If Jason Marquis recovers half as well from Sunday's rough start as Craig Stammen rebounded tonight from a one-and-a-third-inning-outing against the Philadelphia Phillies last week, the Nationals might finally start getting the starting pitching they thought they had heading into this season, with John Lannan somehow discovering an out pitch or two, Livan Hernandez discovering the fountain of youth, (through two starts), Scott Olsen showing signs he's recovered from shoulder surgery and Marquis in the bowels of Nationals Park (is that too dramatic) trying to rediscover the form that allowed the 31-year-old right-hander to win from 11-15 games in each of the last six seasons. Stammen's 8.0 innings tonight, during which he gave up 5 hits, 2 ER and a walk, saw him rediscover his sinker away to lefties, while throwing a slider so sharp it had the Rockies' hitters guessing all night.100 pitches, 65 for strikes, 9 groundouts, 7 flyouts and 5 K's and Stammen's first Curly W of the year after Matt Capps closes out the ninth throwing 18 pitches and earning his 6th save as the Nationals improved to 7-6.
Stammen got all the support he'd need in the second when Willie Harris stepped in against Rockies' right-hander Aaron Cook and launched a three-run HR down the right field line after Cook had walked the leadoff hitter in the inning, Adam Dunn, and surrendered a one-out single to Pudge Rodriguez before Harris' at bat. Stammen gave up back-to-back doubles to Ian Stewart and Clint Barmes in the third, but the Nats' came right back and scored two more, with Adam Dunn doubling and scoring on Willie Harris sac fly and Josh Willingham walking and crossing on Nyjer Morgan's RBI single. Stammen loads the bases in the fourth and gives up an RBI groundout to Miguel Olivo, but Ian Stewart's sharp liner ends up in Adam Kennedy's glove, and a quick throw to first doubles the Rockies' Brad Hawpe off second and ends any threat. Stammen throws four more scoreless, and the Nats take the first of three.
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• Final Score: Nationals 5, Rockies 2.
Full Game Report.
• Monday Notes:
-- Willie Harris' 4 RBI's are the most the Nats' outfielder has had in a game since August 22, 2008 when Harris had 6 RBI's against the Cubs.
-- After going 2 for 4, Pudge is now hitting .450 in with 7 RBI's in 40 AB's.
-- Down in Harrisburg, Drew Storen gave up a run but earned his second save of the season, in a 2-1 win. Aaron Thompson, the left-hander acquired from the Marlins in return for Nick Johnson threw 7.0 scoreless, striking out 7 and allowing just 4 hits.
-- With the win last night, the Washington Nationals are above .500 13 games into the season for the first time since 2005 when the Nats were 8-5 after 13 games.
• FULL GAME REPORT:
1 - Carlos Gonzalez leads off for the visiting Colorado Rockies against DC right-hander Craig Stammen. Stammen drops a two-strike sinker off the outside edge and gets Gonzalez swinging. Rockies left-fielder Seth Smith rolls the second out to Adam Kennedy. Todd Helton lines to left, Josh Willingham has it, 1-2-3 top of the first in NatsTown...Nyjer Morgan grounds weakly to first to start the bottom of the frame. Adam Kennedy works the count full against Rockies' right-hander Aaron Cook, and grounds out to second where Clint Barmes makes a backhand stab and throw. Ryan Zimmerman lines out to third, Ian Stewart's there.
2 - Troy Tulowitzki starts the second with a line drive to center that Nyjer Morgan catches. Craig Stammen pops Brad Hawpe up to Zimmerman foul of third. Miguel Olivo chases a tight bender out of the zone for a swinging strike three and two scoreless for Stammen...Adam Dunn doesn't like what he sees from Aaron Cook, and he walks to start the Nats' second. Josh Willingham rips a liner to left, Seth Smith tracks it down for the first out. Pudge Rodriguez goes with a sinker outside and hits a low liner through second. Thee Amazing Willie Harris hits a high fly to right, down the line and just inside, 3-run blast, 3-0 Nationals. Thrillie Harris hugs the line!! Ian Desmond grounds out to short. Craig Stammen lines a two-out single to center. Nyjer Morgan singles through second to give Adam Kennedy a two-out chance. Kennedy walks, Zim steps in, sharp grounder to third, 3-0 Nats after two.
3 - Craig Stammen starts Ian Stewart with a sinker outside, then goes inside and gives up a double to right. Clint Barmes lines one down the third base line, Stewart scores, 3-1 Nats. Aaron Cook tries to bunt until the count is full then he pops out to right field and Willie Harris. Adam Kennedy hustles around a one-hopper from Tulowitizki but makes the play. Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith ground out to second and the Nats head in to bat...Adam Dunn pops up to center and Carlos Gonzalez loses it and lets it drop in for a double when Dunn hustles around to second. Josh Willingham walks to put two on for Pudge, who singles through short to load'em up for Willie Harris. Harris drives a long sac fly to center, Dunn scores from third, 4-1 Nationals. Ian Desmond works the count full and walks to load the bases for Stammen, who K's. Nyjer Morgan singles up the middle to score Willingham from third, 5-1 Nationals. Adam Kennedy takes a full-count fastball for a called strike three to end the Nats' third.
4 - Todd Helton doubles off the out-of-town scoreboard as Stammen starts another inning by surrendering a leadoff blast. Troy Tulowitzki follows with a single to right and Stammen walks Hawpe to load the bases for Miguel Olivo. Ground ball to third, Zim steps on the bag and throws home, but wide and Pudge drops it as he goes for the tag, Helton scores, 5-2 Nationals. Ian Stewart lines to second, Kennedy catches and throws to second to double up Hawpe...Ryan Zimmerman lines out (hard) to short. Adam Dunn flies out to left field for the second out. Josh Willingham pops out to short left, the shortstop has it.
5 - Clint Barmes shoots a broken bat grounder to third, Zim handles it. Manny Corpas K's swinging. Carlos Gonzalez K's on a ball in the dirt and Pudge can't figure out if it's in his glove, but he recovers and throws to first, in time...Pudge grounds out to short and has no chance against Tulo's arm. Willie Harris flies out to right field for out no.2. Ian Desmond pops out to first. Quick fifth.
6 - Seth Smith grounds out to the Kid They Call ZIm. Todd Helton rips a single to right, Tulowitzki ground to short, Desmond to Kennedy to Dunn, double play, Stammen through six with the lead...Lefty Randy Flores on for Colorado. Craig Stammen lines to right but gets robbed by a diving Hawpe. Nyjer Morgan walks with one down and gets nailed by Miguel Olivo trying to steal second. Adam Kennedy flies out to end the sixth. Still 5-2 Nats.
7 - Brad Hawpe lines to left on the first pitch he sees. Miguel Olivo gives the Hammer more work, two down. Olivo flies deep to left, but not deep enough. Hammer makes the catch for the third out of the frame on a fly ball Ian Stewart...Ryan Zimmerman flies out to Carlos Gonzalez in center. Adam Dunn walks with one down. Josh Willingham flies out to left field, Seth Smith has it. Pudge Rodriguez up, Dunn's pinch runner Willy Taveras gets nailed trying to steal second, 5-2 Nats after seven.
8 - Craig Stammen throws a fastball by Clint Barmes. Ian Desmond dives and stabs a grounder from Dexter Fowler, and jumps up to throw out the speedy outfielder. Stammen pops Carlos Rodriguez up, and is through eight with the lead...Dirty Joe Beimel takes over in the eighth. Pudge Rodriguez flies out to right. Willie Harris double by first and comes in standing up. Ian Desmond grounds to first, Harris to third. Justin Maxwell gets the intentionals to bring Nyjer Morgan to the plate. Maxwell gets picked off first. Ugly.
9 - Matt Capps comes on to close it. Seth Smith flies out to left field. One down. Todd Helton lines out to right. Troy Tulowitzki keeps hope alive with a single to center. Tulo takes second. Brad Hawpe grounds to short, Ian Desmond charges, throws and ends it, Nats win, 5-2 final.
Nationals now 7-6.