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Washington Nationals Win Rubber Match, 5-3 Over Arizona Diamonbacks On Willingham HR And Desmond Single.

• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: "Game 118: Gogglez + Hammer = Good ol' dayz."

• The Nats started the day with the announcement, by various sources, if not the team officially, that they had signed two of the top four remaining unsigned 2010 Draft picks, 18-year-old right-hander A.J. Cole and left-hander Sammy Solis with just lefty Robbie Ray and the no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper to be inked before tomorrow night's deadline. Today's starter, Stephen Strasburg, signed at the last possible moment last August, and he's in the majors today making the start in the rubber match with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. Strasburg strikes out two of the first three batters he faces in the first, throwing a 92 change to get Kelly Johnson swinging way ahead of strike three and then blowing Justin Upton away with a 99mph heater upstairs that he can't catch up to after a Chris Young lineout to short started the frame. 16 pitches, 10 strikes. 

E: 93: Stephen Strasburg gives up a solo HR on a 2-0 fastball to Adam LaRoche and surrenders a one-out single to Mark Reynolds, but it's a throwing error on a weak grounder from Stephen Drew that really hurts, as Stras fields and sends a throw soaring over first baseman Adam Dunn's head, allowing Reynolds to score while Drew takes third and then scores on a sac fly in the next AB to make it 3-0 D-Backs. Strasburg's 1st error. The Nats' 93rd, one behind the Cubs' league-leading 94th.

• STOP!! Hammer Time!!: After doubling and scoring the Nats' first run, Josh Willingham ties the game with one swing, following a Ryan Zimmerman single to right with a two-run HR to left to make it a 3-3 game. Willingham's 16th HR of the year is his first since he hit one out against the NY Mets on July 2nd here in Nationals Park. The blast ends a 33-game HR slump for Willingham who's reportedly playing (toughing it out) on a bad knee. 3-3 ballgame after four. 

• RISP FAIL In 5th: Stephen Strasburg grounds out to start the Nats' fifth before an "on-field delay" interrupts the game. The Nationals come back with a one-out single by Roger Bernadina and a one-out walk to Ian Desmond, setting Adam Dunn up with an RBI opportunity. The Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat goes back up the middle with a 2-0 sinker from D-Backs' right-hander Barry Enright that Stephen Drew fields, stepping on second and throwing to first for a DIY DP.

• Strasburg Done Early: Strasburg's hits a 5th inning groundout, but Tyler Clippard replaces the Nats' 22-year-old right-hander on the hill after Strasburg threw 85 pitches, 57 for strikes over 5.0 IP in which he allows 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 earned and 1 HR while recording 7 K's without issuing a walk. Strasburg leaves with the game tied at 3-3, so no decision this time out. 

• Desi Does It: Ian Desmond's up with his fellow middle infielder Adam Kennedy on second and two down after Kennedy had hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a sac bunt by pinch hitter Alberto Gonzalez. Desmond was 0 for 2 with a walk before his at bat in the seventh and he's 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI after he singles to right on a first pitch fastball from D-Backs' reliever Jordan Norberto. 4-3 Nats as they battle back from 3-0 down. 

• THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!!: Ryan Zimmerman's 24th HR of the year makes it 5-3 Nationals. Zim gets hold of a 2-2 fastball and drives it out to left-center for his 2nd HR of the series and 4th RBI in 3 games. Nats' right-hander Drew Storen gets the call in the ninth and earns his second save, with Tyler Clippard, who'd pitched a scoreless seventh before Desmond's run-scoring single earning the win. Clippard improves to 9-6 with his first win since June 4th against Cincinnati.

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

Num Name - Comments
1 Mevans12 - 89
2 Jorgath - 65
3 MissB - 28
4 The Herndon Kid - 21
5 PerryMason - 18
6 Dave from NNN - 18
7 HarmonK - 16
8 Doncosmic - 14
9 John Quinn - 11

Final Score: Nats 5, D-Backs 3.

Nationals now 51-67. 


1 - Stephen Strasburg gets a weak liner from Chris Young and strikes Kelly Johnson out with a 1-2 change to start the top of the first. Justin Upton K's swinging through a high fastball and Strasburg's got a quick 1-2-3...Roger Bernadina and then Ian Desmond both fly out to Gerardo Parra in left, but Barry Enright gives up a bloop to left that Parra can't come up with that ends up a double by Adam Dunn. Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to short, 0-0 after one. 

2 - Strasburg grooves a 2-0 fastball to Adam LaRoche and he crushes it, over the out-of-town scoreboard and GONE! Solo HR, 1-0 D-Backs. 3-0 count to Miguel Montero, who gets three-straight heaters and K's. Mark Reynolds lines a single to center. Stephen Drew grounds back to Strasburg, who throws it over first, E on the pitcher, Reynolds scores and Drew takes third. 2-0 D-Backs. Sac fly from Gerardo Parra and Drew scores, 3-0 D-Backs. Barry Enright grounds out to end the top of the second...Josh Willingham doubles to left to start the Nats' second. Michael Morse lines out to Upton in right. Pudge Rodriguez singles to center to score the Hammer. 3-1 D-Backs. Adam Kennedy flies out to left field. Stephen Strasburg grounds into a force at second. 

3 - Strasburg gets three quick outs in the third with Chris Young grounding out to third, Kelly Johnson to second and Upton to first, 1-2-3 frame for Stras...Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond both go down quickly working Enright for all of three pitches and Adam Dunn flies to center on the fourth pitch he sees, 7-pitch 1-2-3 frame from the Arizona right-hander.  

4 - Adam LaRoche K's swinging at high fastball outside. Miguel Montero pops to short center and it drops in for a single. 90mph change inside to get Mark Reynolds swinging...Ryan Zimmerman slices a broken bat single to right for a leadoff runner in the Nats' fourth. Josh Willingham gets hold of a hanging curve from Enright and he hits a two-run blast to left that ties it at 3-3. Hammer's 16th. Michael Morse gets robbed and thrown out by Stephen Drew. Pudge K's swinging through a 2-2 curve. Adam Kennedy flies out to left. 3-3 after four

5 - Ian Desmond throws out the opposing pitcher. Chris Young singles to left with one down, lining a full-count fastball out to Willingham. Strasburg gets Kelly Johnson to chase a brutal change out of the zone and gets a groundout from Justin Upton to end a quick top of the fifth...Stephen Strasburg grounds out to short for the first out of the Nats' fifth. Roger Bernadina reaches on a bunt single down the third base line. Ian Desmond walks on four pitches. Enright vs Adam Dunn. Dunn grounds to Drew at second, Drew steps on the bag throws to first, double play to end the threat. Still 3-3. 

6 - Roger Bernadina takes a bad step and can't catch up to a pop from Adam LaRoche. Tyler Clippard strikes out Miguel Montero and gets a fly ball to center from Mark Reynolds, followed by another from Stephen Drew...D.J. Carrasco replaces Enright and strikes out Zimmerman. Josh Willingham grounds out to short. Michael Morse reaches on an error by the pitcher that LaRoche can't handle. Pudge flies to center to end the sixth. 

7 - Gerardo Parra K's swinging through a high 3-2 heater. Ryan Church pops out to Ryan Zimmerman in foul territory off third and halfway into left. Two down. Chris Young K's looking at a two-strike change inside from Tyler Clippard...Jordan Norberto takes over for Arizona. Adam Kennedy singles to right. Alberto Gonzalez hits for Clippard, or more accurately, bunts, AK to second. Roger Bernadina pops out, but Ian Desmond comes through with a two-out RBI single to right, 4-3 DC. Dunn flies out to end the seventh. 

8 - Sean Burnett gets a ground ball out from Kelly Johnson. One down. Burnett strikes out Justin Upton, but gives up a two-out single to Adam LaRoche before blowing Gerardo Parra away...Esmerling Vasquez gives up Ryan Zimmerman's 24th HR!!! 5-3 Nats. Josh Willingham pops out to LaRoche at first. Michael Morse flies out to center. Two down. Stephen Drew throws out Pudge to end the bottom of the frame. 

9 - Drew Storen on to close it out. Mark Reynolds lines out to short, one down. Stephen Drew grounds out to short. Parra flies out to center. Ballgame. Nats win, 5-3 final.