DC Lefty Ron Villone, once known as VILL0.00NE, is perfect no more, (after allowing his first run of the season last night in the series finale against Cincinnati), but it was an unearned run he surrendered tonight, and it was, oddly enough, an unearned run on a HR after Nick Johnson drops a foul pop fly from Gabe Kapler one pitch before Kapler hits a game-winning solo shot to left. Kapler's homer breaks a tie in Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field, lifting the Rays to a 4-3 lead, which holds up a half-inning later when the Nationals go down in order for their 43rd loss.
HEADLINES: (Located After The Jump...)
Elijah Dukes Hears Taunts, Hits Two-Run Double.
Rays win, 4-3 final.
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
Nationals now 16-43.
Back to back singles from Cristian Guzman and Nick Johnson in the first and a one-out RBI line drive from Adam Dunn, and the Washington Nationals are out to an early 1-0 lead. Elijah Dukes, who hears it from the crowd in the only other major league home he's known, follows Dunn with a double on a fastball high and inside from Rays' righty Matt Garza that's in left center and to the wall before anyone can even react. Johnson and Dunn cross, and it's 3-0 Nationals before the Rays come up to bat.
After a scoreless first on the hill, DC right-hander Craig Stammen walks two in the Rays' second and sees the first free pass, Ben Zobrist score on a two-out Dioner Navarro line drive to right, when a perfect throw home from Elijah Dukes is wasted by DC backstop Josh Bard, who fails to block home and tags the runner up high as his foot crosses the plate.
In the third, it's a single and a HBP, and Stammen's got two on again, and unfortunately the two are B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford. Upton takes off for third...Josh Bard's throw soars into left, Upton scores easily, and it's 3-2 Nationals after the three. E: 58.
Stammen allows back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth, and is replaced on the mound by "Wild" Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan gets the second out on a fly ball to center from Pat Burrell, but Willie Harris throws back in behind the runner, Carlos Pena at second, and Pena takes third on the poor choice, and ends up scoring to tie it when a hard hit grounder by Gabe Gross gets by Nick Johnson at first, and rolls into right, to make it 3-3 after six.
Bottom of the eighth, Ron Villone gets the first two outs and gets a pop-up from pinch hitter Gabe Kapler, into foul territory off first, and seemingly playable, Nick Johnson makes his way over and closes his glo...Johnson misses it, and Kapler's alive. 1-2 fastball inside from Villone, and Kapler throws his bat at the ball and connects, and it's, oh no, it's GONE! Solo HR, 4-3 Rays. One pitch after Nick Johnson drops the the third out. E: 59. The Nationals go down in order in the ninth, L: 43.
Elijah Dukes Hears Taunts, Hits Two-Run Double...
In his return to Tropicana Field, Elijah Dukes started in right field for the Washington Nationals, hit a two-run double in the top of the first and made a strong throw home on a play at the plate in the Rays' second. Dukes also struck out once and stranded four runners...After doubling in his first at bat, Dukes K'd swinging with two on and no outs in the third, and ground into an inning-ending double play in the fifth, before flying out to right in the top of the eighth, after Dunn had doubled, to finally do something productive in another AB. After the 1 for 4 performance, Dukes is hitting .253 in '09 with 10 doubles, 6 HR's and 29 RBI's.
Trade Milledge? You can read about it yourself HERE. What I want to know, is who wants Milledge at this point?
FULL GAME REPORT...
Cristian Guzmam takes a fastball on the outside corner at the knees and lines it to center for a leadoff single. Rays’ right-hander Matt Garza tries for a 2-1 fastball outside to Nick Johnson that doesn’t make it, and Johnson lines it to right for a trademark single. NJ™. Ryan Zimmerman takes a 2-2 fastball inside and gets punched out with his bat on his shoulder. Adam Dunn lines an 0-2 pitch to center to score Guzman from second for an early 1-0 lead. Elijah SSSSUPER DUKESSSS doubles to left center on a fastball on the fists, two runs score, 3-0 Nationals. Josh Willingham chases a two-strike slider out of the zone. TAWH, grounds out to first, Garza gets over to cover...Craig Stammen goes sinker low on a 3-2 pitch and gets B.J. Upton swinging. Carl Crawford grounds to second, Anderson Hernandez throws across his body to get the throw there in time. Craig Stammen takes his time and still throws high to first after stabbing Evan Longoria’s groundout.
Josh Bard with a sliced single to left, but he’s out at second on Anderson Hernandez’s grounder. Hernandez beats the DP throw to first. DIoner Navarro nails Anderson Hernandez on the stolen base attempt. Cristian Guzman takes a two-out walk from Garza. Nick "Two-Spot" Johnson sends a 2-1 fastball on the fists out to right...Carlos Pena grounds to second and gets thrown out by Guzman's shortstop arm at second in the shift. Ben Zobrist takes a walk from Stammen, and steals second on a low 2-2 pitch to Burrell, who walks on the next offering. Stammen gets the call on a two-strike fastball inside to Gabe Gross. Dioner Navarro lines to right, Zobrist comes around third, Dukes charges it and throws, beating the runner, who gets, around the tag somehow, safe! 3-1 Nationals, Navarro gets caught off first, and tagged for the third out.
Ryan Zimmerman goes back up the middle for a single to start the third. Adam Dunn walks in front of Dukes. Elijah Dukes K’s swinging way over a slider in the dirt. Josh Willingham flies out unproductively to right. Ben Zobrist drops Willie Harris’ grounder, but recovers and throws in time....Reid Brignac grounds out to A-Hands at second. B.J. Upton inside-outs a single into right. Carl Crawford takes one in the numbers. Evan Longoria’s got two on with one out. Upton has third stolen and Josh Bard’s throw sails into left, Upton scores, Crawford to third, 3-2 DC. Stammen drops a two-strike change on Longoria, who K’s, and immediately regrets the swing. Carlos Pena K’s swinging at a fastball that comes in a curve.
Josh Bard grounds to second to start the fourth. Anderson Hernadez evades Brignac’s glove with a liner to left. B.J. Upton’s all over a fly ball from Guzman. Nick Johnson swings over a two-strike curve to end the Nationals’ fourth...Ben Zobrist grounds out to second. Ryan Zimmerman throws out Burrell. Gabe Gross flies out to right, and Stammen is through four.
Ryan Zimmerman flies out to Upton deep in right center. Adam Dunn takes a one-out walk in front of Elijah Dukes, who grounds to third, Longoria to Zobrist to Pena, double play...Dioner Navarro grounds to third, Zimmerman throws out the catcher. Stammen walks Reid Brignac with one down. B.J. Upton grounds out to move Brignac up, but Stammen gets Carl Crawford swinging out in front of a two-strike curve to end the fifth.
Josh Willingham swings for a two-strike slider and misses. Willie Harris grounds out to Zobrist at second. Garza’s fastball comes in high on a 3-2 pitch to Bard, two-out walk and Joe Nelson comes on. Anderson Hernandez pops a 2-2 pitch to second to end the DC sixth...Evan Longoria line to center and WIllie Harris in ready for it. Carlos Pena gets a curve up in the zone and pulls it to right. Zobrist singles through second on the first pitch he sees. Stammen is done. "Wild" Joel Hanrahan gets a fly ball to center from Pat Burrell, and Willie Harris throws to second instead of the cutoff man, Crawford takes third. Nick Johnson tries to backhand a chopper from Gabe Gross, and it hops on Johnson, and rolls into right, one run scores, 3-3 game. Dioner Navarro flies out to left to end the sixth.
Cristian Guzman flies out to B.J. Upton in center. Nick Johnson grounds out to third, and Ryan Zimmerman gets a new pitcher. Dan Wheeler gets a groundout from Zimmerman to end the DC seventh...Reid Brignac vs Hanrahan. Brignac smacks a high heater through short for a leadoff single, and then he steals second. Hanrahan gets B.J.Upton swinging for the first out, and Ron Villone’s on to face Carl Crawford. Crawford grounds out to move Brignac to third. Evan Longoria gets the intentionals. Carlos Pena vs Villone. Lefty vs Lefty. Villone throws a full-count fastball right by Pena. 3-3 after seven.
Adam Dunn gets a line drive by first for a leadoff double off Dan Wheeler. Full count to Dukes, Wheeler gives up a long fly ball to left, Crawford catches it, Dunn tags and takes third. Josh Willingham flies to short left. Alberto Gonzalez stays put. J.P. Howell on to face Willie Harris. Willie Harris takes ball four. Bard flies out to center to end the Nationals’ eighth...Villone stays out to face Zobrist. Zobrist pops out to the catcher behind home. Pat Burrell flies out to center for the second out. Gabe Kapler pops out foul of first and Nick Johnson drops it...E:59. And Gabe Kapler takes the next pitch to left and GONE!! 4-3 Rays. Dioner Navarro lines a double to left and one-hop and over the wall. Joe Beimel replaces Villone. Reid Brignac K’s looking.
Anderson Hernandez starts the ninth against J.P. Howell. Hernandez grounds out to Brignac at short. Cristian Guzman grounds out to third. Nick Johnson grounds out to short, and the Rays win. 4-3 final.
Nationals now 16-43.