Tonight's Top 5:
5. Nyjer Morgan Regroups, Gets Pinch Hit Late: In the pregame press conference with Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman, Mr. Riggleman explained that Nationals' center fielder Nyjer Morgan was being given the night off to "regroup" after a rough couple games that saw the Nationals' 29-year-old outfielder struggling at the plate and in center field. Morgan entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and hit a one-out double into the left-field corner in front of Willie Harris (see no.2), whose HR to right got the Nationals within one run at 4-3 after seven innings of play. Asked in the post game press conference if it was the kind of hit that could get Morgan going, the Nats' Skipper had this to say:
Jim Riggleman: "I certainly hope that [Morgan's hit] helps. You know, again, [O's reliever Matt Albers] was throwing hard and Nyjer barreled that ball up real good, just a good at bat, got on base for Willie [Harris], and hopefully it will carry over. He'll be back in there tomorrow, so hopefully it will carry over."
4. Is It Midnight For Scott Olsen's Fairy Tale Early Run?: Tightness in his left (surgically-repaired) shoulder takes Scott Olsen out after three ineffective innings, and all of a sudden the Nats' rotation is in disarray.
Jim Riggleman: "He was not feeling good from the bullpen on. Just tightness in his shoulder that he was trying to battle through and gave us everything he had, very gutty performance, but we decided to get him out of there and that's about all I can tell you, his shoulder's tight."
Olsen throws 64 pitches, 41 for strikes in 3.0 innings, gives up 6 hits, 4 ER, 3 walks and 1 HR. Asked how long they'll have to make a decision on whether or not Olsen can make his next start, Mr. Riggleman responded that the Nationals had, "...an off day coming up, so we've got some time to see how he feels, and when his bullpen session comes up, see how that goes and make a decision after he throws his bullpen."
But coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in the same (left) shoulder last season, it might be time to start worrying about the Nats' starting rotation...
3. No No-No For O: O's right-hander David Hernandez carries a no-hitter two-thirds of the way through the fifth before Nats' relief pitcher Miguel Batista singles up the middle to break up the O's 25-year-old right-hander's bid for a spot in the history books. According to @NatsTownNews (The Nats' official Twitter): "Miguel Batista's single in the 5th inning was his first hit since August 9, 2006 at SFG while playing for Arizona." Ha. Sorry, Hernandez.
2. TAWH!!! TAWH!!! Thrillie Harris gets a 94 mph 2-0 fastball from O's reliever Matt Albers and Harris launches it deeeep to right, no doubter!!! Harris tosses his bat stylishly as the ball bounces off the upper deck in right for a two-run HR immediately after a pinch hit double by Nyjer Morgan to make it 4-3 O's in the seventh...
1. One To Grow On For Drew Storen: Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman said the Nats' 22-year-old rookie reliever, "...threw the ball well," with, "...probably the best velocity that he's had," since his debut earlier this week, but it wasn't Storen's stuff that was the problem, (Storen's 2-2 slider to get a swinging K from pinch hitter Scott Moore was brutal), but a leadoff walk to the O's backup backstop that came back to bite the right-hander. Two outs after the walk, O's outfielder Corey Patterson puts a charge in a 95mph first-pitch fastball and singles to center to score Moore from second after Cesar Itzuris' sac bunt moved him into scoring position. 17 pitches, 9 strikes, a fastball that hit as high as 96 and sat anywhere from 94-96 throughout his inning of work. Just no more leadoff walks. OK, Storen?
FULL GAME REPORT:
1 - Roger Bernadina drifts back a few steps and catches the first out off Corey Patterson's bat. Nats' lefty Scott Olsen gets Ty Wiggington to fly out to center, two down. Nick Markakis singles under Dunn's glove and into right field with two down. Miguel Tejada grounds to Ryan Zimmerman at third and he throws to second for the force...Thrillie Harris flies out to left field. Cristian Guzman grounds out to first, two down. Ryan Zimmerman pops up behind the plate, Craig Tatum makes the catch.
2 - Luke Scott singles through second to start the O's second. Adam Jones takes the first pitch he sees deep to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard for a 2-0 Orioles' lead early. Baltimore backstop Craig Tatum singles through short. Cesar Itzuris pops out to Zim foul of third. David Hernandez bunts like a National, K on the failed bunt attempt, two down. Corey Patterson rolls over one and grounds it to first for Adam Dunn to handle...Dunn leads off the Nats' second with a pop fly to first, one down. Josh Willingham walks in front of Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge stares an 0-2 curve in for a called strike three. Roger Bernadina flies out to left, 2-0 O's after two.
3 - Ty Wiggington grounds to third, Zimmerman throws wide, but Dunn makes the play. Scott Olsen comes off the mound to field a grounder from Markakis and throw to first. Two down. Miguel Tejada grounds weakly to third, Zim throws it away. Luke Scott walks with two down and Adam Jones is up. Bases loaded after Olsen walks Jones. Craig Tatum grounds up the middle and under the range-less Guzman, two runs score, 4-0 O's. 3-2 slider is low and Cesar Izturis walks to reload the bases. David Hernandez lines right into Olsen's glove. Olsen tosses the ball over his head in disgust as he walks off...Ian Desmond grounds out to short. Livan Hernandez hits for Olsen, or K's more accurately. Willie Harris flies out to right to end the third.
4 - Batista's a step late to first and Corey Patterson's on with an infield single. Ty Wiggington up when Patterson swipes second sans throw. Full count. Wiggington grounds out to second. Nick Markakis up, and Pudge picks Patterson off first. Markakis flies to left, 4-0 O's in the fourth...Cristian Guzman works a walk out of David Hernandez. Ryan Zimmerman flies out to center after going to a full count with Hernandez. Adam Dunn walks to put two on for the Hammer, who pops out to short. Two down. Josh Willingham pops out to short. Pudge Rodriguez flies to right, 4-0 O's after four.
5 - Miguel Tejada vs Batista. Leadoff walk. Luke Scott grounds to second, Guzman cuts the lead runner down. Lou Montanez reaches on an infield single that bounces off Batista's glove to Desmond, who pockets it. Craig Tatum lines out to Willingham in left. Cesar Izturis gets the intentionals in front of the pitcher. Cesar Itzuris gets the intentionals, and Batista gets a grounder to the mound from the opposing pitcher to end the O's fifth...Roger Bernadina K's swinging to start the fifth. Ian Desmond grounds out to short. Two down. Miguel Batista singles up the middle for the Nats' first hit!!! Willie Harris lines to center, but Corey Patterson gets there, 4-0 O's after five.
6 - Corey Patterson starts the sixth with a fly ball to right that Willie Harris handles. Ty Wiggington pops out to Guzman at second. Nick Markakis grounds sharply to the mound, three down, still 4-0 O's...Cristian Guzman grounds out on the first pitch of the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman walks with one down. Adam Dunn walks to put two on. Hernandez is done. Matt Albers on to face Willingham, who walks to load the bases. Pudge Rodriguez grounds into a force at second, but a run scores. 4-1 Orioles. Roger Bernadina grounds to second to end the sixth.
7 - Miguel Tejada lines sharply to right almost knocking Willie Harris over. One down. Batista gets Luke Scott to K chasing a two-strike change, and gets Lou Montanez looking to end the Orioles' seventh...Ian Desmond sends a broken bat one-hopper to second, one down. Nyjer Morgan hits for Batista. Morgan sends a low liner to left and fair, double for the pinch hitter. Willie Harris drives a 2-0 pitch to right, tosses his bat, he's knows it's gone!!! Two-run HR for Harris, 4-3 O's. Guzman K's chasing junk in the dirt. Ryan Zimmerman works a two-out walk. Matt Albers is done. Will Ohman vs Dunn, lefty vs lefty. Fly ball to deep left, not enough. 4-3 O's after seven.
8 - Drew Storen's on in the eighth. Leadoff walk to Craig Tatum. Cesar Izturis gets the sac bunt down, Tatum to second, one down. Scott Moore on to pinch hit. 2-2 slider from Storen and Moore K's swinging. Corey Patterson up, and he singles to center, Tatum scores, 5-3 Orioles. Ty Wiggington flies to left, 5-3 O's in the eighth...Josh Willingham flies out to right, one down. Cla Meredith gives up a one-out single to Pudge, who lofts a low fly to right. Roger Bernadina grounds weakly to first, Pudge to second. Ian Desmond flies to center to end the eighth.
9 - Doug Slaten on vs Markakis. Markakis grounds sharply up the middle, Ian Desmond gets there, dives, jumps up throws to first, in time!!! Miguel Tejada grounds back to the mound, two down. Luke Scott flies out to right...Adam Kennedy pinch hits against Alfredo Simon. Kennedy grounds out to second. One down. Willie Harris flies out to center, two down. Cristian Guzman keeps hope alive with a single over second. Ryan Zimmerman flies out to center, ballgame.