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Federal Baseball's Favorite Day In Nationals RFK History...6/18/06


     Chien-Ming Wang for New York and Mike O'Connor for Washington in the Sunday "rubber match" of the first Interleague series between the Yankees and Nationals, and both pitchers are through two scoreless. 

     Wang, the sinkerballer who had a surprisingly successful start in the Majors last season with the Yankees, has continued to win in the pinstripes and road grays.

     Mike O'Connor arrived from the Nationals Double-A affiliate in Potomac, and has shown such promise that the Nationals are said to be fielding offers for Livan Hernandez, Tony Armas and Ramon Ortiz, which would leave the rookie O'Connor, Shawn Hill, and John Patterson (if healthy) as the core of the Nationals future rotation.

     The Nationals are donning the Day Game red uniforms with the DC logo on the front of the jersey and cap, which they were wearing during Saturday's comeback win as well. Brendan Harris is in at short replacing the injured-Friday-but-available, Royce Clayton, and Daryle Ward gets a rare start at first in place of Nick Johnson, who is out of the lineup injured for the first time this season...

     ...O'Connor bends a looping curve onto the outside corner of the plate to the Yankees starter, Wang, who takes a called strike three. Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera both pop out to Jose Guillen in right. O'Connor's through three.

     Alex Rodriguez singles off O'Connor with two out in the fifth, and Jorge Posada walks on four straight pitches out of the zone, but Robinson Cano pops out to the Nationals catcher Robert Fick, who starts in place of Brian Schneider, because as every baseball announcer loves to say, "...It's a day game after a night game." Both Wang and O'Connor are through four scoreless.

     Ryan Zimmerman singles to start the Nationals fifth, and steals second with one out and Brendan Harris at bat. Harris singles into left and Zimmerman rounds third, Melky Cabrera fields it on the run and fires the ball home, but off the mark as Zimmerman slides in headfirst and safe. 1-0 Nationals.

      Derek Jeter doubles to start the sixth, and here go the tourists/fans, "Let's Go Yank-..." "Boooo," the DC Faithful drown the Yankees fans out. Jason Giambi grounds out to Zimmerman at short on the dramatic shift. A-Rod's at bat when a wild pitch moves Jeter to third, Rodriguez walks on strike three and Nationals Manager Frank Robinson wants to know where it missed. Jorge Posada hits a sac fly to right, Guillen catches it coming in and throws on the run, but Jeter scores as the ball bounces into Fick. 1-1 ballgame.

     Gary Majewski replaces Mike O'Connor in the eigth. O'Connor goes 7.0 IP, allows 4 hits, 1 ER, and 3 walks with 5 K's, and has a 3.43 ERA as he exits. Majewski walks the leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera. Jeter's up with one man on. Jeter goes down swinging at outside heat. Giambi swings through strike three, a 94 mph fastball that buckles at the last moment to avoid Giambi's bat. It's up to A-Rod, one on two out in the ninth. A-Rod takes the first pitch to the wall in left, and Melky Cabrera tags and beats the throw home. Sac fly for A-Rod. 2-1 Yankees.

       Wang comes back out in the eigth, and issues a leadoff walk to Harris. Marlon Byrd bunts and moves Harris to second. Brian Schneider gets his first at bat of the afternoon, and flies out to left. Soriano walks. Jose Vidro smokes one to left, but Melky Cabrera's on his horse, and he runs it down, quickly closing the gap in left center.

      Bernie Williams, Wang and Damon go down in order in the ninth, and the home team heads in trying to avoid giving Wang outs twenty-five through twenty-seven. Guillen grounds out. Marlon Anderson gets a pinch hit single. Ryan Zimmer--THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! RYAN ZIMMERMAN SENDS THE FANS HOME HAPPY WITH A WALK OFF TWO-RUN HOME RUN. THHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEE NATIONALS WIN! THHHHHHHHHEEEE...NATIONALS WINNNN!

Nationals now 32-39.