Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Salvage One In Citizens Bank; Head Back To D.C. To Face Rockies

James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Ian Desmond might have taken strike three, but home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez disagreed, so given yet another life, after the Nationals already had staged a ninth inning comeback, the Nats' shortstop hit an 11th inning grand slam to win last night's game. #steak? #eatface? D.C. baseball is odd...

The Washington Nationals came back and beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of the three-game set in Citizens Bank Park to get themselves within a game of .500 and give them a one-game edge over the NL East's third place Phillies, who were threatening to take over second place in the division. The Nationals still trail the first-place Braves by 7.0 games, however, and they're 6.5 games out in the Wild Card race, behind five other teams after 71 games this season. With the month of July approaching, the first Non-Waiver Trade deadline rumors are popping up. The yearly, "DEFEND RICK ECKSTEIN" stories are out there. Bryce Harper's a few days away from starting baseball activities and the Nats are set to start a seven-game homestand with the Rockies and D-Backs. The Nats are 17-23 on the road after last night's win and 18-13 at home in Nats Park. Jordan Zimmermann vs Roy Oswalt on the mound tonight in the nation's capital. Do you know when the last time Zimmermann lost at home was? Until then, it's links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "As one baseball source put it, the team may need to go out and get a veteran right-handed hitter for the bench." - "Unlike last year, Nats may be Deadline players" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• NATS BEAT:

• "'I wholly agree with Rick’s philosophy,' Johnson said. 'Heck, at times, I’ve helped him formulate that philosophy.'" - "Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson voice support for hitting coach Rick Eckstein" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "It seems an almost annual storyline for the Nationals — who speak glowingly about [Rick] Eckstein, his work ethic and his ability as a coach." - "Davey Johnson, Mike Rizzo defend hitting coach Rick Eckstein despite Nationals' offensive woes" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• via Twitter:

• "This team continues to struggle putting runs on the board, leading some to question the job security of hitting coach Rick Eckstein." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson, Rizzo say Eckstein doesn't deserve blame for Nats' offensive woes" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'He is one of the most outstanding hitting instructors I've ever been around. He is conscientious, hard working,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'If anything, he works too hard.'" - "Johnson, Zimmerman back Eckstein's work" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Jayson Werth's RBI single with two outs in the ninth tied it off Jonathan Papelbon, who blew a save for the second time in three nights after starting the season 13 for 13." - "Desmond's slam leads Nats over Phillies" - Rob Maad, AP/WTOP.com

via Twitter:

• "Jayson Werth arrived at this point of his career — loathed by one city, adored by teammates, rich beyond his dreams — in part because of the twisted intensity within him." - "Nationals 6, Phillies 2: Desmond, Werth lead comeback victory" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals did something in the series finale that has been rare this season: They came through when they had runners in scoring position." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - June 19, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Gio Gonzalez, Tyler Clippard, Ian Krol and Drew Storen combined to record 29 consecutive outs without surrendering a hit from the first through the 10th innings." - "Instant analysis: Nats 6, Phillies 2 (11)" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com


• "A team with expectations to be among the game’s elite, perhaps even the standard-bearers, was left stewing over another loss late on Tuesday." - "Ian Desmond's grand slam in 11th leads Nationals over Phillies" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Manager Davey Johnson reiterated that he wanted [Danny] Espinosa, who was rehabbing an ailing right wrist, to straighten out his swing from both sides of the plate." - "Nats activate Danny Espinosa, option him to Minor Leagues" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "There isn't a ton of big league experience among that group, and thus, the bench is an area of his team that [Davey] Johnson still views as a work in progress." - "Nationals Pastime: Bench composition still a work in progress" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo expanded Wednesday on what they’d like to see from [Danny] Espinosa while he’s in the minor leagues..." - "More on the Nationals' decision to option Danny Espinosa to Triple-A" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound for the Nationals, setting up a matchup between a former ace and a current one." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - June 20, 2013" - Ian McCue, MLB.com Preview

• "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said [Bryce] Harper should be cleared to hit, field and run the bases 'in a couple of days..." - "Harper ramping up to baseball activities" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is getting close to resuming baseball activities, general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday." - "Bryce Harper set to begin baseball activities in a few days" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Meanwhile, [Mike] Rizzo discussed the process that Danny Espinosa is going through now that he's been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper close to doing baseball activities, Espinosa re-working his swing (updated)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com


• "Having been cleared to walk and jog without a knee brace, Bryce Harper may resume baseball activities within the next two days, General Manager Mike Rizzo said." - "Bryce Harper to resume baseball actitivies soon" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Roger] Bernadina said he woke up this morning and felt something was wrong with his left eye. He had trouble seeing, and everything was cloudy. After the game, the eye was bloodshot." - "Nationals Pastime: Injury updates on Tracy and Bernadina" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'We got lucky. We stole this one,' [Jayson] Werth said. 'It was one of those games that you need if you're going to go on to win the division. You need a bunch of wins like this.'" - "Nats eat up Phillies bullpen in dramatic win" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "After losing to the Phillies on Monday, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond went to manager Davey Johnson and said the team wasn't playing as loose as it did last year." - "Davey: Nats have a lot of season ahead" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Both were technically available, the Nationals said, but [Chad] Tracy required treatment for the majority of the game and [Roger] Bernadina struggled to see clearly out of his eye." - "Chad Tracy dealing with back issue; Roger Bernadina out with eye irritation" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Gio] Gonzalez followed his nightmare start with seven innings of mastery. He did not allow the Phillies another hit, retiring 21 of the last 23 batters he faced..." - "Gio Gonzalez helps deliver a comeback victory after rocky start" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'We keep saying we've got a long way to go but at the same time, we need to start winning ballgames and being a championship team,' [Jayson] Werth said." - "Nationals Pastime: Plenty of postgame notes and quotes after Nats' 6-2, 11-inning win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Jonathan Papelbon came in to pitch the ninth for the third straight day. And for the second time in three days, he blew a save." - "Phillies: Another strong outing by Kendrick goes to waste" - Chris Branch, Courier-Post | courierpostonline.com

• "The Phils were three outs away from completing a three-game sweep of the defending National League East champion Washington Nationals." - "Phillies' fundamental issues" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

• "Phillies righthander Michael Stutes thought he had the third strike. So did just about everybody else who remained at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night." - "Stutes gives up slam in loss to Nationals" - Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer

• "One of the fundamental rules of the sport states that it is a dangerous way to go about life by scoring two runs on two hits through two hitters and then going silent offensively for the rest of the evening." - "Poor Phils fundamentals lead to late loss to Washington" - Kevin Cooney, phillyburbs.com: Sports

• "Quote of the day: Jayson Werth is 'ready to eat somebody's face'" - Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com


• NATS MINORS:

• "Justin Thomas wrapped up a successful college career just a few weeks ago." - "White Oak product signs with Nationals" - Hayden Henry, Longview News-Journal: Sports

Class-A Auburn: "The Doubledays (2-1) defeated the Batavia Muckdogs (1-2) 6-3 at Falcon Park to claim the series." - "Auburn Wins 6-3, Takes Series" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Auburn: "The Auburn Doubledays had plenty of chances to capitalize, and they did just enough to beat the Batavia Muckdogs 6-3 Wednesday at Falcon Park." - "Doubledays Postgame: Auburn struggles with runners on" - Jeremy Houghtaling, Auburn Citizen

Double-A Harrisburg: "June 21 to 26 Senators Homestand Preview at Metro Bank Park" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Double-A Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Jordan allowed his first earned run in four games, but remained solid on the hill with eight strong innings, defeating Bowie 3-1 at Prince George's Stadium." - "Taylor Jordan goes to 6-0 as Harrisburg defeats Bowie 3-1 (updated)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "Technically it was his worst effort over his last three starts, but Taylor Jordan was still pretty darn good for the Harrisburg Senators Wednesday night at Prince George's Stadium..." - "Taylor Jordan is human, allows a run, still pitches the Harrisburg Senators to victory" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped a second straight one-run decision in a 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday afternoon." - "Knights edge Clay, Chiefs in pitchers' duel" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Triple-A debut of Caleb Clay went pretty well. Clay got the loss on Wednesday as the Syracuse Chiefs lost to the Charlotte Knights, 2-1, but he was strong in defeat." - "Clay has strong debut in Syracuse loss" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Thursday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Ian Desmond says his #EatFace grand slam 'tasted pretty good, to be honest.'" - Nats Enquirer

• "Week 12 Game 71 Nats @ Phillies" - Lady and the Nats

• "Washington Nationals Records by Opponent 2005 to 2013" - D.C. Baseball History

• "Video of Ian Desmond's face-saving, face-eating, grand slam" - Nats Enquirer

• "In the early days of his career with the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond racked up more errors than web gems." - "Nationals Buzz: Desmond solidifying his status as Nats' leader" - Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• "With a picturesque swing, [Ian] Desmond socked the ball over the left-center field wall to power the Nats to a 6-2 lead – their biggest margin of victory in a week." - "Washington Nationals Game 71 Review: Desmond grand slam powers Nats past Phillies" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "There are only wins that take place at the beginning of a series of many wins that in retrospect people feel ok about assigning importance to." - "SEASON CHANGING WIN!!" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Shaun Marcum disintegrated in the middle innings, sending the Mets to a 5-3 loss at Turner Field that reminded everyone it’s still 2013 and this team has significant holes." - "Shaun Marcum falls to 0-9 as New York Mets lose to Atlanta Braves" - Mike Puma, NYPOST.com

Marlins: "Bullpen blowups brought about losses on back-to-back days for the Marlins, the latest occurring Wednesday when Cody Ross rocked Mike Dunn with a knockout homer in the ninth inning." - "PHOENIX: Bats go silent for Miami Marlins in Arizona" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "When Kris Medlen couldn’t hold a multirun lead in the fifth inning Wednesday night, the Braves gave him another. And that time, Medlen made it stand." -"Medlen blows lead, Braves rally to defeat Mets" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

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