"That might be the longest ball I've seen hit here." --Jim Palmer, June 28, 2009
THE RESULTS: John Lannan and Adam Dunn both did their jobs as the Washington Nationals salvaged the final game of their series with their geographic rival, the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, before 25,068, the smallest crowd of the weekend "Battle of the Beltways" series.
Lannan (W, 5-5, 3.45) was sharp in his seven and one-third innings, only running into trouble in the eighth inning, when two inherited runners scored after he left the game.
The totals were less impressive than the performance due to the two late runs: 7.1 IP, three earned runs, six hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
Joe Beimel finished the eighth, but gave up a sacrifice and RBI single to Aubrey Huff, who was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double by Elijah Dukes. Mike MacDougal pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the season.
With the win, Washington's record stands at 22-51-1*.
Adam Dunn supplied the fireworks today, hitting a mammoth two-run home run out onto Eutaw Street, the 50th such shot in Camden Yards' 18-year history. The ball cleared the flag court, and hit the warehouse on one bounce.
Willie Harris continued his hot streak, going 3-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, all from the leadoff spot. Josh Willingham and Anderson Hernandez also had three hits apiece.
THE TAKEAWAY: Lannan has turned into the Nationals' stopper. He got sharper as the game went on until he ran out of gas in the eighth. He benefited by a double-play in the second inning, the only real trouble he had until the end.
The left-hander went 3-0 in June with a 2.19 ERA.
THE GOOD: Willie Harris. In his last eight games, Harris is 9-for-31 (.290/.371/.613) with two home runs and five RBIs. He's giving the team good defense in center field and a spark at the top of the lineup.
THE BAD: Nick Johnson. 0-for-5 hitting out of the three-spot. He still looks pretty uncomfortable on the bad wheel.
THE UGLY: Wil Nieves. 0-for-4, four left on base. Josh Bard has been on fire lately and fairly well taken over most of the at bats at catcher, and Nieves looks like he's really struggling at the plate right now.
NEXT GAME: Thankfully, back to National League play Monday night. The Nats travel to Florida for a three-game set with the Marlins. Craig Stammen (yes, Craig Stammen. see below), takes on Ricky Nolsaco (4-6, 6.42) at 7:10 pm.
NOTES: The Nats have reactivated LHP Scott Olsen and sent RHP Shairon Martis to Triple-A Syracuse. Martis started the season off 5-0, but has lost his last three decisions, and in eight starts since May 19 has an ERA of 6.34 with 13 Ks and 22 BBS in 44 innings pitched.
The team considered sending Stammen to the pen and DFA'ing either Jesus Colome or Joel Hanrahan, but Martis has options and his particularly poor start Saturday probably changed the minds of some in the organization.