Posted by Dave Nichols | Sunday, August 29, 2010 | , , , , , | 1 comments »

"They probably got it right, but it's a terrible rule. It's got to be changed." -- Jim Riggleman, on Ian Desmond being called out for running inside the baseline.

Jim Riggleman tries to usher Dan Radison away from "Country" Joe West. (Photo by A. Amobi/Nats News Network)
THE RESULT:  Friday night, the Washington Nationals left 12 runners on base.  What a difference a day makes.

Saturday night, before a spirited crown of over 30,000, the Nats pounded out 16 hits -- including Adam Dunn's first home run since Aug. 11 -- in a 14-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, denting again the N.L. Central's second place squad's effort to catch the Cincinnati Reds.

Dunn was moved down in the batting order by Manager Jim Riggleman to the fifth spot for the first time all year, and perhaps that was enough impetus for him to have a breakout game.

Dunn goes deep and has a five-RBI night. (Photo by A. Amobi/Nats News Network)
He certainly brought the big stick out tonight, taking a pitch the other way for a two-run double in the Nats' four-run third inning and clubbing a three-run home run in fifth to break a 5-5 tie to take a lead the Nats would only add to as the evening went along.

Dunn finished 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and five RBIs.  He came into the game with eight hits in his last 76 plate appearances.

Six Nationals batters had multi-hit nights, including Michael Morse, who had his first career four-hit game.  And Ivan Rodriguez drove in two runs on his bobblehead night.

Livan Hernandez got the win (9-9) despite not pitching particularly well, but he did gut out 6 1/3 innings after twisting his knee in his second at bat.  He gave up five earned runs on eight hits and a walk, and was the beneficiary of a very generous offense for once.

Livo gets the win despite giving up five runs in 6 1/3 innings.  (Photo by A. Amobi/Nats News Network)
Though the Nats had their highest run-scoring output in a home game since the move to D.C., what this game will really be remembered for was two very strange plays and umpire calls that cost the Nats two more runs on the scoreboard.

In the third, Ian Desmond tried to sacrifice Hernandez and Kennedy and put down a good bunt, fielded by Cards pitcher Kyle Lohse.  Lohse hit Desmond in the back, with the ball careening down the right field line, with Hernandez and Kennedy coming around to score. 

However, home plate umpire Dan Bellino ruled that Desmond was inside the baseline and ruled out -- and the runners were sent back to their bases, like the play never happened.  Both Dan Radison and Scott Olsen -- on the Nats bench -- were ejected for arguing the play.

First base coach Dan Radison argues with "Country" Joe West. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)
Regardless, with one out Ryan Zimmerman singled home Livan before Dunn's first big hit, the double to left to score both Kennedy and Zimmerman.

Then, during the Nats six-run eighth inning off ex-Nat Mike MacDougal, Nyjer Morgan made a thought-less play that cost the Nats another run.  Morgan should have scored easily on Willie Harris' bases loaded clearing double.  But Morgan, inexplicably, ran into Cards catcher Bryan Anderson in front of home plate instead of touching home and scoring. 

Morgan went back to touch the plate, but in doing so came into contact with Rodriguez, who had scored ahead of him.  Third base umpire Angel Hernandez saw the contact and called Morgan out, correctly.

Kennedy and Morse point for Morgan to go home, but Pudge makes contact, making Morgan out. (Photo by A. Amobi/Nats News Network)

Ivan Rodriguez grabbed Nyjer Morgan before he touched home, making Morgan out. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)

Morgan was incredulous being called out -- correctly. (Photo by A. Amobi/Nats News Network)
All things considered, it was a good night at Nats Park.  Not like anyone needed it or anything.

THE GOOD:  Lots to go on here.  Dunn's five ribbies was nice, as was Morse's career day.  Sean Burnett and Joel Peralta combined for 2 2/3 scoreless relief innings.  And with all the base runners, the Nats only left two on as a team.

THE BAD:  Morgan.  Dropped to eighth in the order, he went 0-for-3 with a walk, and the boneheaded play at the plate.  He did have a very nice running catch though.

Morgan contributed with his glove.  (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)
THE UGLY:  Many fans will complain about the umpiring, but tonight's ugly goes to an ex-Nat, Felipe Lopez.  After a single to drive in a run in the Cards fifth, Lopez stood at first and peered into the Nats dugout and nodded in self-satisfaction.  Perhaps that was the "rallying cry" the Nats needed.

THE STATS:  3 Ks, 1 BB, 8-for-11 with RISP, 2 LOB, 1 DP, zero DPs hit into.

NEXT GAME:  Sunday at 1:35 pm.  John Lannan (5-6) hosts Adam Wainwright (17-8).

NATS NOTES:  Ross Detwiler made a rehab start for Class-A Potomac against the Frederick Keys.  He went three innings and gave up a solo home run, but otherwise allowed two hits, no walks and struck out four.

Here's a bouus shot of Scott Olsen arguing from the dugout.  He got tossed.
(Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)


  1. ondeck13 // August 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

    Dave & Cheryl, absolutely awesome recap & pictures! What a team you two are and how great for us fans! I can't tell you how much I enjoy your coverage - and the pictures - oh what a bonus :)

    Really sad though going back & looking at Strasburg pics, but like he said I gotta move on.

    Anyway, thanks for all the time, effort & money you guys put into this blog!