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8/18/06 "What Is This, The High Hat?" - Johnny Caspar

Oliver Perez (10-8, 3.46 ERA) vs John Lannan (1-1, 3.00 ERA)  

     Originally signed as an Amateur Free Agent out of Laguna Salada in the Dominican Republic by the New York Mets in 1998, then signed by the New York Yankees in 1999 when the contract with the Mets was voided, Wily Mo Pena finally made his Major League four years later with the Cincinnati Reds after the Yankees traded him to Cincinnati in a deal for Drew Henson and Michael Coleman.
     Pena debuted with the Reds on September 10, 2002, and played parts of four seasons in Cincy before being shipped to Boston in the trade that brought Bronson Arroyo to the Reds. Pena's GM for a short time during his tenure with the Reds, and now-Nationals GM Jim Bowden, once again acquired the 6'2" outfielder from the Red Sox yesterday, where he was a backup outfielder, and brought him to DC where he'll apparently platoon in left field, and get his first DC start tonight, against the Mets and left-handed starter Oliver Perez...
      Pena's in left, Nook Logan in center, Austin Kearns in right, and the newest National is batting in the six spot for now. In a part-time role so far this season with the Red Sox, Pena is batting .218 AVG, with 5 HR's and 17 RBI's in 156 at bats.
      ...I guess I shouldn't have pointed out Luis Castillo's lack of power last night, because with one out in the first, Castillo takes a high fastball from the Nationals left-handed starter John "Trouble" Lannan and lines it out to left before Pena can even start to pursue it. 1-0 Mets. Oliver Perez gives up a two-out double to Ryan Zimmerman, but gets a ground out from DY for a scoreless first.
     Austin Kearns singles to start the Nationals second, bringing up Wily Mo Pena in his first at bat as a National. Kearns takes second on a wild pitch in the dirt. Pena patiently lets Perez walk him. Jesus "The Future" Flores moves both runners over with a line drive off David Wright's glove at third, and "The Future" almost beats out a great throw from Jose Reyes. Nook Logan lines to left, Moises Alou tracks and grabs it, but it's deep enough to score Kearns. 1-1 ballgame. John Lannan slaps a fastball by third, Pena scores. 2-1 Nationals after two.
     Jose Reyes doubles to left with one out in the third, and steals third with the right-handed Luis Castillo at bat. Castillo grounds to short, scoring Reyes, and then Castillo's safe at first when DY's foot (questionably) comes off the bag. 2-2 tie. Zimmerman muffs a tailor-made DP on a grounder from David Wright. Both runners safe. Carlos Beltran pops out, Alou grounds out as Lannan picks up the defense. 2-2 after two and a half.
     Austin Kearns singles with two outs in the third. DY doubles down the line in left bringing up Wily Mo Pena, who grounds out to third to end the threat. John Lannan gives up a leadoff single to Damion Easley in the fourth, after getting squeezed on a 2-2 strike inside, but Lannan strands him there as he gets a double play to end the inning. 2-2 score after four.
     Lannan gives up a line drive single to center to Jose Reyes with one out in the fifth. Luis Castillo beats out his own sac bunt attempt, as the ball dies on the infield grass. Two on, one out for Wright, who slices an inside-out flair to right that no one can reach, two runs score. 4-2 Mets after five.
     Damion Easley singles to lead off the sixth, but turns his ankle taking second on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch allows pinch runner Shawn Green to take third. Felipe Lopez dives to rob Lastings Milledge on a grounder to short that Lopez fields and throws while holding Green at third. Mets catcher Mike DeFelice flies to left, and over Pena's outstretched glove to score Green and chase Lannan. 5-2 Mets in the sixth.
     Pena's first hit as a Nationals is a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth over Carlos Beltran's head in center. Jesus Flores singles through short, and Pena scores his first run as a National to make it 5-3 Mets in the sixth. Nook Logan lines a laser through Reyes' wickets at short and into left center to move Flores to third. The Professional Pinch Hitter Tony Batista's up, and Oliver Perez walks him to load the bases. Guillermo Mota's coming on in relief. Felipe Lopez grounds back to the pitcher on Mota's second pitch to end the sixth. 5-3 Mets.
     Saul Rivera takes the mound in the seventh for the Nationals, and gives up a one-out double to David Wright on a chopper over third. Beltran gets the intentionals to bring up Moises Alou. Alou doubles off the wall in left on an 0-2 pitch up in the zone, Wright scores. 6-3 Mets. Rivera walks Green to load the bases, but Milledge grounds into an inning-ending double play.
     Ronnie Belliard singles off Mota to start the bottom of the seventh. THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Ryan Zimmerman hits a line drive to right center for a double to score Belliard. 6-4 Mets. DY flies out to left. Austin Kearns works a walk to bring up Wily Mo Pena! Pena wll face Jorge Sosa. Pena lines the first pitch to Beltran in center. Jesus Flores grounds out to third.
     The Tallest PItcher in MLB History Jon Rauch pitches the top of the eigth. The 6'11" right-hander works a scoreless frame. Mets set-up man Aaron Heilman walks Nook Logan to start the Nationals eigth. Pinch hitter Ryan Church pops out to short. Felipe Lopez swings through a change-up. Ronnie Belliard's up when Nook Logan takes second uncontested, but Belliard stares at strike three to end the eigth.
     The Flat-Brimmed Closer Chad Cordero comes on in a non-save situation in the ninth inning. Cordero gives up back to back singles with two outs to Moises Alou and Shawn Green, and gives up an RBI single to Lastings Milledge to give the Mets a 7-4 lead.
     The Nationals have three outs to get three runs against the "Mets 'Mariano'" Billy Wagner. Zimmerman walks to start the bottom of the ninth. DY strikes out swinging at a slider in the dirt. Austin Kearns fouls off three 2-2 pitches, before flying out to deep left. Wily Mo Pena gets handcuffed and grounds out to Wagner. Mets take two straight in DC. Final score 7-4.

Nationals now 55-68.