengale, was reporting, via his twitterfeed, that:

"The Nats meanwhile have narrowed their GM candidates to two or three. Mike Rizzo, unfortunately, appears to be a longshot."

This, of course, comes on the heels of last week's reports, collected in an article here entitled, "Mixed Signals About Mike Rizzo...DC GM Rumors Continue...", wherein several writers report that the Nationals were searching for a new GM, had offered the position and had been turned down and were instead focusing on, "Arizona director of scouting and player personnel Jerry DiPoto..."

(ed. note - "I'm going to collect all of these in one post for tomorrow and then continue to add to that as the DC GM search continues...")

GAME REPORT:

Washington Nationals At Pittsburgh Pirates. Game 103 Of 162.

Nyjer Morgan pops an 0-2 fastball up behind second. Pirates’ right-hander Ross Ohlendorf gets the second out with one pitch when Cristian Guzman flies out to center. Ryan Zimmerman flies to short left and Lastings Milledge charges in (after a bad first step) to make the catch...Ryan Zimmerman fields and throws to first in time to get Andrew McCutchen. Lastings Milledge gets a polite applause from the crowd as he steps to the plate. Milledge grounds out to Alberto Gonzalez at second. DC left-hander John Lannan has a 1-2-3 first after Garrett Jones flies out to right. 

 

Adam Dunn takes a low two-strike fastball for a called strike three. Josh Willingham has the Nationals’ first hit with a line drive over second. Willie Harris hits a long fly ball to left center that McCutchen can’t get to, Willingham scores from first, Harris gets nailed trying to take an extra base and gets thrown out at third. 1-0 Nationals. Josh Bard ends DC’s first with a fly ball out...Ryan Doumit pops out behind second. Ryan Zimmerman doesn’t wait, charging a one-hopper at the edge of the grass and throwing out Delwyn Young. Steve Pearce doubles to left and into the corner. Andy LaRoche scores Pearce from second with a line drive single to left center, 1-1 ballgame. Ronnie Cedeno grounds out to end the second. 

 

Alberto Gonzalez flies out to left on the first pitch of the third. John Lannan singles through short with one down. Nyjer Morgan grounds into a force at second, and then gets picked off first to end the third...Ross Ohlendorf matches Lannan with his own single. Andrew McCutchen singles up the middle, and Lastings Milledge does the same, Ohlendorf scores from second, 2-1 Pirates. Garrett Jones grounds to short, McCutchen breaks from third toward home and beats the throw to the plate from Alberto Gonzalez. 3-1 Pirates. Ryan Doumit grounds to third, Ryan Zimmerman steps on third after fielding and throws to first in time. Delwyn Young grounds to short to end the bottom of the third. 

 

Cristian Guzman beats out a weak grounder to second when Delwyn Young doesn’t charge it. Ryan Zimmerman walks to put two on for Adam Dunn. Dunn K’s when he can’t hold back on a two-strike change. Josh Willingham rips a grounder to Andy LaRoche at third, to Delwyn Young to Steve Pearce, double play...Steve Pearce takes a low fastball to left and GONE! 4-1 Pirates, Pearce sprints around the bases. Ronny Cedeno chops a single through short. Ross Ohlendorf bunts Cedeno over to second. Lannan walks McCutchen. Lastings Milledge grounds out to first, Dunn tosses to Lannan covering. 

 

Willie Harris pops out to Milledge in left. Josh Bard rips a sharp grounder to first for Steve Pearce to handle. Alberto Gonzalez rolls the final out to Ronny Cedeno at short ending the top of the fifth...Garrett Jones goes down looking when Lannan hits the outside corner with a two-strike fastball. Ryan Doumit flies out to right. Delwyn Young flies out to left center, Morgan’s there.

 

Ronny Cedeno dives for a grounder and throws out Lannan at first. Andy LaRoche barehands a bunt attempt by Nyjer Morgan and throws to first a step ahead of the runner. Cristian Guzman K’s swinging to end the top of the frame...Ryan Zimmerman fields and throws to first to get Steve Pearce. Andy LaRoche grounds out to short. Ronnie Cedeno flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center to end the sixth. 

 

Ryan Zimmerm---THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Solo shot to start the seventh, 4-2 Pirates. Adam Dunn can’t touch Ohlendorf’s bender. Josh Willingham lines over short for a one-out single. Willie Harris walks with one down and Ohlendorf is done. Right-hander Jesse Chavez pops up Josh Bard, and Andy LaRoche reaches into the third base dugout to pull back the second out. Chavez drops a two-strike slider on Alberto Gonzalez who K’s chasing...Pinch hitter Ramon Vazquez K’s looking. Andrew McCutchen doubles off the wall in center, over Nyjer Morgan’s head. Lastings Milledge rips a line drive to third and off Zimmerman’s glove, McCutcheon scores from second, 5-2 Pirates. Garrett Jones grounds into a force at second, but beats the throw to first. Ryan Doumit flies out to end the seventh. 

 

Anderson Hernandez hits a fly ball out to Milledge in left. "Wild" Joel Hanrahan on the mound for the Pirates. Nyjer Morgan takes a one-out walk. Cristian Guzman lines to left, Lastings Milledge dives forward and misses it. The ball rolls into deep left, Morgan scores, 5-3 Pirates. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to third, LaRoche throws to first. Adam Dunn vs Evan Meek. Meek throws a fastball by the Bucs catcher, Guzman scores from third, 5-4 Pirates. Adam Dunn gets sawed off but pushes a single into left. Josh Willingham takes a 2-2 slider for a called strike three...Jason Bergmann walks pinch hitter Brandon Moss. Steve Pearce K’s swinging. Andy LaRoche pops out to Guzman behind short. Bergmann blows Cedeno away.

 

Willie Harris vs Matt Capps in the ninth. Harris takes a two-strike fastball outside for a called strike three. Josh Bard takes a two-strike fastball outside. Alberto Gonzalez hits a two-out single over second, to give Belliard a shot. Nyjer Morgan pops out to short to end the game. Pirates win, 5-4 final. 

 

Nationals now 32-71.

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