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Instant Analysis: Nats 1, Diamondbacks 0

Aug 21, 2014, 7:02 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

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.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Holy smokes

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Shutout. 1-0

  3. Danny - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Should give Rendon a hit on that. Looked like he was going to beat the throw.

    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      absolutely — they didn’t ?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        They didn’t. Screwed him twice in a week. I’ve been checking for a scoring change on his FC vs Pittsburgh with no RBI. Still not changed. This has to be a hit with an error and no RBI.

  4. David Proctor - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Span is the man. He gets a hit against a tough lefty and then steals an important base. FP often says it, but there’s a difference between stealing to steal and stealing when you NEED to get to second and everyone in the ballpark knows you’re going. Span did the latter.

    Gio was great, too. I’m not ready to declare him “back”, but I am encouraged, especially by the curveball.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Wow. Just ‘wow’.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Soriano gets another Win.

  7. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    I think he would have clearly been safe. Unless they change it — the Nats end up with 0-13 with RISP. And still a win.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      Hard to believe.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Between this game and the earlier Tigers-Rays game, some impressive pitching (or unimpressive hitting, depending on your point of view).

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Hope the Braves were watching.

    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      + 7. And a half 😉

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        Although at this point it doesn’t seem to have affected them (they’re up 3-0 with men on base).

  9. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    OK, so, I was talking to the family (we were all sitting round the TV) about how the game could end, and then mentioned a couple of weird endings (e.g., a balk).

    But. OK. This kind of ending we never contemplated!

    Just. Wow.

    The Nats win 5 of 6 in walk-offs. And I was at the one game that wasn’t! (But I’ll still take the win).

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    “Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN
    10 in a row. 5 of the last 6 on walk-offs. Somebody get Matt Williams a bat and a pillow that’ll fit under his jersey” I

    I hope he does it with a old Yankes flannel. I think he’s putting off the Bambino trot.

  11. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    So am I inferring correctly that the start of the suspended/appealed Giants-Cubs game was delayed several hours (for weather, I guess)? And that it’s just now getting restarted? And then the Giants have to play another one?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Delayed 2 hours then the next game starts after this one ends.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        Too bad Nats didn’t have a day game scheduled for tomorrow.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        Ha, yeah.

  12. coollikelivo - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    great, wear them out…

  13. veejh - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    If we go 18-18 the rest of the way, the Barves need to go 26-10 to tie. Put a bow on this season

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      Total BULLSH-T. Don’t even go there. Not worth getting cocky.

      • veejh - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        Please. Seen our schedule? I’m already booking my flight back to DC for the playoffs.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        I’m heading tomorrow!

      • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        Seven-game leads can go away in a hurry. I’m not cracking champagne yet. But, I am buying a bottle and getting it chilled.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Me too. Get the lead to 10 1/2

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      What DON’T we do? Tempt fate.

      • coop202 - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:36 AM

        Please don’t tempt fate…

    • Candide - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      The 1951 Giants trailed the Dodgers by 13 games on August 11.

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Gordon Beckham traded for PTBNL to the Angels. He was probably #7 or #8 on Rizzo’s list. Do you remember when he was a Top Prospect and Rizzo wanted him in the original EJax trade from the White Sox.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      And if I’m not mistaken his career numbers have kind of nosed dived since that time haven’t they? Not real sure about that but off the top of my head that’s what I’m thinking.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Denard Span has been doing so many things well the past couple of months, but that hit and steal in the 9th were just key today.

    BTW, nobody else has said it so here goes:



  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Wade Miley pitching in Nats Park has given up only 3 earned runs over 3 starts in 19 2/3 innings. Small sample size, sure, but he’s an amazing road pitcher and needs a better home park to pitch in.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      I thought Arizona was a pitcher friendly park. I think he needs a better team to play for.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Talk about hard luck? David Price pitches a complete game, gives up one hit, no walks, 9 K’s, and loses 1-0 on an unearned run.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Retired something like the last 23 batters in a row.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:17 PM

      So how’s this Detroit-Oakland ALCS shaping up? LOL

      Amazing how lineups scuffle after big changes. RZ went down and the Nats seemed to be in “Lost” mode. They sure turned it around after Cabrera showed up. Ballplayers are adaptive by nature. Oakland and Detroit have time to completely get it together. We’ll have to see if they actually gel.

      • mauimo22 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        Again with Kudos to GM Rizzo for a nice addition. Now let’s sign him to an extension and trade Espi before next year. Stand stand another K-Fest with him next year!

      • mauimo22 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        *Can’t Stand (my bad).

  18. Andrew Wallace - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Nats are lead story on sportscenter!!!!! Unreal

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      Why does anyone watch Sports Center?

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    What a wild, fantastic ride…. I mean I think everyone knew Span was gonna steal… And then came the epic ending… What a run of GOOD BASEBALL we’ve seen…

    Desi’s bobble head will join my Garden Gnome and my Span Bobblehead…

    10 games… When is MW doing his base Ruth impression?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      Call me overly superstitious, but I think he should wait until the streak is over to do the Babe Ruth trot. Otherwise you jinx the streak.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        Agreed with Matt the time also has to be appropriate.

  20. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    And NatGio was absolutely marvelous today…thought I saw the curve a couple times too… Kudos NatGio… Kudos… Pitching was definitely on point…

    Also, the hop, skip, jump seems to be new for Sori… I don’t think I’ve seen it before, besides last night.. He looked happier and I stood and applauded him for another FABULOUS inning…

    I was fortunate enough to sit with Wilson Ramos family… Cool peoples, they were showing pictures of his daughter… Such a sweety pie…

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      That’s pretty cool, Mrsb.

    • letswin3 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:08 PM

      Have her horns started yet? ….. cute little buffalo.

  21. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Any question that the play to end it should not be changed to a hit? I agree with Steve M that it should be a hit, and an error, and no RBI.

  22. David Proctor - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 23s
    Denard Span said when he singled in the 9th, Mark Trumbo turned to him on first base. “Just how you guys like it,” Trumbo said.

  23. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Thank you Nats for stomping on the necks of that crappy, dirty team and their crappy manager. This one’s for you Andrew McCutcheon.

  24. Danny - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    This guy pitching for the Reds is terrible

    • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      Yes he is. That is one empty ball park. Weather may have had something to do with it. Knowledge of that pitcher and the Reds’ losing streak contributing, no doubt.

  25. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Braves-Reds game is on MLB Network. Braves already lead 4-0 in the 3rd inning and they still have two on and none out. Looks like we may be stuck at 7 games up, though they are playing at Great American Homerun Derby Park.

    • David Proctor - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Just chop another day off the schedule and reduce the magic number by one

      • veejh - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        The irony here is classic.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      I guess the Braves are there for four. It’s a little park which suits their style, Homer/Strike out. They are 3-0 against the Reds and we are 3-3.

      Interesting thing about the Braves to me is how they struggle with the Mets. Nats have a 10-2 record against he me Mets and ATL has a 7-6 record. Watch them scuff up the floor with the Mets after this weekend at Cincinnati.

      Braves have the time to make it a race. But, they don’t have the pitching to do so.

  26. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Ok, this is from MLB Now today, and it blew my mind. The Nats’ pitchers’ cumulative FIP (fielding independent pitching) if it holds up to the end of the year will be the third best in MLB history. Yes, in history:

    1988 Mets — 2.86
    1988 Dodgers — 3.12
    2014 Nats — 3.16 (through 125 games).
    1990 Mets — 3.17
    1989 Royals — 3.18.


    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Whoa is right. That’s incredibly incredible.

      Great pitching and decent hitting will get you very far.

  27. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    EJax going on the DL… I always liked him… Feel for him…. Come on Reds, make this an epic come back….

  28. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong:

    Over the last *ten* games, Nats starters have allowed 11 runs. Is that right?

  29. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Are you right to be confident about the Nats going to the playoffs? Absolutely. Fangraphs now projecting us for 93 wins, best in NL.

    Some people are superstitious. They don’t get to tell those of us who aren’t what to think.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      This comment was directed to veejh.

    • veejh - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      The numbers are the numbers…pretty good sample size at .579 winning %. I low balled the rest of the season at .500. Pretty sure with this team, our current trend continues, especially w the remaining schedule. To be called a moron for stating simple math, is, well, moronic in itself, no?

      • veejh - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        Division is ours. Wooooooooo!!!!

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        Seemed to be somewhat of a trend in someone’s demeanor today.

  30. DaveB - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    So given the history of Nats 10 game win streaks, I keep listening for MW to demand a meeting with Rizzo about a contract extension and quit the team when he doesn’t get it. Hmmm … maybe not.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Well played Sir!

  31. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Just got home WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! 10 in a row! and got to see Candide on the way out!! Keep the line moving boys!

    • Candide - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      …and got to see Candide on the way out!!

      The high point of the evening for both of us! 😉

      Plus I ran into Steady Eddie before the game at the picnic tables. We went looking for 222 in 308, but he was nowhere to be found.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        Sorry to have missed you. I hadn’t realized there were so many tables there now. I walked around the tables area for a bit but didn’t see anyone I recognized or who seemed to be looking for stray fans.

      • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        Wasn’t there today, but will be there tomorrow in 308, and on Sunday in 310, and noted that in NIDO+. I see you’ll be at both games. I probably won’t make it to the picnic tables on Friday, but should be there Sunday.


      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        I wander around the tables asking people if they know where the Sofa is. I always get blank stares. Well, even blanker than usual.

  32. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Just got home as well. How awesome to be there when they clinched the Babe Ruth impression! I can tell my grandkids about it. Oh, wait. I don’t have grandkids. Well, I’ll tell my husband about it. And my cat. And anybody else who will listen to me. So when is the big reveal? btw, good work Gio, and Thornton, and Sori, and Denard. And camera well. I think that about covers it.

    • npb99 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      “clinched the Babe Ruth impression” love it!

  33. sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    Well, count me as the 3rd one home!!

    How sweet this is – got 3 bobbleheads for my two tickets so both grandkids should be happy!!

    Not worried about others getting happy/cocky/excited about the playoffs because I think its pretty much going to happen, but I will stay just a little cautious and keep this old red hat on for one more day. I have worn it so much that the others in the collection are starting to gather dust and they also are getting just a tad jealous.

    I posted earlier that I was hoping for the Giants to lose both games and they lost the first and had a huge rain delay as well. I figure they will be coming into DC around 2 or 3 in the morning! Doubt if they take batting practice and I can only hope their bullpen is shot and their confidence is low.

    I am pretty sure we don’t play walkup music for visitors and I honestly hope the Morse song will not be heard during this series. This team is on its way to something special and I don’t need to think about or look back at what was.

    Go Nats!!

    • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      Did they play The House Is Rockin? I like that one a lot. When I was there Tuesday they were asking for suggestions for the September 7th inning stretch song.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        They had some kind of sound system fail after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and there wasn’t a follow-up stretch song.

    • sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      This is silly, but when they play take me out to the ballgame – I sing, root root root for the “Home” team. Hard to break from my traditional habits. Have a few in 308 who have started to join me, including my son. We love the Nationals but I stay true to the original lyrics. I know, silly.

      NL – they have played that song several times lately – I honestly don’t have a favorite but I do like Motown Mondays.

      Tomorrow I will make sure my phone is fully charged as I am at Wolf Trap for Lyle Lovett. I will be the old man with the ratty looking red hat that has been on my head for TEN STRAIGHT WINS!!!

      Go Nats!!

      • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:01 PM

        I sing “Root, root, root for the Na-tionals”, but I also sing “I don’t care if I ever get back,” which is how I learned it, instead of “I don’t care if I never get back.” According to that guy who visited all 30 parks in 30 days, 16 use “never” and 14 use “ever.”

        Disagree on Morse and Take on Me. I think it would be great if they welcome him with that walkup song, or if we sing it in the 7th. Neither will mess with the Nats’ mojo, believe me. We’re locked in.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Yes, but do you sing “take me out with the crowd”?

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        That very nearly went out as “take me out with the crows”

      • scmargenau - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:23 AM

        I love u sjm. Share the bible heads! My son has zero! Despite 4 attempts! (He’s 8)

      • scmargenau - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:24 AM

        Grr bobble. A word I pad is not down with

  34. Candide - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Someone needs to create a sign that says, “NIDO Drinks Owed Settlement Area” and post it on one of the 312/313 tables.

    BTW, a bunch of us in 312 were yelling right after the game, while Denard was being interviewed, “WE WANT MATT! WE WANT MATT! WE WANT MATT! WE WANT MATT! ” We figured we were there for the 10th straight win, we DESERVED the Babe home run trot.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      “NIDO Drinks Owed” is redundant.

      Maybe a “NIDO Community Alliance” sign?

    • scmargenau - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      I concur. But Your gf can’t drink iced tea and call that acceptable. #sheowesafireball

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Good call on the sign, and the chant.

  36. scmargenau - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    Ok. I’m calling BS

    Gio get men on but get out of it, and it’s not his best stuff? Really???? If Sori, (he’s gonna cost us) gets men on but retires the side for a win it’s a great save. Total malarky. You can’t have it both ways. Gio was brilliant. His pitching out of tough situations is to his credit not detriment. Shame on u mark.

    • scmargenau - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:18 AM

      Ok iPad auto spell sux. And no, I don’t have the patience to spell check


    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      Mark didn’t write the column.

  37. dgourds - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Chase, sorry for nitpicking, but a “sight for sore eyes” means it is beautiful.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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