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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Pirates 2

May 5, 2013, 8:48 PM EDT

Associated Press
Gio Gonzalez survived a shaky first inning to earn a quality start.

Game in a nutshell: The finale of this series and the road trip began in crazy fashion, with Bryce Harper ejected after arguing a check-swing called by third base umpire John Hirschbeck in the top of the first. Gio Gonzalez then gave up a homer on the very first pitch he threw and loaded the bases with nobody out. But Gonzalez settled down and the rest of the Nationals followed suit. Danny Espinosa delivered a big, two-run homer in the fourth, and Tyler Moore added a three-run blast in the eighth. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano then closed out the victory, ending this road trip with four wins in five days and leaving the Nationals two games over .500 for the first time in more than a week.

Hitting highlight: Once again, just when it looked like he was going to have a nothing day, Tyler Moore suddenly made it all seem worthwhile. Yesterday, he struck out twice with the bases loadedRead more »

  1. Nats106 - May 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    That's how a season starts a turnaround. A split here, win an away series there. Win a game that looked bleak the first inning.I think I saw Manassas wearing a Caps Jersey….Good game.

  2. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Maybe the TIgers will just wear themselves out against the Stros. It's 5-0 in the 2nd inning already.

  3. JaneB - May 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Yay yay yay. Take that, Blue. SO GLAD Espi had another good day.Day off on a win is a good thing. Who else untucked?

  4. MicheleS - May 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    WOOOOOO HOOOOOO! We now have a win on a Sunday

  5. peric - May 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks to the two Baby Nats who need to keep starting: Espinosa and T-Mo.With Anthony Rendon coming soon.

  6. Secret wasian man - May 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Oh yeah. Thinks are looking up. Off day tomorrow. Then Detroit comes in. You know one of those teams from that league that doesn't play real baseball. NATTTTTTTTS

  7. peric - May 5, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    But of course Natsjack probably still likes the washed up LaRoche better … he's in a decline and is the one who really stinks.

  8. David Proctor - May 5, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Best win of the year easily for me. It really looked like the wheels were gonna fall off and Gio rebounded amazingly and the bats performed. Love it.

  9. terpman33 - May 5, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Way to go Nats. It's still early, and I know that 7-8 game winning streak is coming. GYFNG!!!

  10. A DC Wonk - May 5, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Nats106 said… That's how a season starts a turnaround.Indeed. The road series started at 0-2, ends up 4-3 by winning 4 of the last five.

  11. A DC Wonk - May 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    BTW, was I not seeing things, or did Soriano not untuck?

  12. peric - May 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Bats. That's how it turned from .500 or slightly above to 98 wins. Bats and a synergistic lineup of them.

  13. David Proctor - May 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Soriano only untucks for a save, Wonk.

  14. sm13 - May 5, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    The team showed some character today. They fought back instead of rolling over. Go is a fighter. Don't know what Davey said yesterday, but he till has a magic touch.Go Nats!

  15. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Soriano has such great body language. So they hit a double? Next batter up, please. No change in his rhythm, nothing.

  16. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Today Hirshbeck was a disgrace, but Harper needs to learn to know when to just walk away.I was just thinking yesterday how much Bryce had grown in the last year.I think of what the primadonna Votto got away with a couple of weeks ago and I think …double standard for some guys? Not exactly, as Joey didn't confront the ump directly. Thrilled for Espy and Tyler. They both have gotten little respect lately by a lot of us, me included. Honestly many of our players have struggled mightily and have had the wrath of many here directed towards them. I have felt that it was only a matter of time before our team started gelling. Well, it has started. I'm sticking with my mantra…Relax! We got this!GYFNG!!!BTW, What a recovery by Gio today!

  17. baseballswami - May 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    So glad to see Gio recover so quickly. Bats seem to be hearing up. Bryce will tend to be a target, but probably needed the rest.

  18. UnkyD - May 5, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Harpo will love this, after the fact, and all…. Haren's gem was the turnaround moment, for me… Walking the pup, and smiling broadly, I DID make the observation…to myself….. ;-)GYFNGOGOGO!!!!!

  19. baseballswami - May 5, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    And Joe– I was thinking about Votto today– he threw great big tantrums with thrown equipment and major jawing. Same thing with the balking — no common standard. Too easy for an ump to make ejections selectively. If they don 't like the player, they toss him. Others get away with much more. But Bryce needs to realize that he will be a target.

  20. Nattering Nat - May 5, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Raise your hand if you thought a week ago the Nats would be only 2 games behind Atlanta as of today, the way the gears were not meshing. My hand is down.These past two games were classic Nats of last year. And Harper even needed the rest, not that this is a good way to get it. Now imagine the Nats are slowly getting their act together and play really good baseball the next few weeks. To infinity, and beyond, here we come. Why not get carried away–you can see the character of this team willing them to rise above their funk.

  21. Teddy Rochlis - May 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Something tells me he wanted the rest secretly, 2 off days for bryce and hopefully his ribs feel better

  22. peric - May 5, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Something tells me he wanted the rest secretly, 2 off days for bryce and hopefully his ribs feel betterOr Davey could use it as an excuse to keep him off the field a bit longer. Its hurting his offense. He probably needs a break.

  23. baseballswami - May 5, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Off the subject, but the Ray Knight and Jhonny Holiday show is getting tired and tiresome. Knight fawns over Davey, Holiday fawns over Knight. Knight is smug and right about everything. Starting to grate on my nerves. Love having a recap show with player interviews but have to DVR so I can be selective.

  24. baseballswami - May 5, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    And as for Bryce- he is young and has been in pain. I don 't care how great your pain tolerance is, hurting and not being able to do what you want because of it can make you pretty cranky. He may not even be comfortable sleeping. Not so far back he was sick and weak. So the kid got irritable. He needs a break. Hope folks are not too hard on him.

  25. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Folks here won't be hard on Bryce, but I don't want to hear the barbs he gets from outsiders.

  26. David Proctor - May 5, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    I don't at all think that Bryce wanted the day off, but I'm sure Davey was secretly thanking the umpire.

  27. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Like I said, everything is starting to gel as we hoped. Everybody has contributed in varying degrees in this turn around. Ryan had a couple of great plays yesterday to go with a couple of not so great throws today. Espy had a good day, and Tyler had a good ending to his with no small thanks to a generous call by the 1st base ump on his check swing on what would've been a K before the HR. ALR has given every indication that he has turned the corner from his opening season slump.Ramos looks pretty formidable at #8. Clip and Storen both look better every outing, and Soriano is looking like a brilliant Rizzo move.Span is doing his job beautifully, just need the other guys to keep the line moving behind him.Desi has been looking more and more like 2012 Ian, and lastly, Bernadina has also contributed! I wish everybody would stop going after each other with the vile. Disagree about strategy, or who should or shouldn't be here. That's healthy baseball discussion. Going after each other with name calling, and repeating the same statements really reduces the quality of what is over all a terrific blog. Carry on, as I'm sure we all will.

  28. Rabbit34 - May 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Glad to see Bryce ejected. Now he's got both boots on the ground. But, you notice I'm saying that after a win with the game won!

  29. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Yeah, he wasn't missed. Hopefully, he noticed that. He's great, maybe Hall-of-Fame great eventually, but games can be won without him.

  30. Knoxville Nat - May 5, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Swami,In regards to the post game show I'm with you all the way. I was tired of Johnny Holiday several years ago and have never cared for Knight, not as an analyst anyway. That show, and their pre-game show needs fresh blood!

  31. NatsJack in Florida - May 5, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I would like to know exactly how many people on this site think Adam LaRoche is washed up?

  32. ehay2k - May 5, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I really feel this was a huge game for the Nats. When they focus, they play well. Bryce's ejection focused everyone. Gio didn't melt down, which is huge. I hope Stras is taking notice of the cool and calm demeanors displayed by other pitchers. He really should spend time with Soriano, who must have Livo's ice-blood in his veins.Happy for Espi and TyMo, but both need to keep it up. ALR is starting to catch fire, which if history serves as a guide means he is in for a wicked hitting streak. I can't wait.

  33. ehay2k - May 5, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    NatsJack, I am pretty sure ALR washes up after every game. But he can still play.

  34. Eric - May 5, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    "I would like to know exactly how many people on this site think Adam LaRoche is washed up?"Not I. Not even a little bit.

  35. MicheleS - May 5, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Jack.. didn't know if you saw this:John R. Finger‏@jrfingerCSNHalladay did not tell anyone with the Phillies about his injured shoulder until today.He is hurt. Sad, and it's a shoulder

  36. sm13 - May 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    LaRoche looks like he's putting April behind him, offensively and defensively. He's still got time to flirt with 30 hr and 100 FBI. And, to save Ryan and Ian a dozen or more errors.

  37. NatsJack in Florida - May 5, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Yes… I saw that Michele. Too bad as Halladay is one of those real competitors you like to your team battle.

  38. NatsJack in Florida - May 5, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    see your team battle.

  39. Candide - May 5, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Cunegonde and I listened on Sirius driving back from NY. We both wondered what it was that McCatty said to him in the 1st inning that made him turn it around so suddenly.Pirates' announcers are awful. No info on what pitch was just thrown, just whether it was a ball or a strike, nothing about fielders' positioning. They even got the score wrong, TWICE. Last time I ever want to hear anyone complain about Charlie and Dave.

  40. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 5, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    After the thirf, we moved dow to Hershbech and rode him the rest of the. GameTrewitt game us thumbs up several times.

  41. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    On the ALR question put forth by Jack, at the risk of catching it from people in disagreement, I still agree with what Davey said during the off season, in that re-signing Adam was the most important move that the front office had to do. And I don't think that he is quite to the point of being washed up, not by a long shot. He still seems to be a little " not quite right" to my eye, but less and less so every day. Plus, like any player in a slump, he was pressing. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his own skin now.I really think the cold weather has been a factor, but that's only my own speculation. The older I get the harder it is for me to work outside in cold weather!

  42. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    That is really sad about Halladay. Everyone thought he was injured when his velo was down in spring training. He tried to find his way around it, but when you give up that many runs to the Fish…

  43. MicheleS - May 5, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Good going Manassas!!! Did the Zim jersey make it to the game?

  44. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 5, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Yes once at third to ride Hershbeck made sure zun saw it. Scored 2 more today.

  45. NatsLady - May 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Cards are the first team to 20 wins. I hate that we helped them get there.

  46. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    well before Wednesday's game I predicted 6-0 in first ,6 games in May, dut 4-1 not bad.

  47. MicheleS - May 5, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    You keep it up Manassas!!!

  48. mick - May 5, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Hirschbeck, you are bum with a capital B, you are full of your self and nobody comes to a major league game to watch you make an ass your yourself. what are the odds that 2 of the biggest asshole umps could in the same ball park?

  49. sjm308 - May 5, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Nats jack – LaRoche will be just fine. Why are you asking?

  50. sjm308 - May 5, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Manassas – hope your trip home is a smooth one.Did someone on hear ask about SanDiego. I have recommendations

  51. baseballswami - May 5, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Not one, but a couple of new posts.

  52. rdexposfan - May 6, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    LaRoche is not washed up just a slow start. We got spoiled last year with his fast start.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

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NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
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