I don't know what's more exhilarating: that Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate sang the national anthem before tonight's game at Shea Stadium or that the Nats stole one in breathtaking fashion, rallying from a four-run deficit after being no-hit into the sixth inning---and winning the game in ten innings, on the strength of three bombs into the Flushing night.
What was the most remarkable storyline of this game? That the Nats, last in the National League in homers last year, erased the deficit and surged ahead on the strength of the longball, in stark contrast to a certain Boswellian admonition? Or that the entire resurgence took place without Washington's king of swagger, Alfonso Soriano, who departed in the sixth after a beaning from Mets' rookie starter Brian Bannister? [editor's note, by Basil] Of course, as we know, Soriano was removed for not running out a play. The radio announcers weren't exactly clear on this point, or else I missed the definitive announcement.
Well, as Reverend Lovejoy would say, the short answer is "Yes, with an 'if,'" and the long answer is "No, with a 'but.'"
The most amazing thing is that the Nats scored more runs in a single inning---five in the tenth---than the '05 edition scored in sixteen games last year----consecutively. That's right; this team tithed away a tenth of its season schedule between last July 17 and August 3, never scoring more than four runs in any of those sixteen games.
In one inning of this season's second game, the Nats topped every one of those purported performances. They did it largely with massive cuts (as well as some help from Jorge Julio, the prince of wilt) and entirely without their most expensive player.
Of course, it's best not to get carried away. But it's certainly important to have a little spurt-ability, and if you're without your superstar-by-acclamation, you still have to try to win the game. Just the same, there will be games that are won on the little things, and there will be games where Soriano carries the team. So it's best not to place too much importance in the manner a single game was resolved.
But you sure as sin can enjoy it.
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The other headline stemming from this win is the first big league homer for Ryan Zimmerman, a poke of some degree of significance to be sure---all he did was tie the game against Billy Wagner in the ninth. May it be the first of many for Dutch, who of course was a demon during spring training, smacking seven big flies.
I did not actually watch the homer, of course, given the lack of carriage on Comcast and the MLB.tv blackout. But, just for posterity, I looked up the location of Zimmerman's first homer, which can be found at CBS Sportsline.
In a nutshell: up in the zone, inner-half. BANG! ZOOM! baby.