A NatsTown Style Diary

Follow the live diary from Nationals Park during tonight’s game vs. the Red Sox.

4:56: We are coming to you live from beautiful Nationals Park. The center field gate just opened about 26 minutes ago. People were a lined up and ready to get an early view at batting practice. The left field seats are filling up and fans are doing everything they can to catch a home run ball.

5:05: Big Papi isn’t in the starting lineup tonight for the Red Sox but he is still all smiles. Sorry, there isn’t a DH in the NL. He is sharing a few laughs with Manager Manny Acta behind the cage.

5:21: The Play Station Pavilion is full of amateur drivers and singers. The drivers of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue® are still learning the difference between the gas and the brake pedal. There are two ladies singing “My Prerogative” by R&B singer Bobby Brown on the Sing Star stage. It goes without saying that they are being heckled by their friends.

5:32: The main concourse just opened. It is a wonderful night for a baseball game. The sun is out and there are a just a few clouds in the sky. They look like cumulonimbus, stratocumulus or nimbostratus clouds for those who are cloud junkies.

5:43: The crowd continues to grow at the Park. Half St. is full of fans walking down to the gate from the Navy Yard Station. People definitely got their Red on tonight.

5:50: The Red Loft Bar is the most popular place in the Park right now. There are a fair share of Red Sox fans wearing T-shirts disgracing the Yankees…”Jeter drinks wine coolers”… it didn’t specify what brand. Sorry Jeter fans.

5:53: Big Papi almost killed me with a home run during batting practice. I am at the Miller Lite Scoreboard walk about 1,000 feet away and the ball landed about 10 feet to my left. Ok, maybe I am not 1,000 feet away.

6:01: The field is nearly empty now. There are still a few Sox players taking BP. Teddy’s BBQ just opened on Friday and it seems to be a big hit. If you are feeling like a Bull Moose–Teddy Roosevelt style–test your appetite at Teddy’s. They have the Rough Rider. It is a Fred Flintstone-size rib. You will need two hands and an empty stomach to eat this scrumptious treat. The beans are unreal if you have room.

6:10: The Racing President himself Teddy Roosevelt made an appearance at the BBQ and family picnic area to mentally prepare for the race. He posed for a number of pictures with young Nats fans and even signed a few autographs.

6:25: The dunk tank is in full force. People wearing Phillies and Mets apparel have the luxury of getting dunked. The money raised benefits the Dream Foundation. A dad paid the $5 for three balls for his son. When the son missed on all three, the dad quickly handed the attendant $5 more dollars and dunked the person on three straight balls.

6:35: There are a number of aspiring Ryan Zimmerman’s at the Exxon Strike Zone.  I can’t even see the ball in the batter up! game. Right when I start to think how can anyone get a hit… a kid steps right in and hits a few line drives to center. Yeah, he is only 10. “Mom! This place is awesome.”

6:37: The same kid just put a David Ortiz jersey on over his Zimmerman T-shirt jersey. I am speechless.

6:48: The players are doing their last minute stretches. The grounds crew just completed watering the infield for the Nth time today. The field looks amazing. The seats are about half full right now. Half St. is still flooded with people leaving the Navy Yard.

6:51: I spotted a fan with a sign that reads: “I love my Dad.”

6:52: He looked at me and yelled, “I love my dad.” He then turned the sign over which said, “Where is my dad?”

7:01: LHP John Lannan makes the walk from the bullpen to the dugout with catcher Wil Nieves. Lannan has been lights out. He kept the Bronx Bombers bats at bay in his last outing. He pitched 8 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs. He has beaten the Yankees and Mets this season. A win tonight would be quite the feat.

7:06: First pitch: 89 mph fastball. Game time temp: gorgeous. Cloud update: a cirrostratus cloud has been spotted.

7:08: Kevin Youkilis was just booed. Well, not quite. They were saying “Yooouuuuuuuuuk.”

7:09: Being booed or youked got to Youkilis. He just grounded into a pitcher’s best friend, the 6-4-3 double play for a quick top of the first.

7:16: “This place is amazing,” said Mike Kefer, a Red Sox fan that made the four hour drive from Cape Bay to attened tonight’s game. He does the stadium tour with the Sox. This is one of his favorite stadiums.

7:19: Adam Dunn got it done. He hit a double to right to score Zimmerman. The Nats take the early 1-0 lead.

7:26: Jason Bay just hit the ball to the red seats at the Red Porch. Apparently, the fans were impressed with the catch by the fan. The crowd gave him a loud ovation. Game tied 1-1.

7:28: The Park is nearly full. You can see a few blue seats. There are still fans filing in from Half St.

7:36: A helicopter just flew by Nationals Park. Not typically a big deal but the team photographer is on board capturing the crowd at Nationals Park.

7:38: Three up, three down for the Nats in the bottom of the second. RHP Brad Penny now gets the joy of stepping in the batter’s box.

7:42: Penny grounded out to short. It took him six seconds to run to first. Don’t tell anyone.

7:50: Guzman just laid down a sweeeeeeet bunt!

7:54: Didn’t help much. Johnson grounded into a double play that was aided by some smokin’ defense from shortstop Nick Green.

8:01: A triple by the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury puts the Sox up 2-1. This is a quick game! We’re in the fourth and it’s been less than an hour! Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx things…

8:05: Lincoln won his 17th Presidents Race of the season. Teddy Roosevelt remains winless after attempting to race on a unicycle.

8:16: Penny just issued two straight walks. The bases are loaded for Willie Harris.

8:17: The Nats fan go crazy on Penny’s wild pitch on the first pitch to Harris. Zimmerman could have walked home. He jogged. Runners on second and third with the game tied 2-2.

8:18: Penny walked Harris on four pitches and loaded the bases for Anderson Hernandez.

8:21: Hernandez grounded into the everyday 3-2. Lannan struck out. The Nats left three on the bases but the game is tied after four.

8:28: J.D. Drew just struck out looking for the second time tonight.

8:31: The “Yoouuuuuuk” cheers returned. Youkilis laced the ball to left and Pedroia scored from second. That was his 41st RBI of the year.

8:35: Pitching Coach Steve McCatty made the trip to the mound. If I was a lip reader I would translate what he said for you but I am not. All signs indicate it was about pitching. Jason Varitek grounded into a fielder’s choice two pitches later and retired the Sox for the fifth.

8:46: Penny flied out to Johnson. He is 0-3 and just asked why do pitchers have to hit.

9:01: Willie Harris ripped a double down the right field line. Josh Bard scored all the way from first. The game is tied once again 3-3.

9:02: That’s it for Penny. Penny pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs, three walks and six hits.

9:05: It is a picture perfect night for baseball. There isn’t a cloud in sight. The sun just dipped below the horizon and it left an orange sky in its wake.

9:07: The world’s best grounds crew is raking the infield.

15 seconds later… they just finished. They define the word efficient.

9:09: Lannan just struck out Drew for the third time. Julian Tavarez relieved Lannan to face Youkilis. It was another quality start for Lannan but he will get the no-decision.

9:12: Youkilis reached on a throwing error by Zimmerman.

9:17: Bay hit a single to left and advanced to second on the throw. Youkilis was safe at third.

9:18: The bases are loaded. Mike Lowell reached first on an intentional walk.

9:19: A “Let’s Go Red Sox” cheer echoed throughout the park.

9:20: Varitek fouled a ball off down the left field line. The Nation though it was a grand slam. It wasn’t even close.

9:21: Varitek hit a sac-fly to left. It was an unearned run but still a run. The Sox take back the lead. It’s 4-3.

9:27: With the bases loaded, Harris unhooked the trailer and made a nice running catch in center. It was a game saving catch.

9:28: It never felt so good to stretch. “Take me out to the…” Screech is the world’s best conductor.  He led the capacity crowd in the baseball anthem.

9:31: It is official. Tonight is the largest crowd at Nationals Park–41,517. There aren’t many seats unoccupied and the concourses are filled with fans that bough standing room only tickets.

9:33: A fan just persuaded an usher that he had to go into the red seats at the Red Porch to get money from a friend.

9:34: He was unsuccessful in getting his money back.

9:44: Kip Wells relieved Ron Villone with one on in the top of the 8th. It is becoming a standard AL East baseball game… a lot of pitches, a lot of pitching changes and four hours long.

9:48: O Yes, the Yoouuuuuk chant rained throughout the park. It reminds me of the Leeeeeew Ford chant at the Metrodome during his prime in April of 2004.

9:49: There are dueling fan chants in left field. They are quite comical. The only problem is that there is only one word that can be printed… the.

9:52: Jesus Colome relieved Wells. The bases are loaded. Wells threw 14 pitches, just three for strikes. If you are keeping track at home, that is the third pitching change of the inning.

9:56: The count is 0-2 to Bay.

A few minutes later… Bay jumped all over a rising fastball for a two RBI single to left. Bay is 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs for the night.

10:05: A forgettable 8th finally ended. The Sox scored six runs on five hits. The Sox lead 10-3.

10:37: Red Sox win 11-3. Time of game 3 years, 31 weeks.

Post-game notes courtesy of the Nats PR staff…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS (20-48)

o   Lannan allowed three runs in 6.1 innings of work, recording his fourth straight quality start and team leading ninth overall…in his last 14 starts, Lannan is 4-4 with a 2.94 ERA (29 ER/88.2 IP).

o   Ryan Zimmerman snapped an 0-for-17 skid, going 2-for-3 with one walk and two runs scored. Zimmerman leads the club with 83 hits, 18 doubles and 46 runs scored.

o   Cristian Guzman has recorded six consecutive multi-hit games, going 14-for-30 (.466) with two doubles and four runs scored during the tear. Guzman leads the club with 26 multi-hit efforts, despite the fact that he has only played in 55 games (52 starts).

 

BOSTON RED SOX (43-27)

o   Including a solo home run in the second inning, Bay went 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored…his four hits match a career high for the ninth time…Bay leads the majors with 21 multi-RBI games…he leads the Sox in home runs (19), RBI (69) and walks (46).

o   Ellsbury went 4-for-4 with a career-high two triples, three RBI, one stolen base and one run scored. Ellsbury became the fourth player in Red Sox annals to reach the 30-steal plateau at least twice in his career.

o   Boston collected a season-high 17 hits and plated 10 runs or more for the 10th time in 2009.

 

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