It's hard to win a game when the only run you score is forced in by the opposing pitcher. Carlos Zambrano was wild in the first and out by the fifth inning of tonight's Nationals Park start, having thrown 113 pitches, 64 for strikes with 4 walks, 6 K's and 4 hits allowed, and the one unearned run the result of a two-out error by Chicago shortstop Ryan Theriot which loads the bases for Willie Harris, who takes a 3-1 fastball low and outside to score Nick Johnson from third. Washington's rookie right-hander Craig Stammen received no support from the punchless Nationals, as he gave up just 6 hits and 3 ER's over 6.0 innings on the mound in which he threw 96 pitches, 59 strikes and induced 11 groundouts with his sinking fastball. 3 of the Nationals' six hits are by Nyjer Morgan. Nick Johnson's two-out double to right in the seventh is DC's only extra base hit, and nothing comes of it...Cubs win the second of four in the nation's capital...oh, and Carlos Zambrano knocks in two of the three Cubs' runs...
Cubs win, 3-1 final.
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• E:85, K:104.
• How To Not Score Runs...
• Stealing Souvenirs And Scaring Folks...*
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
Nationals now 26-63. (Countdown To 100 Losses Starts At 70, Countdown to History At 110.)
• E:85, K:104.
E: 85 - Alberto Gonzalez, who got the start when Cristian Guzman was scratched, committed his 8th error of the season, and the Nationals' league-leading 85th in the top of the first on a routine grounder to short off Ryan Theriot's bat, which followed Kosuke Fukudome's leadoff double and had DC righty Craig Stammen in trouble early. Stammen responded by striking Derrek Lee, who K'd looking, and drawing a DP grounder out of Aramis Ramirez to make sure not even unearned runs would cross in the first.
K:104 - Was recorded in the fifth when Adam Dunn fouled a two-strike change into Cubs' catcher Koyie Hill's mitt. Dunn's 104th K is...uh...well it's just about right for his career splits, and according to baseball-reference.com's 162-Game Average, the DC Faithful can expect about 76 more of the same before the season's over...but also 17 more HR's...
• How To Not Score Runs...
First and second with one out in the first after Nyjer Morgan singles and Nick Johnson walks. Ryan Zimmerman K's swinging and Nyjer Morgan's gunned trying for third by Cubs' catcher Koyie Hill. An intentional walk, an error and a bases loaded base on balls score a run, but Josh Bard's two-out groundout ends the first and the threat...Alberto Gonzalez singles in the second, but Craig Stammen's bunt is too hard and Carlos Zambrano takes out the lead runner at second base. Nyjer Morgan's single puts Stammen in scoring position, but Nick Johnson grounds out and Zimmerman K's, again...The Nationals manage just two hits after the second, a two-out single by Nyjer Morgan in the fourth and a two-out double by Nick Johnson in the seventh, as 4 Cubs' relievers throw four scoreless to get Zambrano the win.
Chicago Cubs At Washington Nationals. Game 89 Of 162.
The first pitch from Craig Stammen is lined by first by Kosuke Fukudome for a leadoff double. Alberto Gonzalez drops a routine grounder for the Nationals’ 85th error of ‘09, and there are two on after Ryan Theriot beats Gonzalez’s throw. Derrek Lee watches a 2-2 fastball all the way in for a called strike three. Aramis Ramirez grounds to short, Alberto Gonzalez backhands to Willie Harris to Nick Johnson, inning-ending DP!!...Carlos Zambrano takes the hill with Nyjer Morgan waiting at the plate. Morgan works the count full and then beats out a throw from third from Aramis Ramirez. Morgan’s on second in no time when no one covers the bag on a pick throw to first from Zambrano. Nick Johnson fouls off a few 3-2 pitches and eventually walks to put two on for Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman K’s on a high heater, and Morgan gets thrown out going for third by Koyie Hill. Adam Dunn gets 3 balls one intentional after Zambrano goes 3-0 to another hitter. Ryan Theriot misses a routine grounder that takes an absurd hop, Johnson stops at third. Willie Harris with the bases loaded, and he takes a walk, forcing in the first run. 1-0 DC. Josh Bard grounds to second, Mike Fontenot tosses to second with his glove hand, Theriot steps on the bag.
Milton Bradley starts the second with a walk. Micah Hoffpauir lines one right at Josh Willingham. Mike Fontenot lines the first pitch he sees to right field for a double that moves Bradley to third. Koyie Hill grounds sharply to short, Alberto Gonzalez holds Bradley at third, throws to first, in time. Craig Stammen hangs a bender to Zambrano, and the Cubs’ pitcher doubles two runs in, 2-1 Cubs. Kosuke Fukudome grounds out to second to end the top of the frame...Alberto Gonzalez goes back up the middle with a leadoff single. Zambrano throws to second to cut down Gonzalez on a sac bunt attempt by Stammen. Nyjer Morgan slaps a liner through short for a single. Nick Johnson grounds out to second, advancing both runners. Zambrano throws a high 2-2 fastball by Zimmerman for his second K of the game.
Ryan Zimmerman makes a clean throw to first on a grounder to third from Ryan Theriot. Zimmerman throws from his back heel after backhanding a hot shot from Derrek Lee. Aramis Ramirez unloads on a sinking fastball left up in the zone, and it’s 3-1 Cubs when the ball lands in the stands. Milton Bradley singles to left with two down. Micah Hoffpauir gets hit in the jersey after swinging like a **** at the first pitch. Nick Johnson backhands a grounder from Fontenot and steps on first to end Chicago’s third...Adam Dunn K’s swinging at a fastball outside. Kosuke Fukudome speeds over to catch Willingham’s fly ball. Willie Harris pops up in foul territory down the line in left, Micah Hoffpauir races over, avoids a frozen ballgirl and makes diving play, going into the stands for the final out.
Koyie Hill stares strike three all the way in, but disagrees with the call. Carlos Zambrano flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center. Kosuke Fukudome hits a two-out single deep in the hole at short, Gonzalez with no chance though he tries. Fukudome breaks for second and gets nailed by Bard...Josh Bard lines out to Theriot at short. Alberto Gonzalez K’s chasing a high fastball. Craig Stammen takes a two-out walk from Zambrano and Nyjer Morgan slaps a single to left, to give Nick Johnson a shot at some RBI’s. Johnson grounds back to the mound, Zambrano’s through four.
Ryan Zimmerman throws out Ryan Theriot. Adam Dunn misjudges Derrek Lee’s line drive but recovers to make a desperate stretching catch. Aramis Ramirez rolls a grounder to short, and Alberto Gonzalez fields and throws to end the top of the fifth...Ryan Zimmerman takes a 1-1 fastball to right for the first out. Adam Dunn K’s swinging over a 2-2 sinker. Josh Willingham’s called out on strikes.
Milton Bradley grounds back to the mound. Micah Hoffpauir flies to Willingham in right. Mike Fontenot grounds to Alberto Gonzalez at short, the throw to first is in time...Aaron Heilman takes over for Zambrano is the sixth. Willie Harris takes a two-seamer inside that breaks back in for a called strike three. Josh Bard K’s chasing and Willie Harris flies out to center. The Nationals go down again.
Tyler Clippard takes over for Stammen in the seventh, and gets a backwards K from Koyie Hill. Sam Fuld grounds out to the Amazing Willie Harris at second. Kosuke Fukudome flies out to center, Stand Up and Stretch...Lefty Sean Marshall takes over for the Cubs and strikes out Austin Kearns for the first out of the frame. Nyjer Morgan grounds weakly to second on a slow curve from Marshall. Nick Johnson lines a two-out Trademark double off the out-of-town scoreboard. NJ ™. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to second to end the seventh.
Mike MacDougal vs Ryan Theriot to start the eighth. Leadoff walk. Derrek Lee singles on a line drive to right. Aramis Ramirez pops out to first. Milton Bradley grounds to second, Willie Harris fields, tags Lee and makes a leaping throw to first for the DP...Milton Bradley comes in with his glove blocking the lights and makes the catch on Adam Dunn’s liner. Sean Marshall’s out, Carlos Marmol comes in. Josh Willingham gets a two-strike slider and K’s trying. Willie Harris flies out to right to end the eighth.
Dirty Joe Beimel starts the top o’ the ninth. Micah Hoffpauir pops out to short. Reed Johnson K’s swinging over a two-strike change. Koyie Hill grounds to third, and only an excellent snatch by Nick Johnson saves Ryan Zimmerman from more headlines as he bounces the throw...Kevin Gregg’s on to close it out. Josh Bard K’s chasing a high strike out of the zone. Alberto Gonzalez flies out to left. Ronnie Belliard golfs a low outside fastball into right for a two-out single. Nyjer Morgan K’s swinging to end yet another loss.
Nationals now 26-63.