GB&U GAME 58*: It's Always Raining in NatsTown

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, June 11, 2009 | , , , | 0 comments »

"Right now, our bullpen is throwing a lot better, and we just haven't been able to get the big hit." --Manny Acta, June 10, 2009.

THE RESULT: When a two-plus hour rain delay halted play in the bottom of the ninth with no outs, most of the fans that attended another rain-soaked affair at Nationals Park went home.

Those that stayed, all 125 of them, were treated to a Nats rally, two innings of scoreless ball, and eventual bullpen breakdown as the Washington Nationals fell to 0-8 in extra innings, losing to the Cincinnati Reds 4-2.

Announced attendance was 19,790, but at no time were there anywhere near that many people at the park.

The Reds got a two-run home run from Jay Bruce off Nats starter Shairon Martis in the second inning, an that would be it for the scoring until after the lengthy rain delay in the ninth inning.

Elijah Dukes and Josh Willingham both walked against Reds closer Francisco Cordero, and Josh Bard hit a one-out single to right, scoring Dukes. Alberto Gonzalez then knocked in Willingham with a single up the middle to tie the game. The rally died there, though, as Cristian Guzman struck out looking and Nick Johnson flied out to end the inning.

Cincinnati took advantage of the Nats poor defensive play in the 12th inning. Bruce led off and took a walk from Ron Villone (L, 3-1, 0.53). Alex Gonzalez tried to sacrifice, but Villone misplayed the bunt, and all hands were safe.

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was then asked to sacrifice, but Villone uncorked a ball in the dirt that Wil Nieves couldn't come up with, and with Ryan Zimmerman charging on the bunt, there was no one to cover third, and Bruce advanced.

Manager Manny Acta then lifted Villone with the count 2-0 in favor of Jason Bergmann, who got Hanigan to ground into a 4-3-6-4-6 double play.

But the next batter, Johnny Gomes, pounded a double to left, and Jerry Hairston followed with a single, pushing two across and sealing the deal.

THE TAKEAWAY: The two-through six hitters last night were a combined 1-for-21. Adam Dunn was picked off second base from the catcher. Willingham and Villone both had errors. That's how you lose 42 out of your first 57 games.

THE GOOD: Shairon Martis. Despite the two-run homer, Martis was good. He went seven innings, allowing just two earned runs on three hits and two walks, striking out just one.

Alex Gonzalez is now 5-for-5 pinch-hitting this season.

THE BAD: Nick Johnson. 0-for-5, five left on base.

THE UGLY: The weather. The Nats have now had 10 of their 32 home games delayed because of bad weather. Really? Just ten. Seems like a lot more.

NEXT GAME: Today, at 4:35 pm, the finale of the three-game series with the Reds, and the end of a long, frustrating homestand. John Lannan (3-5, 3.68) hosts Micah Owings (3-7, 4.90).