September 2, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) pitches in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
• Delay, Blown Call, 26-Pitch 1st: The start of today's game was delayed by about ten minutes as the Washington Nationals waited for a shower to pass over Nats Park. It never stopped raining completely this afternoon. By the time the Nationals took the field, Jayson Werth had been scratched from the lineup with Roger Bernadina taking over in center and leading off and Bryce Harper shifting over to right. Four pitches into his 27th start of 2012, Nats' right-hander Stephen Strasburg had his first strikeout of the day when he got Jon Jay to chase a 1-2 change. Carlos Beltran lined a 97 mph full-count fastball to second for out no.2. Strasburg missed with an 0-2 change to Matt Holliday, spiked a 1-2 change, and gave up a two-out double on a 2-2 curve with the Cards' outfielder hustling around to second ahead of a throw in from Bernadina. Ryan ZImmerman made a diving play and throw for what should have been an inning-ending groundout by Allen Craig, but first base ump Mark Wegner blew the call at first and said Chad Tracy's foot came off the bag. First and third, two down, but Strasburg threw a 95 mph 1-2 heater by David Freese to end a long, 26-pitch first. Jake Westbrook threw just 13 pitches in the bottom of the inning, eight of them to Bryce Harper, who eventually flew out to left but battled the Cards' veteran starter. 0-0 after one.
• DIY?: A 96 mph 1-2 fastball got Bryan Anderson swinging for Stephen Strasburg's 3rd K in 1.1 IP. The Nats' right-handed starter followed a 97 mph 2-2 fastball up with a brutal 90 mph change to Cards' shortstop Pete Kozma, who had no chance and K'd swinging for K no.4 and a 1-2 heater to Daniel Descalso was popped up to short as the Nats' right-hander completed a 14-pitch frame with 4 Ks in 2.0 scoreless. Chad Tracy singled to left on a high fastball from Jake Westbrook with one down in the Nationals' second, Danny Espinosa hit a two-out single to right and Kurt Suzuki walked to load the bases in an eight-pitch at bat in front of Stephen Strasburg, who K'd swinging to end the second. 0-0 in D.C.
• 8-Pitch Frame: After Jake Westbrook flew out to center, Jon Jay took a tailing 2-2 two-seamer for a called strike three and K no. 5, and Carlos Beltran grounded weakly to second to end an eight-pitch inning by Stephen Strasburg. 48 pitches overall in 3.0 scoreless. The Cards' starter got Roger Bernadina looking and Bryce Harper swinging on a foul-tip strike three, but Ryan Zimmerman hit an opposite field single with two down to get Michael Morse up with a runner on in the third and Morse followed with the second-straight single to right before Chad Tracy grounded into a force at second that ended the third.
• ZUK!!!!: Stephen Strasburg should have had two quick outs on eight pitches in the Cardinals' fourth, but Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman sailed another throw to first on a one-out grounder to third by Allen Craig. E:5. Zimmerman's 12th of 2012, and a one-out walk/wild pitch to David Freese put runners on the corners with one down and Bryan Anderson at the plate. The Cardinals' catcher flew to short right on a 1-2 change and St. Louis' third base coach Jose Oquendo sent Allen Craig home where he was thrown out by Bryce Harper on a play that was not even close. Kurt Suzuki caught the one-hop throw in and made the tag. 9-2 DP to end the top of the fourth. Outfield assist no. 6 of 2012 for the Nats' rookie outfielder. 17-pitch inning for Strasburg. Two outs after making the nice play at the plate, Kurt Suzuki took Jake Westbrook deep to left field and just over the wall for a solo HR and a 1-0 Nats' lead after four. ZUK!
• 94, 76, 96: Pete Kozma fouled off a 94 mph fastball, took a 79 mph curve and missed a 96 mph 0-2 heater. Have a seat. Strasburg's 6th K in 4.1 scoreless. A groundout to first by Daniel Descalso and a swinging K from the opposing pitcher followed in a quick, 15-pitch, 1-2-3 5th after which Strasburg had seven Ks total and 80 pitches overall in 5.0 scoreless. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse went down in order in the bottom of the frame in a 12-pitch inning that had Jake Westbrook at 80 pitches after five as well.
• MOAR ZUK!!!!!: Jon Jay lined to left, but right at Morse for the first out of the Cards' sixth. Strasburg got up 0-2 on Carlos Beltran with back-to-back curves, threw a fastball outside then went in with a heater that was called strike three. 96 mph inside. Beltran doesn't like it. Strasburg's 8th K. Matt Holliday lined the first pitch he saw to left for the Cardinals' (and his) second hit, but Allen Craig K'd swinging on a foul-tip strike three after fouling off seven of the eight pitches he saw from Stephen Strasburg. 9 Ks in 6.0 scoreless. 97 pitches overall after a 17-pitch frame. Ian Desmond battled Jake Westbrook in an 11-pitch AB that ended with a line drive single to left, and Danny Espinosa followed with a single to right to set Kurt Suzuki up with two on and one out and the Nats' catcher came through with an RBI single to center that made it 2-0 D.C. and chased Westbrook from the game. Suzuki entered the game 3 for 6 w/ a HR vs Westbrook and ended the game 5 for 8 w/ 2 HRs against the veteran right-hander.
• Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 97 P, 65 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
• Burnett? Straighten That Cap, PUNK!!!: Ryan Zimmerman made the play and the throw to retire David Freese for the first out of the seventh. Pinch hitter Tony Cruz helped Nats' lefty Sean Burnett out by swinging at a 3-0 pitch and fouling it off and then flying out center on the 3-1 offering. Cards' infielder Pete Kozma singled to center with two down, however, and Daniel Descalso tied it with one swing, crushing a 2-2 sinker from Burnett and sending it out to right into the Nationals' bullpen to tie it at 2-2 and hand Strasburg a no-decision.1st HR by a LH in 86 PA's by the Nats' left-handed reliever. A single by Shane Robinson ended Burnett's night and a wild pitch by Ryan Mattheus moved the go-ahead run into scoring position with two down. A HBP on Jon Jay put two on for Carlos Beltran, but the Cards' outfielder grounded to first to end the threat.
• EURY!!!!!: Bryce Harper hit a grounder to second that Daniel Descalso couldn't handle and Harp reached safely on what was ruled an E:4. The Cards' almost botched a tailor-made 6-4-3 though when Pete Kozma dropped a grounder to short by Ryan Zimmerman but it took a Cardinal roll right to Descalso at second who completed the double play. Michael Morse singled off Cards' right-hander Lance Lynn with two down in the Nats' seventh, and Chad Tracy followed with the second two-out hit on a single to center. Eury Perez took over on the basepaths, replacing Morse at second and stealing third for his 1st MLB SB and his 52nd of the season before scoring on a two-out RBI single to center by Ian Desmond to make it a 3-2 game. Another single by Danny Espinosa brought Tracy around and it was 4-2 Nats after seven in D.C.
• FIREWORKS: Ryan Mattheus came back out for the eighth, giving up a two-out double by David Freese and an RBI double to left by Tony Cruz, who crushed an 0-2 slider for an RBI two-bagger that made it 4-3. Matt Carpenter hit for Pete Kozma with the tying run on second. Mattheus hit the outside corner with a 3-0 pitch, but got a fly to left to preserve the one-run lead through seven and a half.
• Ready or Not: After Cards' lefty Sam Freeman threw a scorlees bottom of the eighth, Tyler Clippard entered the game in the ninth looking for save no. 29 of 2012. Daniel Descalso K'd swinging at a 2-2 change. ONE!!!! Skip Schumaker grounded to Danny Espinosa in short right and Chad Tracy stretched into foul territory to make the catch for out no.2. TWO!!!! Jon Jay grounded out to first to end it. 1-2-3 the NATS WIN!!! 4-3 final.
• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...
• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: COMING SOON! W00T!!
Nationals now 81-52.