GB&U GAME 111: Lucky Seven; Nats Beat Snakes 5-2

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, August 08, 2009 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Garrett Mock gets the shaving cream pie compliments of John Lannan.
Photo 2009 © Cheryl Nichols. All Rights Reserved.

"Menthol -- sensitive skin." -- Garrett Mock, on the "flavor" of his shaving cream pie, on the occasion of his first win as a starter, August 8, 2009.

THE RESULT: The Washington Nationals, led by starting pitcher Garrett Mock and outfielder Josh Willingham, won their seventh consecutive game, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 before 24,551 satisfied Nats fans at Nationals Park. The Nats record is now 39-72.

The seven-game win streak is their first since Aug. 26-Sept. 1 of last season, and the longest since a 10-game streak in June 2005.

Mock (W, 1-4, 6.14) pitched six strong innings, allowing two earned runs -- on a foul pole home run by Mark Reynolds -- on just five hits and three walks, striking out seven D-backs along the way.

It's only the second time in eight major league starts Mock has completed six innings, and it's his first win as a starter, earning him a shaving cream pie in the face by staff ace John Lannan during the post-game interview.

After Reynolds hit the left field foul pole in the fourth inning for his 35th of the season, Willingham answered right back in the bottom of the frame.

Arizona's starter, All-Star Dan Haren, opened the inning by hitting Adam Dunn on an 0-1 pitch. Willingham looked at a strike, then took the next pitch for a line drive into the left field bleachers, retaking the lead, 3-2.

Willie Harris followed with a triple, and scored on Alberto Gonzalez' sacrifice fly.

Josh Bard added a home run in the sixth to close the scoring.

Haren (L, 11-7, 2.57) was not particularly sharp on the warm, muggy night. He gave up seven hits in six innings, surrendering all five earned runs, striking out just four.

Following the recipe of the previous wins in the streak, the Nats once again received tremendous relief pitching. Sean Burnett went two perfect innings and Jorge Sosa threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the season, giving Mike MacDougal a much-needed night off, having pitched in four of the last six games.

Cristian Guzman extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Ryan Zimmerman upped his hitting streak to 12 games, and Adam Dunn took his streak to eight.

THE TAKEAWAY: Despite the humidity, both pitchers worked quickly and there was little offense after the fourth inning, as the game was completed in 2:12, one of the shortest games time-wise of the season.

Mock really needed this outing. It was his fifth, and surely most successful, start of this season. And it was his first start where he's had more strikeouts than innings pitched -- or hits, for that matter.

He threw 55 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and got six ground ball outs and four fly ball outs, to go along with the seven Ks.

THE GOOD: Garrett Mock. Unquestionably. A start to build upon.

THE BAD: Hmm. Every starter contributed to the offense. There were no errors. The pitching was quality. I can't find anything to complain about.

THE UGLY: "There was some concerning facts in our MRI when it was read by our team doctor," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said about the medical attention Jordan Zimmermann has received the last couple of days. The results of said MRI are on their way to the grim reaper of pitchers, Dr. James Andrews.

These are the words no Nats fan want to see associated with each other: James Andrews and Jordan Zimmermann's MRI.

The logical reason to send just the results to Andrews, and not Zimmermann himself for an evaluation, is to confirm their diagnosis that surgery is necessary, and Zimmermann will be lost for the rest of the season.

I hope I'm wrong.

NEXT GAME: Sunday afternoon in the expected blazing heat. J.D. Martin (0-2, 7.16) opposes Yusmeiro Petit (2-5, 5.81).