Elijah Dukes Hits Two...Dukes, Zimmerman, Harris And Langerhans All Go Deeeep!
The Nationals had to win this one twice after DC closer "Wild" Joel Hanrahan continued the DC Closer Tradition of, "Making It Interesting", a little too interesting tonight as Hanrahan allowed the Braves to tie it in the bottom of the ninth, and got away with a tie only because Kelly Johnson hit his bases-loaded double a little too hard and over the fence for a ground rule double holding the winning run at third. After Hanrahan blows the lead in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Langerhans gets it right back in the top of the tenth with a pinch hit leadoff home run to right that soars out on a straight line and over the wall off Atlanta closer Mike Gonzalez. Steven Shell takes over for Hanrahan in the tenth and retires the Braves' batters in order to end the 8-5 DC win.
Elijah Dukes ends the game 4 for 5 with 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored on 2 HR's off Braves' lefty Mike Hampton, in the second...
"Elijah “Super" Dukes takes an 0-1 pitch to left center and GONE!! for a line drive HOME RUN! off Hampton. GONE!, 1-0 DC."
and in the fourth...
"Elijah “Super" Dukes drives another hanging slider from Hampton out to left quicker than Hampton can call for a new ball, Dukes goes long for his second dinger and a 4-2 Nationals’ lead."
After returning from injury in August, Elijah Dukes hit .308 in 7 games and 26 at bats, collecting 3 doubles, 2 HR's and 9 RBI's. In 5 September games, Dukes is 7 for 18, for a .389 AVG in 5 games in which he's doubled twice and homered twice for 4 RBI's, leaving Dukes batting .279 with 13 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HR's and 33 RBI's over 64 games and 219 at bats...Projecting...to a full season of around 500 AB's...25-30 doubles, 20-25 HR's and 70-80 RBI's? I have a feeling whether it be in left, right or center, DC will see what Dukes can do with a full season in '09...(provided, of course that he stays off the DL...)
Tim Redding, aka..."Don Sutton's Favorite Pitcher."
Tim Redding didn't figure in the decision of tonight's decision, but he left the game with the lead and was in position to claim his team-leading 11th win when Joel Hanrahan went all screwby in the ninth. Redding's done after 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's, and a 4.49 ERA.
Mike Hinckley, the Nationals' new lefty reliever got through three right-handed pinch hitters before the Braves had to go lefty, with Josh Anderson, who grounded out to end the seventh:
"Mike Hinckley vs Braves' Pinch Hitter Omar Infante. 1-0 fastball, Infante flies out to center. Jeff Francouer blasts a single through second off Hinckley. Martin Prado is the third straight RHPH. Hinckley balks Francouer to second, and Prado grounds weakly to short, making Guzman hustle to field and throw in time for the second out. Francouer takes third. Hinckley vs Josh Anderson, Lefty vs Lefty. Anderson grounds out, Hinckley wins. 5-3 DC after seven."
The DC Closer Tradition..."Making It Interesting!"
"Wild" Joel Hanrahan had a 5-3 lead when he came into the game in the bottom of the ninth to face the Braves' first baseman Casey Kotchman, to whom he immediately served up a single. One out later, Hanrahan surrenders a double to Jeff Francouer that moves Kotchman to third, and then after a walk to Greg Norton loads the bases b Hanrahan gets Josh Anderson swinging for the second out of the frame. Hanrahan then hangs one up for Kelly Johnson who bounces it out on one hop to center, which unfortunately only ties it, after which a walk to Chipper Jones, and a ground ball from Brian McCann allow Hanrahan to escape without taking the loss.
Langerhans takes lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez deep in the tenth and the Nationals win. 8-5 final after Zimmerman and Dukes knock in two more. The final game of the year with Atlanta is tomorrow. Say goodbye to the '08 Braves...
Zimmerman's Hit Streak Update!!! Breaking News...
You'll be happy to know that by going 2 for 5 with a double a HR and 2 RBI's tonight, Ryan Zimmerman stretched his hit streak to 12-straight games, over which the Nationals' franchise third-baseman has collected 20 hits in 49 AB's for a .408 S-AVG...(S-AVG. = Streak-Average), with 6 doubles, 4 HR's and 10 RBI's to raise his season AVG from .268 when the streak started to .287 when play ended in Atlanta Saturday night. Will Zimmerman Continue His Streak Tomorrow? Lucky #13? What Do The Kids Call Him???
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
Nationals now 55-88. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stays At 12.)
Mike Hampton gets Willie Harris swinging with an 0-2 slider that breaks inside. Cristian Guzman beats out a groundball to Yunel Escobar’s backhand. Another two-strike slider inside gets Ryan Zimmerman swinging. Lastings Milledge tops off a full-count fastball and grounds to short to end the DC first...Braves’ leadoff batter Josh Anderson flies toward right center where Elijah Dukes runs it down. Kelly Johnson drives a single to center, but gets erased when Chipper Jones grounds to Emilio Bonifacio, who makes an underhand toss to Guzman, who pirouettes, steps on second and throws to first, in time, double play.
Elijah “Super Dukes” takes an 0-1 pitch to left center for a line drive long gone HOME RUN! GONE! 1-0 DC. Today’s DC first baseman Aaron Boone grounds to C.Jones at third. Jones barehands and throws out Emilio Bonifacio on a swinging bunt. Wil Nieves tests Chipper again, and Jones fields and throws out the Nationals’ catcher to end the Nationals' second...Redding walks Braves’ catcher Brian McCann. Yunel Escobar flies out unproductively to Milledge in center. Casey Kotchman’s single puts runners at second and third after Elijah Dukes misplays the rolling ball and then throws by Zimmerman gunning for McCann at third. Brandon Jones flies out deep enough to left to score McCann. 1-1 ballgame. Gregor Blanco rips a line drive to right on a hanging bender, Kotchman comes around for a 2-1 Braves’ lead. Mike Hampton swings through a fastball. 2-1 ATL after two.
Yunel Escobar dives to his right for a backhand stab to rob Tim Redding of a single. Willie Harris Wants To Play!! HR to right quicker than a hiccup. 2-2 game. Guzman flies harmlessly to right. 1-1 fastball to Ryan Zimmer...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Ryan Zimmerman waits on a hanging slider and demolishes it to left and ten rows deep, 3-2 DC...Willie Harris is all over Josh Anderson's short fly to left. Kelly Johnson grounds to first, C.Jones flies to Milledge to end the third.
Elijah “Super Dukes” drives another hanging slider out to left for his second dinger and a 4-2 Nationals’ lead. Boone pops out. Bonifacio K’s, Wil Nieves gets a single through short, but Hampton gets Redding to end the top of the fourth...Brian McCann swings over a two-strike bender low in the zone. Lastings Milledge leaps at the wall but can’t reach Yunel Escobar’s towering blast to straight center. 4-3 DC. Kotchman grounds to first, and Brandon Jones sends Milledge back to the track where his catch ends the fourth.
Chipper Jones throws out Willie Harris. Cristian Guzman works a one-out walk. Zimmerman grounds to the mound, Hampton to Kelly Johnson to Kotchman, double play....Gregor Blanco swings through an 84 mph slider outside. Mike Hampton chops one straight down off the plate that bounces so high even he can beat it out. Josh Anderson taks a one-out walk to put two on for Kelly “Double Play” Johnson, who lives up to his name. 4-3 DC after five...Hampton K’s Milledge, but he can’t get Dukes out, single through short for Dukes with one down. McCann nails Dukes trying for second. Boone K’s chasing a fastball outside...Chipper Jones skies the first out to center. Brian McCann strikes out on a ball in the dirt and gets thrown out by Nieves. Yunel Escobar takes ball four on a low fastball. Casey Kotchman lets Dukes stand and wait for a fly for the last out of the sixth.
Emilio Bonifacio’s grounder gets under Chipper’s glove and as it rolls into left, Bonifacio takes second, sliding in safe. Wil Nieves’ grounder moves Bonifacio up. Pinch hitter Anderson Hernandez drops a chip shot in short right to score Bonifacio from third for a 5-3 DC lead. Willie Harris and Guzman go down to end the top of the seventh...Stand Up and Stretch...Mike Hinckley vs Pinch Hitter Omar Infante. 1-0 fastball, Infante flies out to center. Jeff Francouer blasts a single through second off Hinckley. Martin Prado is the third straigh RHPH. Hinckley balks Francouer to second, and Prado grounds weakly to short, making Guzman hustle to field and throw in time for the second out. Francouer takes third. Hinckley vs Josh Anderson, Lefty vs Lefty. Anderson grounds out, Hinckley wins. 5-3 DC after seven.
Braves’ righty Jeff Bennett comes on to pitch the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to his counterpart at third. Milledge flies out to the opposite field. Elijah Dukes grounds out to end the top of the inning...Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera takes over on the mound in the bottom of the inning. Kelly Johnson grounds sharply to second, Bonifacio’s got it. Chipper Jones slaps a single through short. Brian McCann swings over a sinking fastball for Rivera’s first K. Ryan Zimmerman sidearms a throw to first a few steps ahead of Yunel Escobar to end the eighth with DC ahead 5-3.
Aaron Boone flies to right. Emili Bonifacio grounds out. Wil Nieves swings wildly over an arching bender for a swinging K to end Bennett’s second scoreless...“Wild” Joel Hanrahan vs Casey Kotchman? Kotchman singles through second. Omar Infante swings over a few nasty sliders for the first out. Jeff Francouer beats Zimmerman to the third base line with a double to left. Kotchman takes third. Pinch hitter Greg Norton with two in scoring position, takes a one-out walk to load the bases for Josh Anderson. Hanrahan sinks a nasty pitch under Anderson’s bat for strike three swinging. Kelly Johnson rips a splitter to right that bounces, one-hop and over the wall for a ground rule that actually holds the Braves’ winning run(ner) at third, and only ties instead of winning the game. 5-5 ballgame. Hanrahan issues CJones the intentionals to bring up McCann. McCann grounds over the mound, but Guzman gets to it and throws to first in time to end the ninth...
Ryan Langerhans, Langerhomers to left center off Braves’ closer Mike “Swivel-Hips” Gonzalez to give the Nationals back the 6-5 lead. Willie Harris K’s. Cristian Guzman lines one past a diving Omar Infante in left, allowing The Guzzzz to speed around to third for a triple in the tenth. Ryan Zimmerman drops a double just inside the line in the right field corner for an RBI doubke to score Guzman. 7-5 DC. Jorge Julio replaces Gonzalez. Lastings Milledge up, when a wild pitch moves Zimmerman to third. Julio walks Milledge. Dukes drops a bloop single in over second. Zimmerman scores. 8-5 Nationals. Aaron Boone K’s. Bonifacio grounds out to end the top of the tenth...Yunel Escobar vs Steven Shell. Escobar grounds out to short. Willie Harris catches the second out off of Casey Kotchman’s bat. Omar Infante flies out to Willie Harris. Shell gets his second save. Hanrahan vultures a win. Nationals win. 8-5 final.
Nationals now 55-88. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stays At 12.)