Washington's right-handed starter Joel Hanrahan (2-0, 2.76 ERA) faces Philadelphia's lefty Cole Hamels (13-5, 3.64 ERA) as the Nationals and Phillies play the third of three in Washington, DC. Hanrahan, 26, makes his third Major League start, while Hamels, 23, has thirteen wins so far in his first full season with the Phillies. No score in the first.
Hanrahan issues a one-out walk to Jayson Werth in the second, and Carlos Ruiz proves all the old adages about walking batters true with a home run to left center for a 2-0 Phillies lead. Nationals catcher Jesus "The Future" Flores takes an aggresive approach to a sac bunt by Hamels with Abraham Nunez at first, as Flores jumps up, fields, and fires to second to cut down the lead runner for the second out, and Hanrahan gets Jimmy Rollins chasing heat to end the top of the second.
Hanrahan gets Ryan Howard to chase a breaking ball into the dirt for strike three, ending the top of the third. Cole Hamels and his lights-out-change are back on the hill looking for his third scoreless frame. Hamels gets the opposing pitcher staring at a curve on the outside corner. (Not fair!) Hamels issues a one-out walk to Felipe Lopez, but gets Ronnie Belliard and Ryan Zimmerman to ground out ending the third.
*More Good Nationals News* Jack McGeary, another left-handed starter is in the MASN booth(2007 6th round pick) having signed with the Nationals today making it 20/ 20, with the Nationals signing all of this year's draft picks, and get this, the Nationals gave McGeary "first-round money" and agreed to pay for his Stanford education. Take that Jeffrey Loria!!! (Sorry, left-over Expos anger!!)
Cole Hamels walks Austin Kearns on four straight with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Church bounces a grounder off Ryan Howard's knee. Both runners are safe. First and second, one out for Jesus Flores. Hamels induces the inning ending DP with an outside fastball that Flores grounds to second. 2-0 after four.
Hanrahan faces Howard again in the fifth, this time with two on and one out. Hanrahan hits the outside edge with a slider that Howard swings through for the second out of the fifth. Hanrahan pops up Rowand to end the top of the frame. Hamels retires the Nationals in order to complete his fifth scoreless. 2-0 Phils.
Chris Schroder replaces Hanrahan on the hill in the sixth. Schroder gives up a grounder up the middle for a one-out single, but gets two pop flies to left to end the top of the inning, and hold the Nationals close. Hamels retires Belliard, Zimmerman and DY to end his sixth scoreless.
Schroder walks Jimmy Rollins in front of Tadahito Iguchi, who bunts down the third base line and beats it out to put two runners on with no outs in the seventh for Pat Burrell. Schroder gets a pop to center for the first out, Rollins tags and takes third. Manny Acta, Nationals Manager will turn to "Hollywood" Mike Bacsik to face the left-handed Howard with runners at first and third, one out in the seventh. Howard grounds to Belliard, to Lopez at second, the throw to first...not in time. Howard beats out the back end of the DP allowing Rollins to increase the lead to 3-0 Philly.
Austin Kearns doubles off Hamels to start the bottom of the seventh. Hamels drops his change on Church for a swinging strikeout. Jesus Flores chases the high heat for the second K of the eigth. Nook Logan beats out a bunt, moving Kearns to third. Professional Pinch Hitter Tony Batista will face Antonio Alfonseca. (Hamels 6.2 IP, 4 hits allowed, 0 ER, 2 walks, 6 K's). Batista works back from 0-2 to a full count, and earns a walk. Felipe Lopez faces Alfonseca with two outs and the bases juice...uh...loaded. Alfonseca gets Lopez swinging at a ball. 3-0 Philly after seven.
Jayson Werth leads off the eigth with a double down the line in left off Nationals reliever Saul Rivera. Carlos Ruiz lays down a sac bunt to third. Werth advances. Abraham Nunez swings through a high fastball. Gregg Dobbs doubles to center to cash in another runner as Werth crosses. 4-0 Philly.
Ronnie Belliard smacks a solo shot to right off Tom "Flash" Gordon to get the Nationals on the scoreboard with one out in the eight. 4-1 Phillies. DY!! DY!!! takes a 2-1 fastball to left and off the wall beyond the outfield. 4-2 Phillies. Gordon walks Austin Kearns. Gordon out. JC Romero on to face Church. Lefty vs Lefty. Church singles through second. The "Future" is Now, Jesus Flores lines out to right, right fielder Chris Roberson nails Kearns coming back to second, double play to end the eigth. 4-2 Philly.
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch gets two outs in the ninth, bringing Ryan Howard to the plate for a Godzilla v Mothra kind of titanic battle. Howard lines to right through the dramatic shift for a single. Rauch gets Aaron Rowand to fly out to left. Brett Myers on to close out the ninth. Nook Logan watches a curve drop in for strike three. Robert Fick lines out to center. Felipe Lopez grounds to Jimmy Rollins, who fires to first to take two of three in DC. Phillies win 4-2.
Nationals now 55-66.