The Washington Nationals have won seven-straight games three times since moving to Washington, D.C. before the start of the 2005 season, but only once, in that inaugural campaign, have they won eight or more, taking 10 in-a-row from the Braves (1), Marlins (3), A's (3) and Mariners(3) from June 2nd-June 12th, 2005. The Nationals' 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight gave the '09 Nationals seven wins in-a-row, and if they can sweep the D-Backs tomorrow afternoon, they'll have tied for the second-longest win streak in D.C. franchise history. (If you want to count Montreal Expos' history, it'll be only the third time they've won more than seven straight since 2002.)
Garrett Mock earned his first "W" of 2009 season by outdueling the D-Backs' ace Dan Haren, surrendering just two runs and five hits tonight, with both runs scored on a two-run blast by Mark Reynolds in the fourth, which blew an early 1-0 DC lead that was recaptured when Josh Willingham hit a two-run HR in the bottom of the frame. The Nationals never trailed after that, adding a run on a sac fly after the Hammer's dinger in the fourth and a run in the sixth on a Josh Bard bomb over the out-of-town scoreboard in right. Mock throws 97 pitches, 55 for strikes in 6.0 innings of work, and he hands the ball to Sean Burnett, who completes 2.0 scoreless and Jorge Sosa, who closes his first and the Nationals' 39th.
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Nationals now 39-72.
The Washington Nationals have won the last two of their seven-straight in spite of their pitching. Tonight, however, Garrett Mock may have earned himself another chance in a rotation that's likely to see some changes soon. Craig Stammen couldn't get out of the second in the Nationals' 12-8 win over the Marlins on Thursday, and Collin Balester was out in the fifth last night with the Nationals still trailing in the 7-6 comeback win over Arizona. Mock was solid through six against the D-Backs, throwing 97 pitches, 55 for strikes and getting 7 groundouts, 4 flyouts and 7 K's from the 25 batters he faced. Mock goes longer than he has in any of his 4 previous starts, and collects the highest K total of his career, though he continues his unfortunate habit of allowing 1 HR per start.
Josh Willingham's two-run HR in the fourth came a half-inning after the Arizona Diamonbacks erased a 1-0 DC lead with Mark Reynolds' two-run blast off the left field foul pole. Willingham now has 17 HR's, 23 doubles and 44 RBI's in 86 games and 265 AB's, over which he's hit .309 with a .420 OBP, .589 SLG and a 1.012 OPS. Willingham's hit in 15 of his last 16 games, raising his average from .292 on July 25th to .309 after tonight, and in that time he's 21 for 54 with 5 doubles, 5 HR's and 17 RBI's.
Jorge Sosa's first save of 2009, is his first save since October 1, 2006. The Nationals' 32-year-old right-hander, earned just 4 saves that season, (3 for the Braves and 1 for the Cardinals), and before that he had just one save in his career, on May 22, 2004, when he was 24-years-old and pitching for the D-Rays, when they still had their "D". Sosa's save as a Cardinal in 2006 came in his last appearance of the year, so that's 139.2 IP between saves...and Sosa's the only other Nationals' pitcher not named Mike MacDougal to earn a save since Joe Beimel earned the "S" on June 11th.
Arizona Diamondbacks At Washington Nationals. Game 111 Of 162.
Stephen Drew lifts a low fastball to short center for a single, as DC righty Garrett Mock lets the first D-Back on. Alex Romero grounds to Alberto Gonzalez, to Cristian Guzman at second, to Adam Dunn, double play. Gerardo Parra fights off a high fastball and singles to left. Mark Reynolds gets a two-strike change that comes in around 80 mph and goes through Reynolds’ bat...Nyjer Morgan takes a fastball inside and lines to left center for a leadoff double in front of the Guzzz. Cristian Guzman rips a single through second into right. Ryan Zimmerman pops up behind home for the first out. Adam Dunn hits a Trademark Single™ back up the middle to score Morgan from third, 1-0 DC. Josh Willingham K’s swinging at a two-strike bender. Willie Harris gets more of the same and goes down swinging.
D-Backs’ backstop Miguel Montero pops up foul of third, and Ryan Zimmerman makes the catch at the wall. Josh Whitesell swings at a 2-0 pitch and grounds it out to second. Chris Young goes down looking...Josh Bard’s first-pitch swinging and he lines out to center. Dan Haren kicks his heel at a grounder back to the mound, knocks it down and throws to first to get Alberto Gonzalez. Garrett Mock rolls the third out to first ending the second.
Ryan Zimmerman dives toward third and stabs Augie Ojeda’s one-hopper, throwing to first, in time. Mock gets Dan Haren to chase a sinker for a swinging K. Stephen Drew grounds out to end Arizona’s third...Nyjer Morgan flies out to Alex Romero in left. Cristian Guzman hits a one-hopper to Whitesell at first. Ryan Zimmerman sends a broken bat floater to second for Ojeda to handle.
Gerardo Parra gets a single by Adam Dunn at first and into right to leadoff the fourth. Garrett Mock leaves a fastball up inside and Mark Reynolds pulls it right down the line and off the foul pole for a two-run HR and a 2-1 D-Backs' lead. Willie Harris gets under the second out off Miguel Montero’s bat. Mock issues a walk to Josh Whitsell, but gets Chris Young swinging after a visit to the mound...Adam Dunn gets hit by a pitch and Josh Willingham HAMMERS it, out to left and into the first row!! GONE! Two-run blast, 3-2 DC. Willie Harris lines to the right field corner and he’s thinking triple out of the box, and he slides in safely and somewhat unneccesarily. Josh Bard lines out to first on the first pitch he sees. Alberto Gonzalez lines out to left and it’ll do, sac fly scores Harris, 4-2 DC. Mock gets abused by Haren to end the fourth.
Alberto Gonzalez gets a grounder to his backhand from Ojeda and throws to first as he runs toward second for the first out of the fifth. Garrett Mock gets the opposing pitcher chasing. Stephen Drew takes a two-out walk and moves to second on Alex Romero’s single. Alberto Gonzalez throws to first on a weak grounder, in time to get Gerardo Parra...Nyjer Morgan grounds out to short, Cristian Guzman grounds out to first, and it’s two down with Zimmerman at the plate. Ryan Zimmerman strokes a single through short. Adam Dunn hits a one-hopper to second for the final out of the fifth.
Garrett Mock walks Mark Reynolds to start the sixth. Miguel Montero K’s swinging over an 0-2 bender. Nyjer Morgan speeds back and makes an awkward catch on a sharp liner to center from Josh Whitesell. Chris Young K’s again and Mock’s through six with the lead...Josh Whitesell falls in foul territory but catches Josh Willingham’s pop fly. Willie Harris takes a two-strike fastball for a called strike three. Josh Bard gets a hold of a heater from Haren and rips it to right and GONE!! Over the out-of-town scoreboard for a solo blast. 5-2 DC. Alberto Gonzalez flies out to end the sixth.
Sean Burnett replaces Garrett Mock. and gets a groundout to first from Augie Ojeda to start the seventh. Ryan Roberts grounds to Adam Dunn at first, to Burnett covering. Stephen Drew grounds out too and it’s 5-2 DC at the stretch...Blaine Boyer, the old Braves’ reliever is on in relief. Sean Burnett K’s swinging when forced to bat. Nyjer Morgan grounds to first, and tries to get away from Josh Whitesell’s tag. Cristian Guzman grounds out to second to end the seventh.
Adam Dunn makes an underhand toss to Sean Burnett covering on a weak grounder from Alex Romero. Ryan Zimmerman fields a grounder to short from Gerardo Parra, spins and throws to first. Mark Reynolds flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center, and Burnett’s got two scoreless...Ryan Zimmerman lines a single over second to start the DC eighth. Adam Dunn flies out to center. Josh Willingham flies to right field. Willie Harris K’s swinging to end the eighth.
Jorge Sosa starts the ninth against Miguel Montero. Fly ball to right for Jorge Padilla. Josh Whitesell's fly ball is out No. 2. Chris Young flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center to end the game. Nationals win, 5-2 Final.
Nationals now 39-72.