The 34-36 Washington Nationals entered tonight's series finale in Philadelphia on a three-game losing streak, having dropped the third of three on the road in Cleveland and the first two of three in Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals and ...
The 34-36 Washington Nationals entered tonight's series finale in Philadelphia on a three-game losing streak, having dropped the third of three on the road in Cleveland and the first two of three in Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals and Phillies started play tied for second in the NL East, so the Nats were trying to avoid getting swept into third place in the division they won last season. Their opening day second baseman was struggling to make contact at the plate with their top minor league affiliate. Their 20-year-old 2010 no.1. overall pick was a day or two away from resuming "baseball activities" after injuring his knee. They were near the bottom of the NL in AVG, OBP and SLG. Their GM and manager were defending their hitting coach to reporters because those in search of an explanation for the team's offensive woes don't like the Nats' hitter's approach.
They had their 2012 21-game winner on the mound in Philadelphia, though, and one game left in Citizens Bank Park before a seven-game homestand back in the nation's capital.
They saw a total of eight pitches in a 1-2-3 top of the first vs Phillies' right-hander Kyle Kendrick.
Phillies' leadoff man Ben Revere lined to left-center on a 1-1 curve from Gio Gonzalez for a single in the first at bat of the bottom of the first, and Michael Young made it 2-0 early with a two-run home to left and just over the wall on a 2-2 fastball from the Nationals' left-hander. Gonzalez allowed nine home runs in 199.1 IP in 2012. Young's third home run of 2013 was the ninth hit off the Nats' starter in 84.2 IP this season. Gonzalez was at 24 pitches total when he struck Domonic Brown out to end the first.
Adam LaRoche singled to right to start the Nationals' second, but he was stranded at first three outs later when Kyle Kendrick completed his second scoreless at 25 pitches overall. Gio Gonzalez struck out the third and fourth straight batters in a row for the first two outs of the Phillies' second, and a groundout to Ryan Zimmerman at third ended a 12-pitch inning that had the Nats' lefty at 36 overall. Kurt Suzuki, Gonzalez and Denard Span went down in order in a nine-pitch top of the third that had Kendrick at 34 overall after three with the score still 2-0 Phillies. Gio Gonzalez needed 12 pitches to set down the seventh, eighth and ninth-straight batters after Michael Young's home run and finish three innings at 48 pitches total.
Kyle Kendrick threw a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 4th, retiring Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche in order for nine-straight outs of his own following LaRoche's leadoff single in the second. 48 overall after four scoreless by the Phillies' right-hander.
Gio Gonzalez's streak of retired batters ended with a leadoff walk to Jimmy Rollins in the home-half of the fourth. The left-hander erased the runner, however, when Gonzalez struck Ryan Howard out with a full-count curve with Rollins running. Rollins was caught stealing, dead-to-rights at second on a strong throw to the bag by Kurt Suzuki. Gonzalez threw a 94 mph 2-2 fastball by Domonic Brown for out no.3 of the fourth and K no. 7 in 4.0 IP. An 18-pitch inning left the Nationals' left-hander at 66 overall after four.
Jimmy Rollins showed off the range and made a spinning throw behind second base to get Jayson Werth at first for the first out of the fifth on a grounder up the middle. Ian Desmond grounded out to third. Steve Lombardozzi grounded out to second. Kyle Kendrick had five scoreless on 56 pitches after an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 5th. 2-0 Philadelphia. Ian Desmond made a backhand play deep in the hole and a strong throw to first. Ryan Zimmerman showed off his glove on a sharp grounder to third. Adam LaRoche caught a line drive and Gio Gonzalez was through the fifth after just seven pitches at 73 overall, but down 2-0. 14 of 15 set down.
Kurt Suzuki was the thirteenth straight batter set down by Kyle Kendrick after he grounded to short to start the sixth. Gio Gonzalez was the fourteenth. Denard Spa