• Without Casey Blake, the LA Dodgers would have dropped this one long before it got to extra innings. The Dodgers' third baseman hit two HR's off DC starter Craig Stammen today, one a two-run blast to straight-center in the second that put LA up 2-1, and the other a solo shot that he tucked just inside the corner in left in the top of the seventh to give the Dodgers back a one-run lead at 3-2 a half-inning after the Nationals had tied it on an RBI single by Craig Stammen in the home half of the sixth. Stammen may very well have scored the go-ahead run there too, in the next at bat, if Nyjer Morgan hadn't been thrown out at third, before Stammen scored, trying to stretch what would have been a two-out RBI double into a triple, and instead stayed at second and allowed the plodding pitcher to cross home...
DC Skipper Jim Riggleman's Take On The Sixth Inning Play:
Jim Riggleman: "Well, I know what Nyjer was thinking that they had a play on Craig [Stammen] at home. I think he felt that they were going to be able throw Craig out, so he felt that he could get to third with them not getting him out, he would rather them make a play on him than at home. I don't know if they could have got(ten) Craig or not, so, if it was a mistake it was a mistake of aggression, so we can live with that..."
• Nyjer Morgan's take on the play, as reported by MLB.com's Bill Ladson via Twitter (@washingnats):
"#Nats OF Nyjer Morgan said he made a mistake going to third in the sixth. He should have stopped at second and made LA throw to the plate."
Hard to put the whole game on that one play, however, considering the Nationals stranded 15 baserunners today, and came up empty in 13 of 15 RISP opportunities, twice running into outs (see photo above) when runners on third were cut down at home on grounders to third base...
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
Nationals now 9-9.
• Pivotal Plays.
• Game Notes.
• Full Game Report.
• Pivotal Plays.
Bottom of the seventh, 3-2 LA. Nats' second baseman Ian Desmond doubles to right off LA lefty Hong-Chi Kuo, and moves to third when Rafael Furcal drops a grounder to short by Cristian Guzman. First and third, no outs. Adam Dunn K's swinging at a 1-2 slider from Kuo. Dodgers' Skipper Joe Torre replaces Kuo with right-hander Ronald Belisario, and the second straight Nationals' batter fails to hit the fly ball they need, as Josh Willingham grounds to third, and Ian Desmond breaks for home and gets thrown out at the plate. First and second, two down, and Willie Harris grounds out to end the inning. First and third, no outs = 0 Runs.
Bottom of the thirteenth, 4-3 LA. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez hits a one-out single off Dodgers' right-hander Carlos Monasterios, and Nyjer Morgan follows with a line drive double to right that moves Pudge first to third where he's held up with one down and the Nationals trailing by a run...
Q: Is Pudge running home in the 13th, is that a contact play no matter what?
Jim Riggleman: "Well, it's not necessarily no matter what. But, it was a good gamble. [Casey] Blake made a good play and he's almost safe as it was, if the throw is just a hair off he is going to be safe, but the point being, if he stays there (at third), we're not taking a chance to score the run, and we're still not in much of a different situation. Now he throws the guy out at first, so we're standing at third with two outs, which is how the game ended anyway with us two outs at third. So it was worth a gamble. If the ball had been hit hard to the corners, he was going to stay. The middle infield was playing halfway back, so Pudge was going to go there, but you get a little dribble down the third base line it's kinda the in-between one, and his instincts told him to go."
Q: Did you think Pudge had a chance to score on Nyjer's double?
Jim Riggleman: "No. Everybody wants you to send the runners all the time and all that, but that was a good decision by Pat [Listach, 3rd Base Coach], they got the relay in [in time], and threw a strike into home, I think he would've been out at home."
• Game Notes.
-- Stammen's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's, 2 HR, 97 pitches, 62 strikes, 11 GO, 4 FO.
-- Matt Capps: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 4 K's, 28 pitches, 22 strikes.
-- LOB: Morgan 1, Desmond 3, Guzman 2, Dunn, 2, Willingham 3, Maxwell 3, W. Harris 4, Nieves 2,
• FULL GAME REPORT:
1 - LA Dodgers' leadoff man Rafael Furcal reaches out for a 2-2 pitch outside from DC right-hander Craig Stammen and drops it in front of the plate for Wil Nieves to handle, one down. Russell Martin sends a slow roller out to Alberto Gonzalez at third, who charges, fields and throws to first, two down. Andre Ethier flies out to left, Josh Willingham waits for it and closes his glove on the top of the first...Nyjer Morgan K's chasing an 0-2 slider from LA lefty Clayton Kershaw into the dirt. Ian Desmond rips a line drive to left center and off the wall over for a one-out triple. Cristian Guzman grounds to short, Furcal thinks about throwing home, but takes the out at first, 1-0 Nats. Adam Dunn flies to center and deep, but not enough, Matt Kemp makes the catch, 1-0 Nats after one.
2 - Kemp grounds to Desmond at short, one down. James Loney lines a 1-1 pitch over second for a one-out single. Stammen leaves a 2-1 fastball up and over the plate, and Casey Blake drives it over the 402ft sign on the wall in center for a two-run HR and a 2-1 Dodgers' lead. Xavier Paul grounds out to Alberto Gonzalez at third, and Blake DeWitt's pop foul falls to Gonzalez as well, 2-1 after one and a half...Josh Willingham pops one straight up for the first out of the Nats' second. Justin Maxwell takes a one-out walk and almost gets picked off first on a foul-pop from Wil Nieves when James Loney makes an unexpected throw over after the catch. Alberto Gonzalez is up when Kershaw balks Maxwell over to second. A wild pitch from Kershaw moves Maxwell to third. Gonzalez walks in front of the pitcher and Craig Stammen lines back to the mound, and off the pitcher, who recovers and throws to first, in time. 2-1 LA after two.
3 - Clayton Kershaw sends a sharp grounder to third that Alberto Gonzalez has to dive for, but he gets it and makes the play, one down. Rafael Furcal grounds to Guzman, who's back on the outfield grass. Stammen gets Russell Martin looking at a fastball the LA backstop thinks is inside...Nyjer Morgan tries to bunt his way on to start the third but gets thrown out by the pitcher. Ian Desmond K's swinging. Cristian Guzman keeps the inning alive with a line drive single to left. Adam Dunn beats the dramatic shift with a single through third. WOW. Josh Willingham takes a two-out walk from Kershaw. Justin Maxwell chases a 2-2 fastball up high and K's swinging to strand three.
4 - Andre Ethier starts the fourth with a leadoff single that gets by Guzman at second. Matt Kemp grounds to short, Ian Desmond to Guzman to Dunn, double play. Matt Kemp lines out to short, 2-1 LA in the fourth...Wil Nieves takes three-straight strikes. Alberto Gonzalez grounds back to the mound. Craig Stammen keeps the Nats' fourth alive, doubling to left and all the way to the wall. Nyjer Morgan K's, taking two-straight strikes outside.
5 - Casey Blake sends the first out soaring to Josh Willingham in left field. Xavier Paul's called out on strikes by the third base Ump when he can't check his swing. Casey Blake lines to center, Nyjer Morgan catches it coming in, 2-1 LA after four and a half...Ian Desmond grounds out to second, Cristian Guzman pops out there too, and it's up to Adam Dunn to keep the inning alive. Dunn does it, liner to left and it falls in fair. Dunn stops at second. Josh Willingham takes strike three inside. 2-1 LA after five.
6 - Clayton Kershaw grounds out to third, Alberto Gonzalez fields and throws. One out. Josh Willingham tracks a line drive to the left field line but comes up empty, Rafael Furcal hustles safely into third. Russell Martin takes a weak hack at a 91 mph fastball and K's swinging. Andre Ethier flies to center, Stammen through six, but trailing...Justin Maxwell grounds out to Furcal at short. Wil Nieves pops out foul of first. Alberto Gonzalez doubles to right field with two down!!! Craig Stammen stays in, and does it himself, single up the middle, Gonzalez scores from second, 2-2 ballgame in the sixth. Nyjer Morgan lines to left, over Xavier Paul's head and off the wall. Stammen comes around toward home, but Morgan gets nailed at third before Stammen can score.
7 - Matt Kemp singles to left to start the seventh, but James Loney's grounder to short allows Desmond to do it himself, steps on the bag, throws to first, double play. Casey Blake up with two out, and he takes a 2-2 pitch to left and just out, GONE. Solo HR and a 3-2 lead after the top of the seventh following Xavier Paul's lineout to right...3-2 Dodgers...Left-hander Hong-Chi Kuo takes over for LA. Ian Desmond lines to right and just fair, Desmond's running out of the box and he beats Ethier's throw in to second!! Cristian Guzman grounds to short, Desmond moves up, and Furcal drops it, Guzman safe at first. Adam Dunn K's swinging and Kuo is done. Ronald Belisario vs Josh Willingham with two on, one out. Hammer lines a one-hopper to third, Desmond breaks for home and gets caught in a rundown and tagged. Two down. Willie Harris grounds out to second to end the seventh.
8 - Brian Bruney takes over on the mound and gets a groundout to third from Blake DeWitt. Garret Anderson with a pinch hit appearance. And he pops out to the infield. Rafael Furcal takes a two-out walk. Russell Martin grounds to short, Alberto Gonzalez misses on a dive, but Ian Desmond backs him up and throws out the Dodgers' catcher from his heels...Wil Nieves vs Ramon Troncoso in the Nats' eighth. Nieves grounds out to second. Alberto Gonzalez rips a single back up the middle. Adam Kennedy grounds into a force at second in a pinch hit appearance, and steals second, taking third on a throw that sails into center. Nyjer Morgan lines one over short and into left for a single!! Kennedy scores, 3-3 game. Ian Desmond grounds to short, Furcal fires to first. 3-3 after eight.
9 - Matt Capps on in the ninth and he gets Ethier looking and Kemp swinging before surrendering a two-out single to James Loney. And a single to center by Casey Blake. First and third, two down. Xavier Paul flies to center to end the top of the ninth threat...Cristian Guzman vs Broxton in the Nats' ninth. Guzman grounds out to Furcal. One down. Adam Dunn K's on a check-swing strike three that's called by the third base Ump. Josh Willingham keeps the inning alive with a line drive single to left. Willie Harris K's swinging over a full-count slider from Broxton. 3-3 after nine.
10 - Jamey Carrol K's swinging as Capps remains hot. Ronnie Belliard down swinging. Rafael Furcal grounds to short and Ian Desmond's throw ends the top of the tenth...George Sherrill takes over for LA. Wil Nieves lines out to third, one down. Alberto Gonzalez grounds out to third. Willy Taveras gets a pinch hit appearance. Taveras grounds to short. On to the eleventh.
11 - Miguel Batista takes over on the hill for the Nationals. Russell Martin flies deep to right and Willie Harris leaps at the wall to rob him of extra bases!! TAWH!! Andre Ethier grounds out to second. Matt Kemp keeps the Dodgers' eleventh alive with a two-out single to right. James Loney up, but Wil Nieves nails Kemp trying to steal second!!! You're OUT!!!...Nyjer Morgan vs Sherrill to start the eleventh. Nyjer Morgan tries to bunt his way on but gets tagged out on the way to first. George Sherrill out for Carlos Montasterios. Ian Desmond grounds out to second. Guzman flies out to center.
12 - Miguel Batista's back and he gets James Loney to ground out to short to start the twelfth. Casey Blake K's swinging for out no. 2. Xavier Paul gets sawed off and sends the barrel of his bat and the ball out to short, Ian Desmond's throw is wide, but Dunn makes the play to end the top of the frame...Adam Dunn K's looking to start the Nats' twelfth. Josh Willingham gets hit by a pitch and takes a bag. Willie Harris K's looking. Wil Nieves flies out to deep right, but not far enough.
13 - Ian Desmond throws out Jamey Carroll on a grounder to short. Reed Johnson lines to right, Willie Harris charges in and makes a diving catch for the second out. Rafael Furcal singles to left with two down. Furcal steals second with Russell Martin at bat. Line drive to center, Morgan can't get there, Furcal scores from second. 4-3 Dodgers. Martin swipes second with Ethier at bat. Batista gets the opposing pitcher to end the top of the frame...Alberto Gonzalez leads off the Nats' 13th. Alberto Gonzalez is first-pitch swinging and he grounds out to second. Ivan Rodriguez singles up the middle with one down. Nyjer Morgan doubles to right, Pudge held up at third. Second and third, one out. Ian Desmond grounds to third, Pudge breaks for home and gets thrown out at the plate. Two down. First and third for Cristian Guzman, who flies out to left. Ballgame.
Final Score: Dodgers 4, Nats 3.