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9/5/07 The Flat-Brimmed Closer Strikes Again!!!

     Washington's third baseman Ryan Zimmerman ranges over to the tarp along the left field stands to catch a pop up for the second out of the first, and then throws out his fellow third baseman, Florida's Miguel Cabrera, as Zimmerman backhands a grounder and fires to first. Nationals starter Tim Redding has his first scoreless on Roberto Clemente Day in Washington, DC's RFK Stadium.

     Felipe Lopez is back in the leadoff spot with Nook Logan out of the lineup tonight. Florida starter Sergio Mitre gives up a single to Lopez, and one out later Ryan Zimmerman lines a single to left. Austin Kearns rips into a sinker up in the zone to load the bases with another single. Ryan Church lines a broken bat single to short center, 1-0 Nationals. Mitre pounds Wily Mo Pena inside and gets a K, but then walks Brian Schneider to walk in the second run. 2-0 Nationals. Mitre walks Robert Fick for a 3-0 Nationals lead. After throwing two straight balls to the pitcher, Mitre is done...Daniel Barone comes on in relief and gets the last out of the first.

     Tim Redding lets two on and goes to a full count with the pitcher before getting a swinging K for his second scoreless. Redding keeps trying to get low fastballs called for strikes, but the Ump isn't calling them. Redding walks Hanley Ramirez with a low full count fastball to start the third. Ryan Zimmerman takes the force at second to get Ramirez, but Dan Uggla beats out the back end of the DP grounder he'd hit. Uggla's hustle results in a run as he scores when Jeremy Hermida doubles to left center. 3-1 Nationals lead. Tim Redding takes a line drive off the hip from Cabrera and then injures his shoulder diving for the ball...Redding's led off the field with his right arm held up by the trainer...


     ...Manny Acta, Nationals Manager brings in Jonathan Albaladejo for a surprise MLB debut with one out, a 3-2 lead, Cabrera at first and Hermida at third. Albaladejo is a big 6'5'' 260 lb, 24 year old, right hander out of Santurce, Puerto Rico who will be wearing the number #53 on his Nationals jersey. Albaladejo goes for it all when he fields a ground ball from Josh Willingham and throws to second to try for the DP, but Felipe Lopez drops it in the exchange and settles for the force. Cabrera scores on the play. 3-2 Nationals. Albaladejo jams Mike Jacobs inside and saws off his bat for a pop out to end the third.

     Albaladejo starts the fourth throwing fastballs, blowing Cody Ross away with a heater upstairs, then Albaladejo starts to get nasty, striking out Miguel Olivo on a slider outside, and Alejandro De Aza swings through a fastball down the pipe for the third straight K to end the fourth.

     Robert Fick starts the fourth with a single, and another debut is at hand, as Justin Maxwell's going to hit for Albaladejo. J-Max, a 6'5'' 225 lb center fielder out of nearby Bethesda, Maryland, was the second Nationals Draft Pick behind Ryan Zimmerman in 2006, and Maxwell apparently has a more wide-open stance than Tony Batista. J-Max fouls off the first pitch he sees in the Majors before flying out to the warning track in left for the first out of his career. Marlins reliever Ross Wolf holds the Marlins close, down 3-2 through four.

     "The Lethal Weapon" Hanley Ramirez walks and steals second off Winston Abreu in the fifth. Jeremy Hermida singles to center moving Ramirez to third, but Abreu gets Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play, Zimmerman to Bellliard to Fick. 3-2 Nationals after five.

     Austin Kearns gets a home run the hard way, driving a low fastball to left center, over four hundred feet from home for a solo shot and a 4-2 Nationals lead after five.

      Jesus "Everyday" Colome enters the game in the sixth. Colome gives up a leadoff single to Josh Willingham, and then throws a wild pitch allowing Willingham to take second. Colome pops up Mike Jacobs for the first out. Cody Ross hits a hard grounder to third, Zimmerman dives to his right, checks the runner and fires to first...just in time. Colome hangs a slider, and Miguel Olivo knocks one off the facade below the outfield seats for a two-out two-run home run to left. 4-4 ballgame in the sixth.

    Luis Ayala will pitch the top of the seventh for the Nationals. Ayala retires the Marlins in order. Stand up and stretch...Marlins righty Matt Lindstrom gets two outs before Austin Kearns singles for his third hit of the game. Kearns moves to second on a wild pitch, and Lindstrom walks Church in front of...Wily Mo Mo Mo Mo Mo!!! Line drive up the middle and it's a screamer, Pena turns an inside pitch out and scores Kearns from second with a two-out single to center. 5-4 Nationals. Lindstrom out. Taylor Tankersley in. Brian Schneider singles, Church scores. 6-4 Nationals.

     The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch is on to work the eigth. Rauch blows a fastball by Cabrera. Willingham stares at strike three on the outside corner. Up and in on Mike Jacobs, who swings through strike three. Rauch Rules. Wait for it...

     Chad Cordero enters the game in the ninth wearing his home whites, red Nationals cap pulled down low over the brow, white cursive "W" stitched above the brim of a cap that's as flat as highway roadkill. Cody Ross doubles down the line in left to start the ninth. Alfredo Amezaga swings through strike three on the outside edge. Pinch hitter Josh Wood watches Cordero paint the outside corner for the second out. The Flat-Brimmed Closer vs The Lethal Weapon, Cordero faces Hanley Ramirez...Cordero pops him up, but Belliard drops the third out...Ramirez works a walk. Dan Uggla swings through a low inside fastball for STRIKE THREE. 1,2,3 Nationals win. 6-4 final. Nationals sweep the Marlins and take five of six at home before heading to Atlanta on Friday.

Nationals now 63-77.