GB&U GAME 44: Dunn Shows the Way Against O's

Posted by Dave Nichols | Sunday, May 24, 2009 | , , , , | 4 comments »


"If they're going to walk Zimmerman, good. Let them pitch to Dunn. That's something we haven't had here in the past." --Manny Acta, May 24, 2009.

THE RESULT: Adam Dunn busted two home runs--the second one a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning--and the Washington Nationals held on to an 8-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles before 30,880 at Nationals Park.

Shairon Martis went six innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out two. He departed after allowing Adam Jones' tenth home run of the season in the top of the seventh.

Ron Villone (W, 2-0, 0.00) entered and shut down the O's threat in that inning, and Joe Beimel pitched a perfect eighth. Joel Hanrahan struck out Jones and Nick Markakis, pounding them with 96 MPH fastballs, and got Aubrey Huff to bounce out to second base to end the game for his fifth save.

The decisive inning started with Anderson Hernandez lining a single to right field. Willie Harris followed that with a single of his own to right. Cristian Guzman, hitting .349, then sacrificed the runners over. Orioles Manager Dave Trembley then made the decision to intentionally walk Ryan Zimmerman, to set up the lefty-lefty matchup of Jamie Walker against Dunn.

That decision proved fatal for the Orioles manager on this day.

THE TAKEAWAY: Sometimes you just have to muscle up, and Dunn did that today. The Nats got offense, some great defense and enough pitching to notch win number 13.

Austin Kearns made two fantastic catches today. He chased one down in the alley and made a backhanded catch as he crashed face-first into the screen covering the out-of-town scoreboard wall in right center, and later sprinted full-out to snare one on the foul line before wiping out into the stands in the corner.

Anderson Hernandez made a terrific catch of a sinking liner, lunging to his left, taking a hit away from Brian Roberts int he eighth inning.

THE GOOD: Joel Hanrahan. As good as Dunn was with his two home runs, it's what is expected of him. Hanrahan has had some well-documented trouble this year, but his last couple outings have been good, but today he was dominant.

Facing the middle of the Orioles potent lineup, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff, he threw nothing but fastballs and simply overpowered Jones and Markakis with strikeouts and got Huff to bounce weakly to second to end it.

Today was the reason the Nats, and Manny Acta, have been sticking with Hanrahan. Hopefully he has fully turned the corner and realized just how potent a weapon his 96 MPH fastball can be.

THE BAD: Ronnie Belliard. He went 0-for-4, lowering his average to .172.

THE UGLY: Cristian Guzman made a throwing error, which was the closest the O's had to ugly on a day where the hitting, fielding and pitching all came through.

NEXT GAME: Memorial Day special in New York City. The Nats travel to Queens to face the Mets. John Lannan (2-3, 3.63) faces John Maine (3-3, 4.53).

NOTES: Nick Johnson was a late scratch with a stomach virus.

4 comments

  1. Cheryl Nichols // May 25, 2009 at 1:22 AM  

    Game 44? Very fitting that Dunn would have a career best 6 RBIs wearing #44! :)

  2. Wil Nieves // May 25, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

    "As good as Dunn was with his two home runs, it's what is expected of him."

    What does a guy have to do around here to get some love? If he keeps up with yesterday's game, he'll be on pace to hit more than 250 HRs! Go Dunn!!

  3. Dave Nichols // May 25, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

    Wil, it's nice to expect that sort of production!

  4. Andrew Lang // May 25, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

    I like your G. B. *& U.

    Crazy year for closers. Brad Lidge was perfect in Save opps last year, and this year has already blown 4 so it is GOOD to have H. A. Hanrahan come through so well throwing heaters. Once he can be confident with his heat he can reintroduce his biting slider and changeup.

    On the bad, Belliard is struggling but can be streaky so hopefully he gets back in form.

    After the Guzman bunt, I also like this year that the Nats can call on starters and pitchers to bunt and achieve a good Sacrifice which the Nats really struggled with last year.