Nationals Blow Five-Run Lead In Eighth To Drop 13th Of 15 To Florida.
Collin Balester has a no-hitter through 5.2, and leaves the game with a 3-1 lead in the seventh, relieved on the mound by Mike Hinckley, the Nationals' lefty reliever, who gets a swinging K from Wes Helms to end the seventh with DC ahead 3-1. Washington gets a three-run HR from Ryan Langerhans in the top of the eighth to go ahead 6-1...which is when it all...falls...apart...
Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera continues his string of ugly appearances, allowing back to back walks to start the eighth, and an RBI double drives in both runs to make it 6-3 Nationals. Sa-ool walks Paul Lo Duca before DC Manager Manny Acta yanks Rivera, who's lifted for DC righty reliever Steven Shell. Shell's wild pitch moves two runners into scoring position for Dan Uggla, who singles them both in to make it 6-5 DC. One out later, DC closer "Wild" Joe Hanrahan comes on and makes an error on a bunt from Alfredo Amezaga to let Florida tie it at 6-6, before surrendering a single and an RBI groundout to give Florida the 8-6 lead after eight.
The Nationals score one in the ninth to make it a one-run game on Lastings Milledge RBI hit, but the Marlins turn to Arthur Rhodes, who strikes out Dukes to end Florida's improbable comeback win. 8-6 final. Marlins now 13-2 against DC in '08.
(ed. note - "More to follow later, for now, and...")
For The Completists, The Full Game Report Follows After The Jump...(unedited as of 4:21 pm EST, and it will remain unedited, because I don't want to relive this painful loss...)
Nationals now 56-93. (Countdown to 100 Losses Stands At...7.)
Marlins’ right-hander Anibal Sanchez starts a two-seamer inside and breaks it back in for a backwards K to start the day. Today’s DC shortstop Alberto Gonzalez grounds out to third. Ryan Zimmerman swings over a two-strike change to end the top of the first... Lastings Milledge takes just a few steps back to catch a line drive from Hanley Ramirez for the first out of the Marlins’ first. 94 mph fastball, strike one. 76 mph curve strike two. Curve in the dirt to Florida catcher John Baker, 1-2. Fastball high and outside, 2-2. Baker fouls one off. Balester comes with the heat, 94 mph and outside to get Baker swinging and tipping a foul into DC catcher Luke Montz’s glove. Jorge Cantu fires a low liner toward short that Alberto Gonzalez somehow gets his glove under with a diving catch for the final out.
MIlledge takes a fastball off the elbow shield. Ryan Langerhits up next, Milledge steals second on a high fastball from Sanchez that almost eludes the Marlins’ catcher. Langerhans pops up to behind second. Kory Casto(clapclap)!! takes a 92 mph fastball inside for a called strike three that might have been low. Luke Montz picks a good time to collect his first hit, a two-out RBI single to score Milledge for a 1-0 DC lead. Roger Bernadina grounds into a force at second...Mike Jacobs lines to second, Bonifacio to Casto, one down. Balester walks Dan Uggla in front of “The Yankee Beater” Luis Gonzalez. Balester gets a fly out to left with a 93 mph fastball to Luis Gonzalez. Cody Ross sends Milledge back to the track, where the Nationals centerfielder ends the second. 1-0 DC.
Balester swings through a high fastball for a leadoff K in the third. Emilio Bonifacio sends a high-hopper to Hanley Ramirez at short. Alberto Gonzalez lines out to left...Balester’s back on the mound. Alfredo “The Amazing” Amezaga flies out to Bernadina in left. Anibal Sanchez gets a piece of a fastball but tips it into Montz’s mitt. Hanley Ramirez hits a sharp grounder to third, Zimmerman fields throws and heads into bat...Zimmerman pops up to Jacobs foul of first to start the fourth. Lastings Milledge goes down swinging. Anibal Sanchez issues a two-out walk to Langerhans, but gets a groundout from Casto to end the Nationals’ fourth...John Baker pops out to Kory Casto in the infield. Jorge Cantu flies out to Bernadina in left. Mike Jacobs takes a two-out walk, Balester’s second of the game. Dan Uggla takes a low fastball for a second two-out walk. Luis Gonzalez swings over an 83 mph two-strike change, K’ing to end Balester’s fourth scoreless.
DC backstop Luke Montz strikes out to start the fifth. Roger Bernadina walks, giving Balester a chance for a sac bunt. Balester gets a good one down, and Bonifacio faces Anibal Sanchez with Bernadina at second. Hanley Ramirez fields Bonifacio’s grounder behind second and fires to first for the final out of the Nationals’ fifth...Balester gets a line drive to left from Cody Ross to Bernadina in left for the first out of the Marlins’ fifth. Bernadina charges in and makes the grab in Amezaga pop to short left, and Anibal Sanchez pops out to the infield, Balester is through five. 1-0 DC.
Alberto Gonzalez singles through second off Sanchez for a leadoff hit in the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman up, as a wild pitch bounces off the catcher allowing Gonzalez to take second. Zimmerman flies out to center, Gonzalez takes third. Lastings Milledge rips into a low bender, singling through short to score Gonzalez for a 2-0 DC lead. Milledge steals second. Langerhans gets called out on a full-count fastball inside. Kory Casto flies out to Cody Ross in right. 2-0 DC after five and a half...Balester’s back on the mound in the Marlins’ sixth. Hanley Ramirez swings through a high two-strike fastball outside. John Baker watches a 76 mph curve all the way in for a called strike three. Jorge Cantu takes a 3-1 pitch to left for the Marlins first hit of the day. Mike Jacobs lines out to right, 2-0 DC after six.
Luke Montz is issued a leadoff walk in the seventh. Roger Bernadina beats out the backend of his own DP grounder. Collin Balester gets down another sac bunt to give Bonifacio a two-out RBI. Bonifacio grounds to first, Mike Jacobs fields and throws it way wide of first, Bernadina scores on the error, 3-0 DC leads. Alberto Gonzalez pops out to end the top of the frame...Dan Uggla start the Florida seventh with a broken bat single to short center. Luis Gonzalez grounds to first, Casto fields, spins and throws to second, Gonzalez fires back to first where Balester’s covering to complete the DP. Cody Ross rips into a full-count fastball for a double off the wall in left center. “The Amazing” Amezaga lines to right and just inside the line to score Ross with an RBI triple that makes it 3-1 DC. Mike HInckley relieves Balester, and the Marlins counter with pinch hitter Wes Helms. Helms works the count full, and swings over a nasty bender from Hinckley that ends the seventh. 3-1 DC.
Ryan ZImmerman surprises everyone, especially Marlins’ reliever Doug Waechter, whse throw to fist is a few steps behind the runner. Lastings Milledge reaches on bunt for a hit disguised as a sac attempt. Ryan Langerhans fouls off two bunt attempts and then swings away, lining a three-run blast to right center for a 6-1 DC lead. Andrew Miller replaces Waechter. Luke Montz K’s. Roger Bernadina grounds weakly to second. Pinch hitter Anderson Hernandez goes down swinging to end the DC eighth... Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera’s gonna pitch the eighth. Hanley Ramirez takes a leadoff walk. John Baker takes the second free pass. Jorge Cantu reaches way down for a slider he rips over third for a two-RBI double. 6-3 DC. Saul Rivera’s out. Charlie Manning’s on to face Paul Lo Duca. PLoD walks. Brett Carroll runs for Lo Duca. DC Manager Manny Acta goes to the pen again. Dan Uggla faces Steven Shell, Uggla singles up the middle of the infield, two more score. 6-5 Nationals. Luis Gonzalez finds the hole at second for a single, Uggla takes third. Jeremy Hermida runs for Gonzalez. First and third for Cody Ross. Ross pops up to Bonifacio foul of first, Bonifacio fires home quickly to hold the runner. Shell’s done. “Wild” Joel Hanrahan’s gonna try for the five-out save. Alfredo “The Amazing” Amezaga gets down a sac bunt to score Uggla, and Hanrahan throws away a toss to first to move Hermida to third. Hermida scores on weak liner to left from Josh Willingham for a 7-6 Marlins’ lead. Hanrahan walks Hanley Ramirez to load the bases for Baker. Baker grounds to first, and Kory Casto drops an easy grounder, everyone’s safe, 8-6 Marlins. Sac fly from Cantu...9-6 Marli...not quite, an appeal from DC, ends the inning with a called-DP when It’s ruled that Willingham left to early on Cantu’s fly. 8-6 Marlins after eight.
Marlins’ righty Joe Nelson comes on to close it. Emilio Bonifacio works a leadoff walk. Alberto Gonzalez flies out to right. Zimmerman grounds into a force at second but beats the DP throw to first. Two down. Lastings Milledge will face a new pitcher, Kevin Gregg. MIlledge doubles to the gap in left center, Ryan Zimmerman comes all the way around to score, 8-7 Marlins. Elijah Dukes faces lefty Arthur Rhodes...Dukes goes down swinging. Marlins win 8-7. Florida finishes the home sweep.
Nationals now 56-93. (Countdown to 100 Losses Stands At...7.)