Washington's Sunday starter Shawn Hill pitched six shutout innings in his return from the DL last Tuesday against Philadelphia, allowing only one hit to Ryan Howard and the Phils. Despite his efforts, Hill received no decision in his first start for the Nationals since May 11th, when the sinker-baller left the game in the middle of a shutout of the Florida Marlins. The word on the street, or the Nationals scuttlebutt has it that Hill was brought up earlier than expected so that his "stuff" wasn't wasted in the Minors.
Hill faces the literally ageless wonder Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in the finale of the three game weekend series that the New York Mets are looking to sweep today, on the road in DC's RFK stadium. Hill gives away a one-out walk to Luis Castillo, who moves to third on David Wright's duck-snort to center. Carlos Beltran flies to left, and Ryan Church throws home ill-advisedly allowing Wright to take second as Castillo tags and scores well ahead of the throw. 1-0 Mets.
Ryan Church, Austin Kearns, and Wily Mo Pena left to right in the new-look outfield this afternoon. Ryan Zimmerman, Felipe Lopez, D'Angelo Jimenez and Robert Fick around the infield, with Schneider taking throws from the Hill. El Duque issues his own one-out walk to Jimenez bringing Zimmerman up to bat. Zimmerman goes down swinging at a high fastball inside. Austin Kearns lines one off El Duque's ankle and then is called out when the throw to first hits him in the numbers and he's "outside the running lane," according to the Umps.
After giving up a bloop single to El Duque to start the second, Hill covers first after Robert Fick stabs a hard chopper from Jose Reyes and throws to Felipe Lopez covering second and back to Hill at first for a double play. Hill gets a groundout from Castillo. 1-0 Mets after two.
THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! Ryan Zimmerman comes up in the bottom of the third with Fick at second, Jimenez at first, and drops a teardrop out of the reach of Mets first baseman Shawn Green and into shallow right to score Fick and tie the game at 1-1 after three innings of play.
WILY MO MO MO MO MO!!! Wily Mo Pena shows everyone the upper deck in the outfield when he catches an El Duque offering and bounces it off the facade high above the awe struck Marlon Anderson in left. MO MO MO!! 2-1 Nationals. The DC Faithful love it!!!
Marlon "I've Been Everywhere, Man" Anderson lines a single to right center to start the fifth, and Jose Reyes works a two-out walk off Hill courtesy of the second base Ump, who charges Hill with a ball for "going to his mouth" on the mound. Hill bounces back, getting a grounder from Castillo to hold the 2-1 lead through the top of the fifth.
Carlos Beltran ties the game with a solo shot to right on a line drive with one out in the sixth. 2-2 ballgame. El Duque retires the Nationals in order in the bottom of the frame, still 2-2 after six, Hill does the same to the Mets in the top of the seventh. Stand up and stretch...
Brian Schneider lays down a sac bunt to advance Wily Mo Pena to second after El Duque walks the newest National to start the seventh. Robert Fick flies out to center. Pinch hitter Dmitri Young gets the intentionals to put two on with two out for Felipe Lopez. Lopez lines out to second. 2-2 after seven.
Luis Castillo singles back up the middle to start the Mets eigth. The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History is on the mound. Jon Rauch faces David Wright. Wright doubles over Ryan Church's head in left. Castillo to third. Carlos Beltran is issued the intentionals to load the bases for Shawn Green. Green lines a single up the middle through the drawn-in infield. Two runs score. 4-2 Mets. Rauch gets Lastings Milledge swinging for the first out. Marlon Anderson doubles over Pena's head in right. 6-2 Mets. Rauch has nothing. Chris Schroder relieves Rauch and ends the eigth.
The Mets "Everyday" arm Jorge Sosa will work the bottom of the eigth. (The Nationals own Jesus "Everyday" Colome was recalled yesterday with Ryan Langerhans going down). Sosa retires the side in order. Chris Schroder gives up a two-out walk to David Wright, and Carlos Beltran continues to demolish the ball in RFK with a two-run home run to right and into the Nationals bullpen. 8-2 Mets. Pedro Feliciano gets a throwing error allowing Jesus Flores to reach first with two outs. Professional Pinch Hitter Tony Batista works a walk. Ronnie Belliard grounds back to the pitcher to end it. Mets win. 8-2 final. The Mets sweep the three game series in DC.
Nationals now 55-69.