Tonight's Top 5:
5. Rizzo On Strasburg: Asked last night during a rain delay interview with 1500 WFED in DC's Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler what part of Stephen Strasburg's game could still use improvement, the Nats' GM Mike Rizzo offered the following advice for the 22-year-old right-hander whose development has been placed in the general manager's hands:
"I think his own admission is that he needs to command his fastball better. He's a fastball pitcher, he's a power pitcher. Strike one with the fastball then go to your other arsenal. But I think that he can improve himself by commanding his fastball better, setting up his other pitches, he's a prototypical power pitcher and he needs to have that mindset and he does, and that's what I think makes him so special, is that on any given day when he's got his full command of his full arsenal and full repetoire the guy's a special performer and this season is so critical to his development and what he's doing..."
5.1 Orlando Cabrera, Meet Strasburg's Curve: Nats' right-hander Stephen Strasburg misses with three of the first four fastballs he throws to Reds' leadoff man Brandon Phillips and has to throw a high fastball inside that Phillips grounds out to Ian Desmond at short to start the bottom of the first. Strasburg drops a nasty 1-1 curve on Orlando Cabrera that knocks him down before breaking back in and coming close to a strike. Pudge Rodriguez takes a walk out to the mound...(Do you think he and Strasburg are laughing about Cabrera's reaction?)...Cabrera gets sawed off and lines out to short. The second-best curve Strasburg throws in the first is to the Reds' All-Star first baseman, Joey Votto, who takes the 2-2 bender for a called strike three, Stare at it, Votto...scoreless first for Strasburg on 15 pitches...
Strasburg throws 31 pitches through two scoreless. Brandon Phillips gets the first hit off the Nats' rookie in the third, smacking a two-out triple off the wall in right-center. Orlando Cabrera gets another curve from Stras, but this one's hanging up inside and he lines it to left to score the Reds' first run, 1-0 Cincinnati after two and a half...
4. The Big Walky: The slumping Adam Dunn takes a leadoff walk from Reds' starter Bronson Arroyo in the Nats' fourth and Ryan Zimmerman follows with a double that moves Dunn around to third. Josh Willingham lines to center, but not deep enough, so Dunn doesn't test Drew Stubbs' arm. Roger Bernadina flies to deeep center, and it's deeeep enough, Dunn tags and scores to tie it at 1-1.
3. Veteran Leadership? Don't Run On Bernie!!!: The Reds get back-to-back one-out singles off Strasburg by Jay Bruce and Miguel Cairo in the fourth, with Bruce taking third on Roger Bernadina's arm on the second hit. First and third, one down. Drew Stubbs lifts a high fly to right, Roger Bernadina catches it coming in and throws home as Bruce tags. The throw is up the line, Pudge goes to get it, and tags Bruce as he passes, DOUBLE PLAY THE HARD WAY!! 9-2 DP!! Don't run on Bernie...
2. Guz Goes Yard!!!: Ian Desmond gets hits by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo to start the Nats' fifth and two outs later, Cristian Guzman hits his second HR of 2010 on a 1-2 fastball up high from Arroyo that the Guz sends out to right and just over the wall. Two-run blast, 3-1 Nats' lead. The Nats load the bases with no outs in the sixth, and after Pudge Rodriguez flies out unproductively, Ian Desmond comes through with a two-run single to left that makes it 5-1 Nats. Former Nats' left Bill Bray comes on and gives up a second two-run single by Nyjer Morgan, 7-1 Nationals.
1. 3 Pitchers, 3 Outs, 1 Pitcher, 4 outs: Strasburg gives up a one-out single to Joey Votto and a two-out single to Jay Bruce before throwing a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position for Miguel Cairo. Cairo hits the third single of the inning to score two runs. 7-3 Nationals. Strasburg's done: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 7 K's, 97 pitches, 63 strikes, 3 groundouts, 4 flyouts. Nats' right-hander Drew Storen strikes out Drew Stubbs on three pitches to end the sixth. Drew Storen gives up back-to-back singles and a base-loading walk in the seventh and then strikes out Orlando Cabrera before being lifted Sean Burnett. Burnett gets a groundout from Joey Votto that scores a run, 7-4 Nats. Tyler Clippard comes on to strike out Jonny Gomes, three pitchers, three outs.
Clippard comes back in the eighth and gives up one and two-out walks forcing Matt Capps out early to get a four out save. Capps lets an inherited run in, 7-5 Nats, but Willie Harris gets the run back with a solo HR in the top of the ninth to make it 8-5 before Capps closes out Strasburg's fifth win.
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
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• Final Score: Nats 8, Reds 5.
Nationals now 41-54.
FULL GAME REPORT:
1 - Nyjer Morgan grounds out to first and Reds' right-hander Bronson Arroyo's got the first out. Cristian Guzman flies out to center for the second out. Adam Dunn pops up to the infield, Orlando Cabrera makes the grab, and Stephen Strasburg heads out to the mound...Brandon Phillips grounds a 3-1 fastball to short, Ian Desmond fields and throws. Strasburg breaks Orlando Cabrera's bat and gets a lineout to short, two down. Joey Votto gets a 2-2 bender that he takes for a called strike three and the end of the first.
2 - Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to Orlando Cabrera. Josh Willingham throws his bat at the ball and sends a weak grounder to Miguel Cairo at third. Roger Bernadina lines to left for a two-out single off Arroyo. Pudge Rodriguez grounds into an inning-ending force at second...Jonny Gomes K's swinging through a 99mph fastball up high and inside. Jay Bruce flies out to center. Strasburg walks Miguel Cairo with two down. Drew Stubbs stares strike three all the way in on the outside corner, 0-0 after two.
3 - Ian Desmond flies out to Jay Bruce in right. Stephen Strasburg pops out to Joey Votto in foul territory between home and first. Nyjer Morgan takes a two-out walk. Cristian Guzman goes down swinging with Morgan running, no score in the third...Ryan Hanigan makes Strasburg jump a hit to reach a chopper over the mound, one down after the throw to first. Brandon Phillips rips into a fastball and ends up with a triple off the wall in right center. Orlando Cabrera battles and lines a hanging 2-2 curve over short to score Phillips, 1-0 Reds. Votto grounds out to second, 1-0 Reds after three.
4 - Adam Dunn walks to start the Nats' fourth. Ryan Zimmerman rips a hanging curve inside by third for a double, Dunn takes third. Josh Willingham lines to center and Adam Dunn doesn't test Drew Stubbs' arm. Roger Bernadina's flyout to center is deep enough, 1-1 game when Dunn tags and scores. Pudge Rodriguez grounds out to short, 1-1 game in the third...Strasburg throws a fastball right by Jonny Gomes for the second swinging K by the Reds' outfielder. Jay Bruce singles to right with one down. Miguel Cairo singles to right and Bruce takes third on Bernadina when he hesitates to throw to third. Drew Stubbs flies out to right, Bernadina catches it coming in, throws home, and it's up the line, but Pudge meets it and tags Bruce, double play!!
5 - Bronson Arroyo hits Ian Desmond. Strasburg gets the bunt down. Nyjer Morgan flies out to Bruce in right. Crisitian Guzman takes a high 1-2 fastball to right...and...GONE!!! Two-run HR, 3-1 Nats!! Dunn flies to center to end the Nats' fifth...Ryan Hanigan lines out to Guzman at second. Strasburg strikes the opposing pitcher out, swinging K. Brandon Phillips goes down swinging, 7 K's for Strasburg, 3-1 Nats.
6 - Ryan Zimmerman takes a fastball outside to right-center and by Reds' center fielder Drew Stubbs for a leadoff double. Josh Willingham walks to put two on for Bernadina. Bernadina singles to center to load'em up for Pudge, who flies out to center, too shallow to score Zim from third. Ian Desmond rips a line drive to short and off Cairo's glove, two runs score, 5-1 Nats. Strasburg gets a bunt down and gets tagged out by the catcher. Second and third for Morgan. Bill Bray replaces Arroyo. Bernadina and Desmond score on a two-run single up the middle by Morgan!! 7-1 Nats. Cristian Guzman K's swinging to end the Nats' sixth...Orlando Cabrera flies out to Willingham in short left. Joey Votto singles to left off Strasburg. Jonny Gomes flies to right for out no.2. Jay Bruce singles up the middle with two down. Strasburg throws one by Pudge and then hangs a curve up for Miguel Cairo, who singles in two runs to make it 7-3 Nats. Drew Storen vs Drew Stubbs. Swinging K, curve, curve, slider, sit down.
7 - Adam Dunn grounds out to second, Bill Bray is done. Jordan Smith vs Zimmerman. Zimmerman flies out to Stubbs in center. Two down. Josh Willingham lines to left to end the seventh...Ryan Hanigan vs Drew Storen in the Reds' seventh. Leadoff single to right from Hanigan. Laynce Nix follows with a single to center to put two on with no outs. Brandon Phillips walks to load the bases. Storen gets Orlando Cabrera looking with a two-strike bender for a called strike three. Sean Burnett vs Joey Votto. Bases loaded. Votto grounds to second, run scores, 7-4, two down. Tyler Clippard coming in. Jonny Gomes goes down swinging!!
8 - Logan Ondrusek on for the Reds. Roger Bernadina lines out to center. Pudge lines out to center. Ian Desmond K's swinging to end the Nats' eighth...Tyler Clippard vs Jay Bruce. Bruce flies out to center, one down. Miguel Cairo walks on four-straight pitches. Drew Stubbs grounds to Desmond, who throws high but gets the out on the force at second. Ryan Hanigan walks, Clippard's done. Chris Heisey vs Matt Capps. Single to center, 7-5 Nats when Stubbs scores. Capps vs Phillips. Groundout to short, 7-5 Nats after eight.
9 - Arthur Rhodes starts the ninth. Willie Harris goes YARD!! TAWH!!! TAWH!! Line drive HR to right, 8-5 Nats. Nyjer Morgan grounds out to second. Cristian Guzman singles to right. Adam Dunn K's looking. Zimmerman flies out to end the Nats' ninth...Leadoff walk to Orlando Cabrera. Joey Votto K's swinging at a nasty change from Capps. Jonny Gomes flies out to Harris in left. Jay Bruce K's swinging to end the ninth!!! Nats win, 8-5 final.