Aug 27, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT
When the Nationals last appeared on South Capitol Street, they were trudging off the field following a heartbreaking loss to the Giants, in which Rafael Soriano blew a 2-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning. They then embarked on an eventful, 10-day road trip through Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City, one that produced a 6-4 record and leaves this team with a .500 record overall.
Tonight, the Nats return home to begin a 19-game stretch against the bottom three teams in the NL East: the Marlins, Mets and Phillies. If ever they’ve got a big run in them, now is the time to do it. The homestand begins with Ross Ohlendorf on the mound, primed to throw more than the 91 pitches he tossed in his first start back from the DL.
Davey Johnson has his regular lineup penciled in tonight, including Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond (all of whom have been dealing with nagging injuries). They’ll go up against right-hander Nate Eovaldi.
Updates to come, and apologies in advance if there are any technical glitches in our first game thread on the new blogging platform…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
RHP Ross Ohlendorf
LF Christian Yelich
2B Donovan Solano
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Logan Morrison
3B Ed Lucas
CF Justin Ruggiano
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
C Jeff Mathis
RHP Nate Eovaldi
HP Mike DiMuro
1B Scott Barry
2B Alfonso Marquez
3B Ted Barrett (cc)
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway as Ross Ohlendorf throws ball one to Christian Yelich. A sparse gathering here. We might well be looking at the smallest crowd of the season tonight.
7:11 p.m. — A 1-2-3 top of the first for Ohlendorf, though he needed 16 pitches to do it. He fell behind Yelich 3-0 before striking him out. He then got Donovan “Little Onion” Solano to fly out to right and the fearsome Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to end the inning.
7:27 p.m. — The Nats lineup woke up on the road, and it hasn’t gone back to sleep since returning home. They just pounced on Nate Eovaldi for two runs and three hits in the bottom of the first, getting singles from Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper (now on a 9-game hit streak) and Ian Desmond. Zimmerman scored on Jayson Werth’s RBI groundout, Harper scored on Desmond’s base hit up the middle. Just like that, it’s 2-0 Nats after one.
7:33 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning for Ohlendorf, who got some help from his defense in the top of the second. Denard Span took a great route on Ed Lucas’ line drive to right-center, making a tough play look easy. Zimmerman then made a sprawling, backhanded grab of Justin Ruggiano’s hard grounder to third and made an accurate throw to first to end the inning. Six up, six down for Ohlendorf.
7:48 p.m. — Make it nine up, nine down for Ohlendorf, who has cruised through the Marlins lineup the first time around. Still 2-0 Nats.
7:57 p.m. — A base hit up the middle for Span, who now has a 10-game hitting streak. He’s raised his batting average up over the .270 mark.
8:10 p.m. — There goes the perfect game. Yelich led off the fourth with a single to right. The Marlins then loaded the bases with one out, with Ohlendorf intentionally walking Logan Morrison. But he battled through it and got out of the jam, striking out Ed Lucas and then getting Ruggiano to ground out to third. Still 2-0 Nats in the middle of the fourth.
8:20 p.m. — The Nats have had some chances since the first inning, but they haven’t converted again to this point. They just got a back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fourth, then stranded them both. Ramos grounded out to third, advancing the runners. The Marlins intentionally walked Rendon to load the bases for Ohlendorf, who probably did the best thing in striking out and at least avoiding a double play. But Span grounded to short to kill the rally, so it remains 2-0 Nats through four.
8:39 p.m. — Eovaldi has found his groove, having now tossed four scoreless innings since his shaky bottom of the first. Ohlendorf takes the mound for the top of the sixth, his pitch count at 74 as Tanner Roark warms in the bullpen. Still 2-0.
8:44 p.m. — And Ohlendorf opens the sixth by serving up a home run to Yelich, cutting the lead to 2-1. And just like that, Davey is out to the mound asking for the ball. In comes Roark. Wonder if something is going on with Ohlendorf. Why send him back out there for the sixth, only to yank him after one batter?
8:56 p.m. — Tanner Roark, ladies and gentlemen. He put himself in a jam, walking Stanton and Morrison with one out. But he fought back and struck out Lucas and Ruggiano to end the top of the sixth with a 2-1 lead intact. I’ll tell you what: This kid has been fearless since he arrived in the big leagues. A very impressive showing for the young right-hander, which has definitely turned some heads.
9:09 p.m. — A 1-2-3 top of the seventh for Drew Storen, who bounced back nicely from his abbreviated outing over the weekend in Kansas City. He protects a 2-1 lead as we reach the stretch.
9:20 p.m. — The Nats have put seven men on base since their 2-run first inning. And none have scored. They’re putting an awful lot of pressure on this struggling bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead. Tyler Clippard in now for the eighth.
9:26 p.m. — Wow, what an inning of dominance from Clippard, punctuated by a three-pitch strikeout of Stanton. It can’t be overstated just how good Tyler has been this season. Still 2-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth. Boy, would Davey like an insurance run or two before he hands the ball to Rafael Soriano.
9:35 p.m. — Here we go. It’s Soriano vs. Morrison, Lucas and Ruggiano with a 1-run lead. A friendly tip to everyone out there: Don’t forget to breathe.
9:42 p.m. — That’s it. Soriano gives up a 2-out single but then wraps it up. Nats win 2-1. They’re back over .500 and have won 12 of their last 17.
NL EAST STANDINGS
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