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Washington Nationals Go Ahead, Lose It In 9th, 8-7 To The Houston Astros.

Tonight's Top 5: 

5. Stammen's Bad Starts: DC Skipper Jim Riggleman was asked recently (5/23) about the fact the Craig Stammen is wont to get off to slow starts in most outings, and the Nats' Skipper acknowledged that it is a problem, telling gathered reporters that he doesn't, "...know if there's anything you can do to combat it...":

Jim Riggleman: "Craig's a great worker, real competitive guy, and I don't know if there's anything to read into that, maybe he's too hyped up or something, who knows. He's had a tendency to get a couple outs and then get in trouble, there's...I don't know, I could guess, but I know he's not satisfied with it, and particularly not satisfied with: we score some runs and then he goes out and they score runs..."

Last night, in his eleventh start of 2010 in Houston, the 26-year-old right-hander got off to a rough start on the mound in Minute Maid Park, allowing the first five runners he faces to reach base on two walks, two singles and a two-run double, followed by a sac fly that has the Nationals down 3-0 before the first inning has ended. After back-to-back hits to start the third, a second sac fly scores the Astros' fourth run, and after the Nationals rally to tie it at 4-4 in the top of the fifth Stammen returns to the mound and gives up a HR to left that's a double off the wall in most parks, but a HR here in Houston, for Hunter Pence, who puts the Astros up 5-4 in the fifth. Stammen gets through the fifth, but he's done: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's, 1 HR, 92 pitches, 54 strikes, 7 groundouts, 4 flyouts. 

4. Bases loaded for Dunn, Again!! Given an at bat with a runner on first in the top of the first, Adam Dunn K's swinging after Ryan Zimmerman had drawn a two-out walk. A leadoff single by Wil Nieves, two-out single by Nyjer Morgan and two-out walk to Zimmerman in the third, and it's Dunn, the Nats' middle of the order bat, who K's swinging at a full-count curve to strand three and let Astros' right-hander Brett Myers off the hook. Adam Dunn's up again in the fourth, 4-1 Astros, with the bases loaded after Brett Myers once again walks Zimmerman to get to Adam Dunn? Grounder to first by Dunn, Berkman throws home for the force, and bounces it, E 3. Cristian Guzman crosses, Nyjer Morgan scores, 4-3 Astros, Zimmerman to third, and a sac fly by the Hammer ties it at 4-4. In the eighth, Dunn takes a leadoff walk and scores four batters later on a bases loaded hit by pitch to make it 6-5 Astros. 2 on, 0 outs in the ninth, Adam Dunn walks to load the bases and after the Nationals tie it, he's thrown out at home on a bases loaded groundout when the Astros throw home...Dunn, Adam: 0 for 3, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K's, 4 LOB.

3. Cy Myers: After two scoreless in which he allowed only a walk, Houston right-hander Brett Myers loaded the bases, putting Ryan Zimmerman on first before striking Adam Dunn out to end the fourth. The Nationals scored four runs in the fifth to tie it, but Myers got the lead back in the home-half of the frame, and held it through 7.0 IP, giving up 4 hits, 4 runs, 1 earned and 3 walks while striking out 10 Nats' batters, throwing 110 pitches, 68 for strikes and handing a 6-4 lead to the 'Stros bullpen, who blow the lead. 

2. Crawford Boxes Meet Desmond and Bernadina!!! Hunter Pence chokes up on his bat, which I love, but the HR he pulls into left field, into the first row of the [expletive deleted] Crawford Boxes, 320-something-ft from home in left to put Houston up 5-4 in the fifth inning, a half-inning after the Nats had rallied to tie it just "Grinds My Gears." In the Nats' eighth, Ian Desmond hits a one-out single to left after a leadoff walk to Adam Dunn and an infield popout by Josh Willingham. Roger Bernadina works a walk out of Astros' reliever Brandon Lyon, who's wild, to load the bases for Willie Harris, who's hit, forcing in a run. In the ninth, Willingham's called out on strikes with the bases loaded, and Desmond and Bernadina come through again, with back-to-back run-scoring singles that put the Nationals ahead 7-6 after eight and a half... 

1. HE WENT!!! BERKMAN VS CAPPS!!!: An error by Ryan Zimmerman, (the Nats' MLB-Leading 44th, Zim's 6th), a double off closer Matt Capps, and an intentional walk, load the bases for Houston in the bottom of the ninth after the Nats take the lead in the top of the frame. Jeff Keppinger grounds out to second, and Cristian Guzman takes a force at home, two down, 7-6 Nats. Matt Capps, who's converted 17 of 18 save opportunities since signing in DC this winter, strikes Lance Berkman out, clearly, on a 1-2 pitch the Astros' first baseman can't hold up on, but neither the home plate or third base ump gets the call correct, and one pitch later, The Big Puma singles to left to score two and claim a walk-off winner.  

• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

Num Name - Comments
1 Doghouse - 184
2 souldrummer - 177
3 TJL - 84
4 RobBobS - 77
5 RoscoeNats - 77
6 d_c_guy - 77
7 grizzy - 66
8 natsstats - 65
9 missB - 57
10 Mezza - 48
11 rachel216 - 46
12 superjuan - 45


• Final Score: Astros 8, Nats 7. 

Nationals now 26-27.


1 - Cristian Guzman flies to deeeeep center, but 'Stros' center fielder Michael Bourn makes it to the track in front of Tal's Hill to make the catch. Nyjer Morgan flies out to Hunter Pence in right. Two down. Houston's right-hander Brett Myers walks Ryan Zimmerman in front of Adam Dunn, who K's chasing a two-strike curve out of the zone....Nats' righty Craig Stammen walks the first batter he faces, Michael Bourn. Jeff Keppinger works the count full and lines to left for a single with Bourn running, first and third, no outs. Lance Berkman hits the center field fence with a long fly to center that dies on the track. Two runs score, 2-0 Houston. El Caballo Carlos Lee lines an 0-2 fastball to left, first and third again. Hunter Pence walks to load the bases for Geoff Blum. Grounder to first, Dunn steps on the bag, one down. Berkman scores, 3-0. Houston. Pedro Feliz gets a free pass. Kevin Cash K's chasing a curve from Stammen. Brett Myers grounds to short, Desmond tosses to Guzman at second, finally. 3-0 Astros. 

2 - Josh Willingham pops out to the infield. Ian Desmond grounds sharply to short, but Geoff Blum makes the tough play and hard throw, in time. Roger Bernadina K's swinging and it's 3-0 Astros after one and a half...Michael Bourn grounds to first, one down. Ryan Zimmerman makes a backhand play on Jeff Keppinger's sharp grounder, but his throw to first is off line, nice effort. Josh Willingham catches the second out off Berkman's bat. El Caballo grounds into a force at second, 3-0 'Stros after two.

3 - Wil Nieves shoots a line drive single to right to start the third. Craig Stammen K's swinging, one down. Cristian Guzman grounds into a force at second, but beats the DP throw to first, two down. Nyjer Morgan shoots a single through the hole at short for a two-out single with Guzman running. First and third for Zimmerman. Full-count fastball outside after a 3-1 bender for a strike, and it's bases loaded for Adam Dunn, who K's swinging to strand three...Hunter Pence hits a sharp grounder off Stammen's stems and it bounces into foul territory off third. Infield hit. Geoff Blum shoots a single through second base with Pence running, first and third, no outs. Pedro Feliz flies to Bernandina in right, sac fly, 4-0 Houston. Kevin Cash grounds out to third, Blum takes second. Brett Myers K's swinging, 4-0 Astros after three. 

4 - Josh Willingham's robbed of a single to left by a diving Pedro Feliz, who jumps up and throws to first in time. One down. Ian Desmond flies to center. Roger Bernadina K's again...Michael Bourn grounds to Desmond for the first out of the 'Stros' fourth. Jeff Keppinger flies out to Morgan in center. Lance Berkman K's swinging to end the fourth, still 4-0 Astros. 

5 - Wil Nieves just inside the line on a fly to left, leadoff double. Craig Stamen fails to advance the runner, K's swinging. Cristian Guzman singles to center, Nieves to third. Nyjer Morgan sends a dribbler toward short, and Blum thinks too much and drops it, Nieves scores, Morgan safe at first. 4-1 Astros. Ryan Zimmerman walks, bases loaded for Dunn. Dunn grounds to first, Berkman throws home, and bounces it!! Guzman scores, Morgan scores, 4-3 Astros on the error. Josh Willingham flies to center, Zimmerman tags and scores from third, 4-4. Ian Desmond K's swinging...El Caballo, Carlos Lee flies out to center, one down. Hunter Pence pulls a line drive to left and into the second row of the Crawford Box seats, 5-4 Astros. Pedro Feliz lines to left for a single. Kevin Cash lines to left. First and second for Myers, who grounds out to end the fifth.

6 - Roger Bernadina grounds to Geoff Blum at short, and arrives at first just half a step late. Pedro Feliz throws out Wil Nieves. Two down. Mike Morse hits for Stammen, or K's more accurately...Drew Storen gives up a leadoff double to Michael Bourn who makes use of the short fence in left. Leadoff double. Keppinger bunts Bourn to third and Lance Berkman scores him with a single through the drawn-in infield, 6-4 Houston. El Caballo grounds out to short, two down. Storen vs Pence. Fly ball to center on an 85 mph slider, 6-4 Houston after six. 

7 - Cristian Guzman pops out to short on the first pitch of the seventh. Morgan K's swinging at a full-count curve outside. Not nice. Ryan Zimmerman K's swinging at a low 2-2 fastball, strike three, 6-4 Astros in the seventh...Sean Burnett gets Geoff Blum swinging to start the Astros' seventh. Kevin Cash singles to center with two down. Burnett buckles down and gets Jason Michaels to ground out to second, 6-4 after seven. 

8 - Adam Dunn walks to start the eighth. Josh Willingham up. Mr. OBP pops out to second. Ian Desmond lines to left, just over short, first and second with one out. Roger Bernadina walks to load the bases. Willie Harris? HBP!! Brandon Lyons forces a run in!! 6-5 Astros. Adam Kennedy K's swinging, two down. Cristian Guzman gets down 0-2, and he K's swinging on a 1-2 cutter inside. 6-5 Astros in the eighth...Cristian Guzman throws out Michael Bourn. Jeff Keppinger singles under a diving Desmond, one on. Doug Slaten walks Lance Berkman and it'll be El Caballo vs Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera pops him up!! Two down. Hunter Pence walks to load the bases with two down. Tommy Manzella grounds to second,Guzman gets the force with a toss to Desmond from behind the bag. 

9 - Matt Lindstrom vs Morgan. Nyjer Morgan with a swinging bunt toward first, Lindstrom misses it! Safe at first. Ryan Zimmerman walks. Adam Dunn walks. Bases loaded for Willingham, who K's looking!! Ian Desmond, single to left!! Morgan scores! 6-6!! Game tied. Roger Bernadina up with the bases loaded. Broken bat single just out of the reach of Berkman! Zimmerman scores, 7-6 Nats!!! Wilton Lopez vs Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez grounds to Feliz at third, who throws home for the force, two down. Carlos Maldonado grounds back to the mound, 7-6 Nats after eighth and a half...Matt Capps vs Pedro Feliz. Feliz grounds to third, and through Zim into left. What? E 5. Kevin Cash bunts Feliz over. Cory Sullivan flies to left and deeeeep, Morgan gets there and misses it at the wall. Double, Feliz to third. One out. Matt Capps walks Michael Bourn to bring up Keppinger with no outs. Grounder to second, Guz throws home. Two down. Capps vs Berkman. Berkman almost goes around on a 1-2 pitch outside, but the third base ump spares him, and Berkman lines to left, two runs score, 8-7 Astros. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!