July 30, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 96 Review: Werth’s walk-off double helps Nats win series vs Brewers

NATS OVERCOME SORIANO’S BLOWN SAVE TO TOP BREWERS

Jayson Werth hit a walk-off RBI double in the ninth inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park Sunday afternoon, taking two of three from the Brewers to start the second half of the MLB season on a high note.

The Nats persevered despite a rocky start from Gio Gonzalez, who lasted just 3 ⅓ innings and, in that time, allowed three runs on four hits and tossed 88 pitches.

Washington got off to an early lead in the bottom of the second after Adam LaRoche singled on a grounder to left and, with one out, Bryce Harper singled, advancing LaRoche to third. As the third time’s the charm, Ian Desmond singled home LaRoche to make it 1-0 Nationals.

But Sunday was never meant to be a shining day for Gonzalez, it seemed.

After striking out Rickie Weeks to start the third, Gonzalez gave up back-to-back walks to Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez. Then, Jonathan Lucroy hit a soft grounder, and Gonzalez botched the play by lobbing the ball to first as Braun scored easily. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 95 Review: Early Jump Powers Nats Past Brewers

After struggling to bring home base runners in Friday night’s loss, the Washington Nationals made applied their lessons learned early in Saturday night’s 8-3 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Brewers starter Matt Garza (L, 6-7) lasted just a third of an inning, marking his shortest Major League start.

Denard Span kicked off the Nats five-run first inning with a lead-off single. Of all batters to retire, Matt Garza was able to force Anthony Rendon to strike out swinging. It would be Garza’s only out of the day, as Jayson Werth doubled deep to right, Adam LaRoche walked and Ryan Zimmerman singled home Span and Werth.

From there, Harper walked, Ian Desmond reached first on an infield single and Ramos singled home Zimmerman and Harper before Marco Estrada relieved Garza.

Perhaps eased by his five-run lead, Nats starter Tanner Roark handed back a run in the second by way of a Jonathan Lucroy double and stolen base. On the play, Ramos committed a throwing error that allowed Lucroy to come home to make it 5-1 Nationals.

The Nats tacked on additional runs in the third and fourth with help from Harper’s double in the third and walks to Werth and LaRoche in the fourth. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 94 Review: Nats Struggle with RISP in Loss to Brewers

The Washington Nationals tallied ten hits against Milwaukee Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse, but managed to fall 4-2 in the second-half opener at Nationals Park Friday night.

Stephen Strasburg (L, 7-7) was out-pitched, despite the fact he gave up fewer hits than his counterpart. Through seven innings pitched, he allowed seven total hits and four earned runs while walking one and striking out nine. Lohse, on the other hand, allowed 10 hits and managed just three strikeouts, but held the Nats to 1 run through his seven innings of work.

The Brewers earned an early run when, number-2 batter Scooter Gennett hit the first of the Brewers’ two solo homers off Strasburg to make it 1-0.

In the second inning, Khris Davis repeated the feat with a one-out solo shot of his own to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead.

To double their efforts, the Brewers tried small ball in the third. After Lohse struck out to start the inning, Carlos Gomez grounded to short for the second out. Then, Strasburg handed Gennett a walk before Ryan Braun doubled and Aramis Ramirez singled to plate Gennett and Braun and double the Brewers’ lead.

The Nats didn’t have an answer until the third, and even then, they put up a small fight.

Ryan Zimmerman led off the inning with a double before Ian Desmond brought him home on a one-out double to make it 4-1 Brewers.

Despite several opportunities for progress – most of which began with a single – the Nats waited until the ninth to post another run.

With Francisco Rodriguez pitching for Milwaukee, Bryce Harper led off with a 389-foot solo shot to trim the Brewers’ lead in half. The deficit remained intact as Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Kevin Frandsen went down in order.

THE GOOD: The Nationals tallied 11 total hits on the night – more than the Milwaukee Brewers could produce. While the long ball hurt Stephen Strasburg, he still provided a fairly solid outing – the Brewers merely capitalized on his mishaps. Bryce Harper, who has struggled a bit since returning from his injury, went 3-for-4 on the night with one run and one RBI and the solo homer. Denard Span also tallied three hits and Ryan Zimmerman added two and a run.

THE BAD: The Washington Nationals went 1-for-10 with RISP – only Ian Desmond brought home someone on the left side of the diamond

THE UGLY: The first inning featured a brief delay, courtesy of an obstruction call on a play involving Denard Span and Anthony Rendon. Span led off with a single before Rendon hit a grounder to short. Span outran the throw to second and was called safe but second base umpire Angel Campos called Span out for obstruction because of how he rebounded from his slide just in front of Scooter Gennet

THE STATS: 2 R, 11 H, 6 K, 1 HR (Harper), 1-for-10 with RISP, LOB 7

Washington Nationals Game 90 Review: Nats Fall Short in Beltway Series Finale

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings Thursday night as the Washington Nationals fell 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles in the Battle of the Beltway finale at Oriole Park.

Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen (W, 9-3) retired the first three Nats in order, Steve Pearce helped the Orioles to an early lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom half of the inning.

Chen pitched a 1-2-3 second and gave up a lone single to Wilson Ramos in the third, but the Orioles’ offense, on the other hand, came to life.

In the bottom of the third, after Gonzalez (L, 6-5) retired the first two batters, Nick Markakis drew a walk and Pearce singled to give Baltimore runners on first and second. Adam Jones then doubled to score Markakis, and Nelson Cruz singled to plate Pearce and Jones. The Orioles received some assistance on the play by way of an Ian Desmond throwing error, and just like that, Baltimore took a 4-0 lead.

The Nats earned back a run in the fourth after Anthony Rendon hit a one-out single and Adam LaRoche was hit by a tailing four-seamer. The next batter, Ryan Zimmerman, lined one to center to plate Rendon, to trim the Orioles’ lead to 4-1. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 89 Review: Three Homers Help Nats Top Orioles in Baltimore

Following a District rainout, the Washington Nationals hit three home runs to start the second leg of the Battle of the Beltway with a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park Wednesday night.

Doug Fister was sharp on an extra day of rest, allowing two runs on seven hits through seven innings pitched to earn his eighth win of the season.

Baltimore right-hander Bud Norris had no such luck, stretching just four innings to allow five runs on six hits and a walk.

The Nats did damage early. With one out in the first, Anthony Rendon hit a ground-rule double, aided by fan interference. Then, Jayson Werth doubled Rendon home before Adam LaRoche singled in Werth to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles earned one back in the bottom of the inning after Steve Pearce and Nelson Cruz walked and Chris Davis hit an RBI single.

With a swing of the bat in the top of the second, Wilson Ramos erased the Orioles’ progress on a solo shot to left to make it 3-1 Nationals.

Baltimore threatened in the bottom of the third after Fister lost control of a 74 MPH curveball that tailed into Nick Markakis. Fister left Pearce chasing a sub-90 fastball before Adam Jones singled to give the Orioles runners on first and second.

Fortunately for the Nats, Cruz managed just a soft grounder to second to advance the runners a base, but Chris Davis popped out to end the inning without a run scored.

In the top of the fourth, the Nationals recorded their second of three homers on the night – a solo shot by Ian Desmond to right center.

Machado voiced his disdain in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot of his own, but the Nats remained in front by two runs.

In the top of the fifth, they expanded it to three after Danny Espinosa walked and Span singled.

The Orioles called on Brad Brach to relieve Norris, but he first allowed a walk to Werth and a sacrifice fly to LaRoche before pitching out of the inning.

The Nats’ third and final homer of the night came in the seventh when Werth shot a first-pitch splitter over the left-field wall to make it 6-2.

Baltimore did little to catch their Beltway rivals – Fister pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to end his stint before Drew Storen and Ross Detwiler tossed a 1-2-3 eighth and ninth, respectively.

With the win, the Nationals find themselves in first place in the NL East with a 49-40 record.

Washington Nationals Game 88 Review: Nats Crumble in 11th to Open Beltway Series with Loss

The Washington Nationals came back from a two-run deficit to carry Game 1 of the Battle of the Beltway to extras, but Chris Davis sparked a six-run 11th to help the Baltimore Orioles to an 8-2 win.

Stephen Strasburg was solid through seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and no walks, while striking out nine. He was nearly matched by Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman, who gave up just two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out six.

In the end, it was the often-reliable Craig Stammen who lost control of the game in the 11th in what amounted to one of his worst outings of the season.

To get to that point, the Orioles drove in their first two runs in in the fourth after Manny Machado singled and Nelson Cruz hammered his 28th homer of the season to make it 2-0 Baltimore with Strasburg on the mound.

The Nats answered in the sixth in a similar fashion after Denard Span led off with a single and Anthony Rendon homered – his 13th of the season.

From there, both bullpens held it together, giving up few opportunities for either squad.

Washington had a chance to walk off in the ninth after Ryan Zimmerman hit a one-out double and Orioles’ pitcher Darren O’Day intentionally walked Harper. But, O’Day forced both Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos to chase strike three to end the inning. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 84 Review: Late Desmond Homer Lifts Nats Over Rockies

Ian Desmond’s seventh-inning home run proved the difference-maker, as the Washington Nationals topped the Colorado Rockies 4-3 Wednesday night to nab the three-game series sweep.

Doug Fister secured his seventh win of the season, giving up three runs on seven hits and five strikeouts. His only trouble spot came in the second inning after he allowed singles to Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson. Perhaps aided by the heat and humidity, Michael McKenry powered a three-run shot over the left-field bullpen to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead.

After that, Fister regained control.

And, in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats made it a new ballgame.

Anthony Rendon led off wing a single to center and stole second base. The free bag mattered little when the next batter, Jayson Werth, socked a homer to center to trim the Rockies’ lead to a run.

Adam LaRoche went down on strikes and Ryan Zimmerman flied out to center before Bryce Harper kept the inning alive with a double up the third baseline. After pitcher Tyler Matzek tossed a wild one to move Harper to third, Ian Desmond singled him home to make it a tie game, which held until the seventh.

With the win, the Nats are now 46-38 on the season and just a half game behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Despite allowing three runs on six hits through 6.1 innings pitched, Matzek emerged from the game without the loss, as it was Matt Belisle who allowed the homer to Desmond.

Washington Nationals Game 83 Review: Strasburg, Nationals Shut Down Rockies with 7-1 Win

In the wake of all the drama surrounding Bryce Harper’s return – and ensuing commentary on how manager Matt Williams should do his job – the Washington Nationals did the only thing they could do to relieve any lingering tensions: they won a ballgame.

For the third night in a row, the Nats posted seven runs, this time topping the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night by a final of 7-1 at Nationals Park.

The win marked a big one for Stephen Strasburg who lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs in his previous start, citing mechanical issues.

Whatever tactic Strasburg (W, 7-6) applied to Tuesday night’s matchup against lefthander Christian Friedrich (L, 0-3) worked as the Nats’ starter allowed just a solo home run to DJ LeMahieu, along with five hits and a walk, in 7 2/3 innings.

The Nats, however, had a field day in the batter’s box as Jayson Werth paved the way, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI, two runs scored and two walks. Anthony Rendon and Denard Span each crossed home plate twice, while Rendon batted in another two runs on the night. And, Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-3 with an RBI to round out the night.

Washington wasted little time jumping ahead. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 82 Review: Zimmermann Secures Win in Harper’s Return

At long last, balance is restored at Nationals Park. After missing 57 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb, Bryce Harper returned to the Washington Nationals’ lineup Monday night, helping his team to a 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Perhaps reenergized by Harper’s return to the lineup, the Nationals tallied seven runs for the second night in a row to ensure Jordan Zimmermann walked away with his sixth win of the season.

Zimmermann’s six innings pitched featured a fair share of missteps. The Nats’ right-hander gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five. But, with the team’s offense firing away, it was more than enough to stifle the Rockies.

Harper batted in a run on a night that appropriately featured his bobblehead giveaway. Even more, Ian Desmond batted in three runs and Adam LaRoche hit a monster solo shot to further aid the Nationals’ efforts. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 70 Review: With Gio’s Return, Nats Complete Two-Game Sweep of Astros

A two-game sweep is still a sweep, and a win is a win – even if it comes against the Houston Astros.

And, Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals rallied back to top the 32-41 squad by the score of 6-5 on a sweltering night at Nationals Park. The win marked the Nats’ 12th in their last 13 games against the Astros, and propelled Washington to a 1 ½ game lead in the NL East.

In Gio Gonzalez’s first start since May 17, he ran into his fair share of trouble spots, but held the Astros at bay long enough to keep the Nats alive. In five innings pitched, he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks, and hit a batter.

More importantly, he looked solid in the early innings and reported no soreness in his shoulder.

The Nats slowly rounded up a run here and there to start against Scott Feldman.

In the first, Denard Span walked and, with the help of a challenge call that overturned a ruling on the field, Span successfully stole second. [Read more...]

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