Seattle starter R.A. Dickey is a practictioner of the dark art of the Knuckle Ball, and he uses it to get groundball outs from Cristian Guzman and Elijah Dukes, but Dickey can’t fool Lastings Milledge, who hits a two-out single through second. Milledge steals second on a knuckler in the dirt with DY at bat, and Milledge scores one pitch later when DY lines another knuckler to left for an RBI single. 1-0 DC...Ichiro Suzuki smacks a 3-2 pitch to right center for a leadoff double in the Mariners’ first. Hill walks Jose Lopez to bring up former Expo Jose Vidro. Vidro grounds out to second, advancing both runners. Raul Ibanez grounds out to first, but Ichiro scores and the game’s tied at 1-1.
Felipe Lopez singles to start the DC second. Wily Mo Pena pushes a single through the right side of the infield. Willie Harris tries his best to bunt but settles for a walk to load ‘em up for Guzman. Guzman pops up unproductively. Elijah Dukes goes the other way for an RBI single to right, scoring Lopez. 2-1 Washington. Lastings Milledge goes down swinging. DY fouls of a few full count pitches, and walks to force in a run for a 3-1 DC lead. Jesus Flores waits for a hanger and lines it to left for a two-run double off Dickey, and a 5-1 DC lead. Ronnie Belliard lines to center, DY and Flores score, and that’s it for Mr. Dickey...7-1 DC...Shawn Hill gets Richie Sexson looking at a called third strike. Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima and right fielder Wladimir Balentien single in succession off Hill in the second, but Yuniesky Betancourt grounds to Guzman to Lopez, to DY, double play. 7-1 Washington.
Seattle lefty Ryan Rowand-Smith comes back for the third, after ending the second, and throws a scoreless frame. Ichiro and Jose Lopez hit back to back singles in Seattle’s third. Jose Vidro deposits and RBI single in short left to score Ichiro from second. 7-2 Nationals. Raul Ibanez lofts a fly ball to center, and Milledge can’t come up with it, bases loaded for Adrian Beltre. Hanging curve from Hill, RBI single from Beltre scores Jose Lopez. 7-3 DC. Richie Sexson goes down looking for the second time tonight on a fastball outside. Hill gets a DP grounder from Johjima to end the third with the lead. 7-3 DC.
Three up, three down for DC in the fourth. Shawn Hill gets Wladimir Balentien swinging to start the home half of the inning. Yuniesky Betancourt singles to center. Ichiro’s robbed by a diving Willie Harris. Jose Lopez singles through second with two down. Jose Vidro flies out to right, Dukes has it. 7-3 after four. Ryan Rowland-Smith throws a scoreless fifth. Ronnie Belliard drops Ibanez’s grounder to let the leadoff runner on in the Mariners’ fifth. Adrian Beltre doubles to right center, one hop and into the stands. Sexson lines back to the mound. Kenji Johjima slices a line drive to right, and Dukes has it glance off his glove as he leaps, two runs score. 7-5 Nationals after five innings.
Right-handed reliever Sean Green on in the sixth for Seattle. Cristian Guzman beats out a chopper to second for a leadoff single. Elijah Dukes swings over a sinking fastball for strike three. Lastings Milledge beats Beltre to the hole at short for a single to left. Sean Green gets DY looking at a low called strike. Jesus Flores goes down swinging to end the top of the sixth. Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera’s on in relief, and he quickly fields Ichiro’s weak grounder to get the lightning-quick outfielder at first. Jose Lopez grounds out to Felipe Lopez, Jose Vidro does the same. 7-5 DC after six.
Ronnie Belliard works a leadoff walk in the seventh, but gets forced out at second on a Felipe Lopez grounder to first. Seattle reliever Sean Green throws one by his catcher Johjima to move Felipe Lopez to second. Wily Mo Pena goes down chasing a curve. Willie Harris grounds out to short. Stand up and stretch...Saul Rivera issues a two-out walk to Richie Sexson, bringing Kenji Johjima up in the bottom of the seventh. Rivera gets Johjima chasing to end the Mariners’ seventh. Still 7-5 Nationals.
Mark Lowe pitches for the Mariners in the eighth. Cristian Guzman grounds out. Dukes slices a fly ball to left where Balentien catches it. Milledge gets punched out looking. “Wild” Joel Hanrahan pops Balentien up to second. Betancourt doubles to left center and off the wall. Ichiro punches a single through short on an 0-2 pitch. Betancourt takes third. Ichiro steals second. Jose Lopez flies out to left. Betancourt tags and scores from third. 7-6 Nationals. Jose Vidro? Flies out to right, Dukes has it. 7-6 after eight.
Mariners’ reliever Mark Lowe’s back in the ninth. DY down swinging. Jesus Flores lines the second out to Jose Lopez. Ronnie Belliard strikes out swinging to end the top of the ninth. Wait for it...The Tallest Closer in MLB History, Jon Rauch comes on to close it. Raul Ibanez swings through a 94 mph fastball. Adrian Beltre flies out to left, where Ryan Langerhans makes the catch. Rauch vs Sexson for the Heavyweight Title...Sexson drops a single into short center. Willie Bloomquist runs for Sexson. Kenji Johjima flies out to Milledge. Nationals win. 7-6 final.
Nationals now 27-42.