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Instant analysis: Nats 5, Brewers 4

Jul 20, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

AP AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With a chance to pick up yet another series victory, the Nationals turned to Gio Gonzalez, who had been dominant over the last few weeks. But when Gonzalez struggled to even get through the fourth inning, Matt Williams instead turned to his bullpen to pull this one off.

Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard combined to toss 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, making Gonzalez’s ragged start a non-issue. And when their teammates rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead, Stammen found himself in line to earn the win and the rest of the pen found itself in position to close out the series.

Soriano, though, couldn’t hold a 4-3 lead in the ninth, serving up an RBI single to Rickie Weeks that tied the game, his third blown save in 25 tries. That put the onus back on the Nationals lineup, which came through one final time when it really mattered. Jayson Werth doubled into the left-field corner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and third base coach Bob Henley smartly waved Anthony Rendon around to bring home the winning run.

And so the Nats took two of three from Milwaukee. They’ve now either won or split eight of their last nine series, and the one loss they took could turn into a split if they beat the Orioles in their Aug. 4 makeup game.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals took the lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks both to power and heads-up baserunning. Trailing 3-1 when the inning began, they got a 2-run homer from Ryan Zimmerman, who continued his recent penchant for driving the ball to the opposite field, sending this shot over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center. A couple of surprising figures then gave them the lead. Jose Lobaton doubled off the wall, then took third when Stammen beat out a dribbler to the shortstop. Moments later, Lobaton scurried home on a wild pitch, giving the Nationals the lead and energizing the crowd of 36,373.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: This space is usually reserved for starting pitchers, but let’s give some undue love to a member of the bullpen today. After Gonzalez labored his way through 3 1/3 innings, Stammen was summoned to clean up the mess and wound up doing a remarkable job. He retired all eight batters he faced, two via strikeout. Stammen remains the guy who will do whatever is asked of him, whether it’s 2 2/3 innings of long relief after a starter got knocked out early, one key inning late in a game or as many extra innings are needed late. He has taken a few losses this season under those circumstances, but today he was exactly what the Nationals needed, bridging the gap between an ineffective starter and the back end of their bullpen.

KEY STAT: Nationals pinch-hitters are now 0 for their last 18 and 1 for their last 30.

UP NEXT: The Nationals embark on a 9-game, 3-city road trip, beginning Monday night at Colorado. It’ll be Doug Fister (8-2, 2.90) on the mound against Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales (5-4, 5.26) at 8:40 p.m. EDT.

  1. micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Our Mr October does it again!!!!

  2. micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    even if the cut off man was hit, Rendon would have scored, excellent speed!

    • secretwasianman - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Mick when are we gonna hook up at a game? I’m going to Os makeup. Maybe sooner. Ah wooooooooo

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        definitely this season!!!

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        O’s make up I am on vacation that week, giving my ticket to my friend

  3. secretwasianman - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Ah whoooooooooo werewolves of lLondon. I saw werewolf hit a double down the line. His hair was (Well, not perfect). Ah wooooooooooo

    • stoatva - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      He ripped their lungs out, Jim.

  4. stoatva - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Dead threaded, but that was definitely one of the most enjoyable game threads I’ve participated in. Positive but not Pollyannish.

    • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      agreed, you can be yourself once in a while

      CO is 4-58, ned to win that series

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        40-58 I meant

      • secretwasianman - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:53 PM

        4–58 is Hairstons pinch hit numbers

  5. micksback1 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    10 over 500 first time this season

  6. David Proctor - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    We currently have the best record in the NL.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    What.
    A.
    Game.

    And cherry on top — I got 2 d span bobble heads… oh yeah… now if only the train can come.. :-)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      You saw an exciting game! #Spanning

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Yeah, that was my 4th or 5th Nats… I’m 3-2 in games… Going to the Jayson Werth gnome game too… Never really wanted any of the bobble heads… This is the first one I got and am keeping.. All the others I either gave to people who wanted them or to charity….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        Way to go MrsB

  8. stoatva - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    When they do the Matt Williams bobblehead it should say “That’s baseball, dude” on the base.

  9. BurnedOnce - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    I think the correct term is “overdue” not “undue.” Overdue for the unsung.

  10. David Proctor - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Tom @Haudricourt · 6m
    No, #Brewers manager Ron Roenicke did not call for double steal in ninth. And he was plenty steamed that trail runner got thrown out.

    Was a big play in the game

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Wow… Batters decisions? Interesting… As soon as I saw it I was like, uhm – why?

    • stoatva - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      So only the steal of third was ” authorized?” Wow.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    I heard Souza was scratched from the line up tonight… Hope he is on his way up here and Scott Hairston is gone… Tired of this pathetic bench…

    They need a jolt and Souza can actually play OF…

    • stoatva - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      I hope they didn’t trade him.

    • adcwonk - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Of course, whether a guy who had 8 plate appearances lifetime in MLB can be a decent pinch hitter is still a question . . .

      Should he start?

      Problem is: for whom?

      Harper seems to be starting to break out of the slump, and needs AB’s to keep doing do.
      Span has been batting .340 for July, OBP of .347
      Werth has been batting .383 in July, SLG of .936
      (the above stats don’t count today)

      So: Souza to the bench as a PH?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        Of course he shouldn’t start… He should PH, thought I was clear enough when I said my original comment that I was tired of this pathetic bench…

        Bt if you want to keep the current status quo that is so effectively and clearly working, then by all means…you continue to support that.

        Me, personally, I’m tired of this pathetic bench. Dfa Hairston and bring Souza up…

      • adcwonk - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        Bt if you want to keep the current status quo that is so effectively and clearly working

        I didn’t say that! Sheesh. I wasn’t being argumentative, and I wasn’t even disagreeing.

        All I’m doing is stating the obvious: that it’s a question whether Souza will be able to PH. That’s all.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        The idea that a guy who plays every day in the minors can be a decent pinch hitter is, most of the time, wishful thinking. Remember Tyler Moore? Hit great when he was a starter; was a disaster off the bench.

  12. secretwasianman - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Wow those Oakland uniforms are ugly. Nice throw Mochado. Big baby.

  13. davecydell - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Somebody tell me why the Nats cannot do this:
    The Nats send down and bring up pitchers from Cuse, why not hitters?
    The guys that come up have seen action and the guys that go down can work on timing and such?

  14. Joe Seamhead - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Just home from the game. Breezed through the blogs.
    Just wanted to say a couple of things:

    First, the unsung hero of the game that has gotten little or no mention is Craig Stammen, and not just for his pitching, which was great. In the bottom of the 4th ALR walked and Ryan Zimmerman hit the 2 run homer.
    Then Harper struck out and Desi flied out.
    Then the Loboton got a 2 out double.
    Then, and this was key, Stammen beat out an infield hit sending Lobo to 3rd.
    Then Lobo scored on the wild pitch to put the Nats up 4-3.

    Totally unrelated, but in spring 2013 we were sitting with NatsJack at spring training and Jack mentioned the Werewolves of London would be a perfect walk up song for Jayson Werth. Later that day my wife and I had the opportunity to talk to Werth and mentioned how cool it would be to hear the crowd yelling AaaHoo!!! with the Warren Zevon song, and he smiled and said, “Wow! I Like it!” On Opening Day 2013 he used it for his 3rd AB walkup and we about died! Now every time we hear it we get a kick out of it.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 20, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      I love that Werth story–think of it every time I’m at the park. He obviously has a great sense of humor (see, Gnome hat at Fan Fest, messing with the Phillie Phan, standing in right field at Spring Training clapping along with the fans to “if you’re happy & you know it,” etc.)

      • Section 222 - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:31 PM

        Let’s not forget trying to interfere with the Prez race in 2012 to let Teddy win!

    • Sonny G 10 - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:21 PM

      Good story, Joe. I was unaware that happened.

  15. natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Plus, did you see the guy gunning down the line to first? Dude…

    “This space is usually reserved for starting pitchers, but let’s give some undue love to a member of the bullpen today. After Gonzalez labored his way through 3 1/3 innings, Stammen was summoned to clean up the mess and wound up doing a remarkable job. He retired all eight batters he faced, two via strikeout.”

  16. natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Oh, wait. Joe already had the Stammen basepath bit covered. Hadn’t read any posts or comments as I was also at the game and just finished a late dinner.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      That was the fastest that I ever saw Craig motor!

  17. letswin3 - Jul 20, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    And how bout Mr. Sneaky Fast scoring from first on Werth’s fine contribution in the bottom of the 9th. I’ve taken notice of his speed several times this season when he beat out infield tappers too. First it was his “sneaky power” that got my attention, and now it’s his “sneaky speed”. And then he makes that incredible defensive play to save a run and get the out at first too. We are going to enjoy the next few seasons watching him play.

    • scmargenau - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Next15 I hope

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