GB&U GAME 116: Mock, Solo Homers Do In Reds 2-0

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, August 15, 2009 | , , , , | 0 comments »

"I was looking for something middle-away. I knew that I hit it good, but this year, I've hit a lot of balls that stayed in." -- Wil Nieves, on his second career home run, August 14, 2009.

THE RESULTS: Ronnie Belliard and Wil "Who?" Nieves hit solo home runs, and Garrett Mock threw seven solid innings to lead the Washington Nationals over the Cincinnati Reds, 2-0, before 19,606 at Great American Ballpark.

Nieves finished 2-for-4, raising his average to .252 this season. It was the third time this season he's caught a shut out.

Mock (W, 2-4, 5.27) started off a little shaky in the first inning, walking the first batter he faced and throwing 20 pitches in the frame. but he settled down nicely from there, and he scattered six hits and four walks across seven innings. He also struck out six.

Mock threw 59 of his 101 pitches for strikes and recorded two ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs.

Jorge Sosa, Sean Burnett, Jason Bergmann and Mike MacDougal (12th save) finished the blanking of the Red Legs.

There was not much offense to be had, a recurring theme on this road trip that's already seen three losses in a row until last night's achievement. Aaron Harang (L, 6-14, 4.35) kept the Nats at bey most of the night. He gave up six hits and three walks in his seven innings, striking out six.

The two home runs were all the difference in the game.

"I can't make mistakes," Harang said. "The first pitch to Belliard was p. It was a slider that started outside and came back over the plate, and he recognized it. We've got a history."

Belliard is now 9-for-23 lifetime against Harang.

As for the homer to Nieves? "That was a fastball up and out of the zone, and he just got underneath it."

Nyjer Morgan preserved the shut out in the fifth inning, when he threw out Harang at the plate trying to score on a single from shortstop Paul Janish.

THE TAKEAWAY: Mock seems to be getting a little sharper each time out, which is the progress you want to see from a young pitcher. The rest of this season is dedicated to watching the young staff, what's left of it anyway, prove that they are part of the future and belong in the big leagues.

Mock did allow a bunch of base runners, but he escaped trouble whenever he found it. He punctuated the effort with a strikeout of the final batter he faced, rookie catcher Craig Tatum, with the bases loaded.

And props to the little guys, Belliard and Nieves. There were no bigger smiles on the night that Nieves' heading back to the dugout after hitting home plate.

THE GOOD: Wil Nieves. 2-for-4 with his second career home run.

THE BAD: Willie Harris. 0-for-4, six runners left on base.

THE UGLY: The need for Morgan's nice throw to the plate on Harang was a result of one of the uglier plays you'll see. Harang hit a humpback flare to left center, that any one of Morgan, Harris or Guzman could have caught. Instead, none of the three called for it, and it fell harmlessly not 10 feet from any of the three.

NEXT GAME: Saturday night at the Smallpark. J.D. Martin (1-2, 5.91) faces Johnny Cueto (8-9, 4.23) at 7:10 pm.