Aug 21, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Throughout the Nationals’ recent winning streak, they have found a variety of ways to win. Some have been pretty, some have been ugly.
On a soggy Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park, the Nats perhaps got their ugliest win yet in what is now a 10-game winning streak, tying a team record.
Now, make no mistake, the ending was not ugly. The Nationals won on a walk-off for the fifth time in six games. It was the eight previous innings that were a sight for sore eyes.
Starters Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley did not have their best days, but each escaped jam after jam to leave men on base. The Nationals were walked six (!) times by Miley alone, yet couldn’t cash in on much of anything all day.
The Nats finally broke through with a run on a throwing error. Denard Span got on with a single in the bottom of the ninth and reached second on his 27th stolen base of the year. That’s a new career-high.
The run happened thanks to a throwing error by D-Backs third baseman Jordan Pacheco on an Anthony Rendon groundball. He bounced a throw to first that got by Mark Trumbo, allowing Span to come all the way around from second.
Ten straight wins and five walk-offs in their last six. No team has done that since the 1986 Houston Astros, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That is just incredible.
HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals had no problem getting on base in Thursday’s loss, it was what happened next that gave them trouble. Six times they led off innings with baserunners. They finished with nine hits and six walks, but just one run on a throwing error. The Nats went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Gio has been through some uncharacteristic ups and downs this season and he wasn’t completely sharp on Thursday. But though he wasn’t crisp, Gonzalez battled through countless jams to go seven scoreless innings, his best start in almost two months.
Gonzalez began the second inning with two men on and no outs. In the fifth he saw the bases load with help from a fielding error by Bryce Harper. Both times he escaped.
Gonzalez allowed seven baserunners on four hits and three walks, but no runs. He was pinch-hit for in a scoreless game to begin the bottom of the eighth. Gio’s season ERA now sits at 3.83 on the year, down from 4.06 when the day started.
KEY STAT(S): Matt Thornton has now retired 18 of the 21 batters he’s faced since joining the Nationals through waivers on Aug. 5… The Nationals’ rotation has only allowed 10 earned runs in their last 10 games.
UP NEXT: The Nationals continue their homsetand with a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants. Doug Fister (12-3, 2.20) and longtime tormenter of the Nationals, Tim Hudson (8-9, 3.03), will get us started in Game 1. First pitch is Friday night at 7:05 p.m.
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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