Willingham's Hustle Wins The Series For DC!!!
• Ryan Zimmerman spent the majority of this afternoon's series finale with Cincinnati Reds on the bench, but the Washington Nationals' "Interim" Manager Jim Riggleman called on the Face of the Franchise with two on and two out in the eighth and the tying run standing at second in the form of Adam Dunn, who'd been hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position by Josh Willingham's one-out single. Two innings earlier, an RBI double by Willingham followed Dunn's leadoff double and scored Dunn from second to make it 4-3 Cincinnati, and now both were on again, with Zimmerman facing veteran left-hander Arthur Rhodes, against whom, Zimmerman was 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and an RBI so far in his career. Make it 3 for 5, Zimmerman hit a bloop single to right where defensive replacement Chris Dickerson missed on a diving play allowing Dunn to score and tie it, and when the Reds made a lazy throw back to the infield, Josh Willingham broke from the third, the throw came home quickly, but Hammer lowered the boom on Reds' catcher Ryan Hanigan and knocked the ball loose as he fell over home, 5-4 Nationals on pure hustle by Willingham and pure laziness by the Reds.
• DC lefty John Lannan was two-thirds of the way through his fifth scoreless frame with a 2-0 lead when he issued a two-out walk to Drew Sutton and an RBI single to Joey Votto, bringing up the unstoppable Jonny Gomes, who got a two-strike two-seamer inside from Lannan and lifted it to left and out of the park for his 4th HR in 4 games in this series and a 4-3 Cincy lead after five innings. DC right-hander Jason Bergmann finished off the sixth and Jorge Sosa (W, 2-1) and Mike MacDougal (S, 13) held and closed the Nationals' 43rd win of '09. Lannan lasts 5.2 IP and surrenders 7 hits, 4 ER, 1 HR and 3 walks, collecting 2 K's and throwing 109 pitches, 70 for strikes.
• Wil Nieves - 3 for 4, with 3 singles to right field.
• Jonny Gomes - Game 1 - 3 for 4, 3 HR's, 5 RBI's.
- Game 2 - 1 for 3, 1 2B
- Game 3 - DNP
- Game 4 - 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.
Weekend Total = 6 for 11, .545, 4 HR's, 1 2B, 8 RBI's.
• Washington takes 3 of 4 from Cincinnati, and the Nationals break even, going 3-3 on the 6-game trip through Atlanta, Georgia and Ohio. Nationals now 11-3 in their last 14, 15-7 in their last 22.
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• E: 105.
• Taking The Suicide Out Of The Squeeze.
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...
Nationals now 43-75.
• E: 105
Ryan Zimmerman got a rest today, as mentioned above, and his fill-in at third, Ronnie Belliard, of course committed the Washington Nationals' 105th Error of 2009 on a routine grounder to short off Reds' shortstop Paul Janish's bat. Belliard charged in on the two-out roller and had it go right under his glove and into left field. Outcome: DC starter John Lannan gets Reds' catcher Ryan Hanigan swinging at the first pitch, and popping out to left. No damage done...this time.
• Taking The Suicide Out Of The Squeeze.
Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn led off the sixth with doubles, the second one a run-scoring hit for Willingham that brought the Nationals within one at 4-3 and left the tying run at second. Willingham took third on a wild pitch from Reds' righthander Justin Lehr, and all Elijah Dukes had to do was hit one in the air to tie it. Dukes K'd. Alberto Gonzalez was up next and he squared to bunt on the first pitch, Willingham was headed home, SUICIDE SQUEE-, but Lehr came inside and upstairs with a first-pitch curve, and Gonzalez...well...he ducked...he held the bat up, but he ducked, and instead of a suicide squeeze, Willingham was just dead. It's ruled caught stealing, but no one watching was letting Alberto Gonzalez off the hook, though, if you watch the play, the best he could have done with that pitch was to let himself get hit...
Washington Nationals At Cincinnati Reds. Game 118 Of 162.
Justin Lehr gets a fly ball to center from Nyjer Morgan to Willy Taveras for the first out of the afternoon. Cristian Guzman throws his bat at an 0-2 curve that he has no excuse for swinging at. Ronnie Belliard pops up over home, and the pitcher gets in third baseman Adam Rosales’ way and causes him to drop it. Adam Dunn takes a curve that bounces off his shin. Justin Lehr gets out of the inning when Josh Willingham grounds out to short...Reds’ leadoff hitter Willy Taveras pops out to right to start the bottom of the first. Drew Sutton grounds out to Guzman at short. Joey Votto gets called out on strikes after watching a two-strike fastball all the way in...
Elijah Dukes hits a sharp grounder to short that Paul Janish handles. Janish throws out Alberto Gonzalez after a backhand stab and throw. Wil Nieves pushes a two-out single through second, but John Lannan pops out to end the DC second...The dangerous Jonny Gomes goes back up the middle with a leadoff single. Wladimir Balentien works the count full, fouls off a few, but eventually flies out to left. Adam Rosales lines into Elijah Dukes’ glove. Paul Janish grounds to third and right under Ronnie Belliard’s glove. E: 105. Ryan Hanigan lines to left to end the second.
Nyjer Morgan grounds out to Drew Sutton at second. Cristian Guzman chips a 3-1 pitch out to second. Ronnie Belliard’s grounder jumps up at Adam Rosales, who makes the play and throws a laser to first...Lannan gets Justin Lehr swinging through a two-strike heater upstairs. Willy Taveras almost beats out a routine grounder to short. Drew Sutton pops out to the catcher to end the third.
Adam Dunn lines to right field through the shift for a leadoff double. Josh Willingham takes one for a ride, deeeeeep to left and into the upper deck!!! Two-run HR, 2-0 Nationals. Elijah Dukes flies out to right. Alberto Gonzalez pops out to Willy Taveras. Wil Nieves lines a two-out single to center to turn the lineup over, when John Lannan flies out to Taveras...Joey Votto lifts an 0-2 pitch to left for a leadoff single. Jonny Gomes lines out to center on a 2-2 pitch. Elijah Dukes catches the second out off Wladimir Balentien’s bat. Adam Rosales takes a two-out walk. Paul Janish grounds out to Gonzalez who takes the force at second.
Nyjer Morgan grounds out to Janish at short. Cristian Guzman lines out to left. Ronnie Belliard ends a quick frame with a routine grounder to third...Reds’ catcher Ryan Hanigan singles to center and takes second on Lehr’s sac bunt. A groundout from Willy Taveras moves Hanigan to third. Drew Sutton takes a two-out walk in front of Joey Votto, who gets jammed and pops to left, and has it drop in. 2-1 DC. Jonny Gomes gets a fastball on the inside corner and he destroys it, deeep to left and over the wall for a 3-run blast. 4-3 Reds. Lannan walks Wladimir Balentien with two down. Adam Rosales flies out to right to end the fifth.
Adam Dunn powers a double to right off the wall to start the Nationals’ sixth. Josh Willingham bounces one off the out-of-town scoreboard in left. Dunn scores, 4-3 Reds. Elijah Dukes up, and Willingham takes third on a wild pitch. Dukes K’s chasing. Alberto Gonzalez squares to bunt, but ducks on when the first pitch comes in high and tight, hanging Willingham out to dry on what was apparently a suicide squeeze attempt. Ugh. Gonzalez grounds out to end the top of the sixth...Lannan gets a weak fly to left from Paul Janish. Ryan Hanigan flies to Morgan in center. Justin Lehr lines a double to the right field corner with two down. Dukes fights with it and is able to hold Lehr at second. Cristian Guzman gets to a chopper up the middle from Taveras, but his throw is off and Dunn makes a great play to save a run. Lannan’s out. Jason Bergmann on to face Drew Sutton. Taveras takes second without being challenged. Sutton gets a full-count slider from Bergmann and K’s chasing it.
Jared Burton takes over for the Reds in the seventh and gives up a leadoff single to Wil Nieves who rolls a single past first. Willie Harris flies out unproductively to left. Nyjer Morgan will face Daniel Ray Herrera. Morgan goes down chasing junk. Cristian Guzman flies out to Jonny Gomes in right to end the top of the inning...Joey Votto vs Jorge Sosa. Votto flies out to Willingham in right, Hammer shields his eyes and catches it. Jonny Gomes pops out behind the plate. Wladimir Balentien strikes out to end the seventh.
Ronnie Belliard grounds out on a 1-1 fastball from Nick Masset, who’s replaced by lefty Arthur Rhodes when Adam Dunn steps up. Dunn takes one off the jersey and takes a base. Josh WIllingham lines to right for a one-out single, Dunn to second. Elijah Dukes flies out to center on an 0-2 bender in on the fists. Ryan Zimmerman pinch hits, and lobs a liner over second, Chris Dickerson slides in and misses, Dunn scores, 4-4, and the Reds take their time throwing it in, and Hammer takes off for home, running the catcher and scoring, 5-4 Nationals. 5-4 Nationals!!! Wil Nieves grounds out to short...Adam Rosales flies out to Willingham in left. Paul Janish hits a one-out single to center. Ryan Hanigan flies out to center. Mike MacDougal’s on early. Chris Dickerson grounds out to Dunn at first.
Josh Bard flies out to center to start the ninth. Reds’ right-hander Carlos Fisher gets a grounder back to the mound from Nyjer Morgan. Cristian Guzman can’t hold up on a two-strike curve in the dirt...Willy Taveras vs MacDougal. Taveras pops out to second. Drew Sutton grounds to third, Ryan Zimmerman fields, spins and throws to first to get the second out. Joey Votto K’s swinging over a 1-2 fastball outside. Nationals win, 5-4 final.
Nationals now 43-75.