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Instant Analysis: Nats 4, Cardinals 3

Sep 2, 2012, 8:53 PM EST

Nats 4, Cardinals 3

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg started the game strong with six shutout innings, but a rocky seventh by Sean Burnett let the Cardinals back in the game. The Nats were able to respond in the next inning with a two-run rally and take the lead. Kurt Suzuki had a big day with a solo home run in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa batted in the seventh inning runs to get the Nats ahead for good. The Cardinals scored a run in the 8th on a Tony Cruz double, but Mattheus got out of the eighth and Tyler Clippard held on in the ninth for the win. It was the team's 81st of the year which ties their most since moving to Washington, D.C.

Hitting highlight: Suzuki had an all-around great day at the plate and in the field. His fourth inning homer was a crisp line drive that landed in the first row of seats in left field. He then batted home Desmond in the sixth on a single, accounting for each of the Nats’ first two runs. He also made a nice defensive play earlier in the fourth on a throw home by Bryce Harper. Harper’s throw was well in time, but Suzuki needed to step away from the plate for the scoop and make a nice turn to spot the tag.

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  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Start putting some pressure on the Cubs early tomorrow and keep it on.We don't need the one-run tension; we can get plenty excited with a five-run lead. GYFNG!

  2. Fear and Ignorance - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Phillies are now as close to a WC berth as the Braves are to catching us in the NL East. Phillies also have upcoming series against the Rockies, Astros, Marlins and Mets (after they take on the Reds). A few more wins by the Phils and this could get very interesting.

  3. Swift Eagle - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    No doubt, the Phillies are still a very good team when they have all their guys, and they certainly have the Nats number…They are going to be a big part of Sept, and may even get into post season themselves..

  4. MicheleS - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!81 wins!

  5. NCNatsie - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Huge test passed this weekend — 3 of 4 against the WS Champs, a team that roaared through September last year, and, losing Pujolz notwithstanding, still an outstanding staff and lineup. A team, moreover, fighting for their playoff lives.I've been worrying about our 7 late-year games with them for months. I feel a whole lot better now.

  6. Swift Eagle - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    A Braves loss today would make it 7.5, biggest lead of the year…

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Well, that was rather nerve-wracking late in the game, but they pulled it off, so all's well that ends well. Was hoping they would so that Zuke would get player of the game, which I was sure he would. Atta way, Nats. Atta way, in-stadium voters. :-)

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Ohhhh….Davey states he was upset with Perez stealing third and that he'll have to talk to him about that.

  9. Dan - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Nats magic numbers… 23 for divison, 19 for wildcard.

  10. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Phillies up 5-0 in the 1st; still batting.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    And the Braves are down 5-0 and they haven't gotten out out of the top of the 1st.

  12. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    This feels really, really weird, but "let's go, Phillies." :-)

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    natsfan1a: Nothing wrong with that in September; pennant races make for some strange bedfellows.

  14. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Indeed they do, Eugene. Isn't it fun, though? Wheeeeeee!!

  15. JaneB - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Thanks for that tidbit, NatsJack. I was wondering how they sent Eury at that point in the game! Do they get to steal when they want in the minors? I'm glad it worked out for us, and I was thrilled when they sent him in to pinch run for the Beast. But I hope he listens to Davey and doesn't take it into his head to do that again. Eugene — I'm headed to Portland tomorrow for a week for a family wedding. I'll be the short middle-aged blond woman wearing Nats gear most of the time. How will I recognize you?

  16. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    JaneB: You won't; I'm 100 miles from Portland (although it's a nice enough city; make sure you visit Powell's Books). But if you end up a bit further south in the Williamette Valley, I'm the one in a red Curly W cap (although I do have blue one on order) while everyone else you'll see is dressed head-to-foot in green and yellow with a big 'O' on whatever they're wearing.

  17. peric - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    This feels really, really weird, but "let's go, Phillies." :-)I think at this point I'd rather see the Braves than Charlie Manual's Phillies in the playoffs … or in any regular season series for that matter. The Phillies have automagically morphed themselves back into a championship caliber club. They are a bit younger but a good bit more athletic than they were. The still have 3 top starters in Halladay, Lee, and Hamels plus Cloyd's minor league stats look interesting. I'm not so sure I shouldn't be rooting for the Braves …But, Davey seems to think the better the team, the better the challenge the better he and his team likes it so …

  18. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Braves announcers just interrupted their game with a report that Davey Johnson just announced there will only be two more starts for Stephen Strasburg. The 'breaking news' bit was that — according to their calculations — this means Mr. Strasburg won't be facing the Braves again before his shutdown. They had just been complaining about the Phillies pitchers they had to face and commenting to the effect that they 'hope the Phillies will send the same pitchers against the Nationals and not any of the no-names on their staff' (paraphrase). Love it.

  19. NCNatsie - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Roger that, Peric. We do not want a red hot Phillies team storming into the playoffs with a mighty late surge.

  20. peric - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Do they get to steal when they want in the minors?Depends on the manager. He has now played for four different teams this season starting in the Gulf Coast league. His game has been to get on and steal bases … albeit Jeff Kobernus was doing a better job in AA than did Perez but he once again fell to injury. Perez doesn't walk much usually … they worked with him on that in AAA and he has shown some improvement. At this point I can't see Davey swapping Eury into this outfield over Harper in CF. Or replacing Werth at lead-off. Werth walks and has a higher OBP. So, I can't help but wonder what they will do with him if he has the potential to start somewhere? With the Nats he'd be a right-handed bat/defensive replacement. But Davey prefers bench bats with some pop? Yet, the FO likes slap hitters who steal? Lord knows why? Davey wins and "smart ball, small brain" struggles to get above .500. I guess we know who wins that argument?

  21. SonnyG10 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    I am concerned with the Phillies also. Would like for them to not make the playoffs, or the playin.

  22. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    7-1 Phillies if anyone is interested; Cole Hamels hit a two-run double that would have driven in three if it hadn't hopped over the wall on one hop.

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Rollins takes a called third strike and Dresden grounded to Chipper

  24. peric - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Syracuse has one more game … Syracuse had a nice come back win today and Corey Brown hit his team leading 24th home run. Jason Michaels was replaced by Mark Teahen as team leader. On the pitching side former Pirate lefty Zach Duke leads in wins and innings pitched and is hoping he gave Nats brass something to think about. I wonder as well when they choose CM Wang over this guy who has done a yeoman's job for Syracuse this season. Makes you wonder. Because Brown is the better fielder and perhaps the best CF the Nats have overall one would think he would see some time in the outfield this September but perhaps not. His extra base hit surge ended when he was returned to AAA after his last short stint in the majors. The Nats like guys who can keep that winning attitude no matter what adversity they might face. Lannan's attitude suffered significantly at the beginning of the season but picked up significantly as the season moved toward its end.

  25. peric - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    7-1 Phillies if anyone is interested; Cole Hamels hit a two-run double that would have driven in three if it hadn't hopped over the wall on one hop.The Phillies look scary. Making mincemeat out of the Nats and the Braves in succession? If they get into the playoffs we'll need extra maalox and something stronger than Bourbon … maybe white lightning.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    So Matt Kemp grounds out to short with men on 2nd and 3rd to end the inning and slams his helmet down and it bounds 40 ' down the right field line with nothing from the umpires.

  27. The Fox - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Nice win, that said I'm still having concerns about Burnett.Burnett has now given up hits in 9 consecutive outings. and given up runs in 4 of his last 5 outings and in the other he was pulled without getting an out after giving up 2 hits. I do not think he is pitching terribly and he was almost lights out before mid-August so we may be seeing some regression to the mean but I was wondering if anyone else noticed anything? Is it mechanics? or maybe overuse? Not panicking just concerned.

  28. Positively Half St. - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Nats Jack-Good work pointing them out. It would be even better if you could tell me that CB Bucknor was presiding at first.If the Braves lose today, it may well not matter who pitches against them for the Nats. Complete implosions like the ones that happened last year were fascinating for being rare. I think we should have every expectation to win the NL East now.+1/2St.

  29. Donald - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I wouldn't worry too much about the Phillies making the playoffs. They'd have to pass a LOT of teams ahead of them, and most of those teams play each other a bunch, so they can't all lose. The Phillies are looking scary right now, but I think they're starting from too far back.

  30. Positively Half St. - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    The Cubs lost today, and now cannot mathematically catch the Nats. The next team to fall is the Rockies; the Nats' magic number against them is 5. Let's hope the Nats don't let down against a lesser opponent.I spent the day at Nats Park with family and friends, and I don't believe that any play was quite as exciting as Bryce Harper's outfield assist at home plate. The sharp play by Espinosa and Tracy in the 9th had to be the next most satisfying.I really thought I would be excited when the Nats finally won their 82nd game to ensure a winning season, but it will merely bring a smile of anticipation.+1/2St.

  31. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Adrian Gonzalez just hit a walk-off two-run double to beat the Diamondbacks.Peric: I'm with you 100% on the Phillies as a threat to everyone they play (Nats, Braves, Reds) the rest of the season; whether they're playing for pride, the minuscule chance they have to make the playoffs, or for spots in next season's line-up (e.g., John Mayberry, the new third baseman), they're playing hard and they're finally healthy. But other posters — Donald (above), Fox (the other night) — have pretty much persuaded me that there are too many teams between the Phillies and the second wild card to them to make it. But that doesn't make them any less of a threat to win important, meaningful ballgames, especially with their pitching.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    It's all good!

  33. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Ghost, yep. I wish Strasburg's last start were at home so we could give him a big sendoff, but, sobeit. After Sept 12 it will be chopped liver, y'know, like Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez…

  34. JD - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    As well as the Phills have played here are some facts: 1) They are still 7 games out of a wild cars spot. 2) They are still behind 5 teams. 3) They are still 5 games under .500 4) They just lost 2 of 3 at home to the Mets. 5) Their next 3 games are at Cincinati. I'd say their chances of making the playoffs are about 3%.

  35. Positively Half St. - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    JD-You are very generous, in that ESPN calculates their chances as 10x less, at 0.3%. I would be happy to have them wreak havoc with other teams after sweeping the Nats, but fail to make the playoffs.+1/2St.

  36. sjm308 - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Hey everyone: just got back from working on #2 sons yard as he moves into Capitol Hill near H street. Got to actually see the 7th – 9th innings and while the bar was fairly quiet, I wooo – hoooed for both Ian & Danny & again at the end. This catcher we got from the A's? He might not be that bad after all. Maybe Rizzo does know what he is doing. Someone weeks ago suggested that Rizzo had been fleeced by Mr. Beane. Wonder where that poster is now???Peric, good points on the Phils & also on C. Brown. I realize the Phils have a huge hole to dig out of but Charlie has them focused right now & I am not looking forward to our games with them. I am hoping those last 3 games are just window dressing for the playoffs as Davey gets to rest the starters & set the rotation and bullpen for the playoffs.Go Nats!! Go Playoffs – we scored first and won again. That is 3 out of 4 and I will take that every time.

  37. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    Braves won. Jones walk-off 3-run shot.

  38. Secret wasian man - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Holy crap with the braves. Thanks for nothing papelbon.

  39. MicheleS - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Phillies maybe a tough team to face, but there is no way they get a wildcard.

  40. natsfan1a - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Darn you, Chippa.





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