September 18, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 97 Review: Desmond Leads Nationals Past Rockies

DESMOND GOES 5-FOR-5 AS NATIONALS DEFEAT ROCKIES

At Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies on Monday night to begin their nine game road trip, the Washington Nationals defeated the Rockies 7-2 thanks in large part to a big night from Ian Desmond.

Neither starting pitcher was overpowering, but in 5.2 innings, Doug Fister gave up two runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks. For Colorado, Franklin Morales gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

Washington jumped ahead in the fourth inning and didn’t look back.

After Ryan Zimmerman (1-for-4, BB) led off the inning with a single, Ian Desmond (5-for-5, 2 RBI) hit his 17th home run of the season to give Washington a 2-0 lead. Wilson Ramos (2-for-4, RBI) followed up the homer with a single of his own and later scored when Danny Espinosa (2-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) doubled.

Then the Rockies gave the Nationals a gift.

Doug Fister (0-for-2) stepped to the plate looking to sacrifice himself to move Espinosa to third. After placing a perfect bunt down the third base line, Morales’ throw to first pulled Ben Paulsen off the mound and Fister was safe while Espinosa made it to third. Following a Denard Span (1-for-4, BB) strikeout, Morales attempted to pickoff Fister at first, but airmailed the throw and allowed Espinosa to score.

Colorado put together their best attempt at a comeback in the bottom of the sixth.

With runners at the corners and one out, Nolan Arenado singled to left field to score Corey Dickerson. Playing left field, Zimmerman threw the ball to second behind Carlos Gonzalez who was attempting to go from first-to-third. Desmond then threw the ball to Anthony Rendon (0-for-5) at third to record the out. Zimmerman was given an outfield assist.

Colorado scored their second run when Paulsen singled to score Arenado.

After seeing their lead cut in half 4-2, Washington answered in the top of the seventh.

With two on and nobody out, Wilson Ramos (2-for-5, RBI) singled to right to score Zimmerman and moved Desmond to third. On the play, Zimmerman had the wind knocked out of him as he dove across home plate to avoid the tag. With Espinosa at the plate, pitcher Tommy Kahnle threw a wild pitch which allowed Desmond to score.

For some added insurance, Espinosa tripled to score Desmond with two outs in the top of the ninth.

Aaron Barrett, Jerry Blevins and Ross Detwiler combined to throw 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out three and giving up just one hit. Fister picked up his ninth win of the year as Washington went on to win, 7-2.

Game Notes:

  • Ian Desmond elevated his batting average to .253 with a 5-for-5 effort that saw him plate two runs and score three runs. Not to be overlooked, he hit his team-leading 17th homer of the season.
  • Anthony Rendon stole his ninth base of the year. With that, he elevates his stolen base percentage to 90 percent.
  • On his dive across the plate in the sixth inning, Ryan Zimmerman was slow to get up. In the dugout, the television cameras caught him appearing to say that he had the wind knocked out of him. He took a couple moments to catch his breath, but later returned.
  • Doug Fister put together a solid five innings of work, but fatigue appeared to set in during the sixth inning. During that inning, he gave up five of his nine hits and both of his runs. Of his 85 pitches thrown, 57 of them were for strikes. With the effort, his season ERA drops to 2.92.
  • Aaron Barrett faced one batter, but it was an important out in the grand scheme of things. With the Rockies threatening with the bases loaded, Barrett struck out Brandon Barnes to kill the rally.
  • While they got seven runs, Washington left plenty out on the diamond. The Nationals went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. Likewise, Colorado went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 8 men on base.

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Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. He is currently earning a degree in Sports Communications at Shepherd University. Brian was the author of the D.C. sports blog "The Skinny on Sports" but has been a contributor to Yahoo Sports and Rant Sports in recent years. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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