Sox sink Nats for second straight night

Starting pitcher Craig Stammen was perfect through three innings and the Nationals out hit the Red Sox and still fell to them last night, 6-4, in front of 41,530 fans. Once again, the Nationals broke their own attendance record, set the previous night, but the home crowd wasn’t enough to rally the team. Stammen gave up home runs to David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, scoring five of the Sox six runs.bard.jpg

“When you play against a team in that category, you have to play perfect baseball,” said Manager Manny Acta. “And today, one pitch basically cost us the game.”

A scary moment happened early in the game. On a broken bat grounder by Elijah Dukes in the second inning, both the ball and the splintered bat flew at Sox shortstop Nick Green. Green avoided getting hit by the bat but missed the ball, giving Dukes a hit. The bat finally landed stuck upright in the ground.

Late in the game, the Nationals tried to rally back by scoring runs in the 6th and 7th innings off of a single by Josh Willingham and a triple by Cristian Guzman. In the eighth inning Adam Dunn, who started the game on the bench due to a sore wrist, pinch hit with a runner on first and two outs. He drew a walk, bringing the winning run to the plate in the form of Ronnie Belliard who struck out swinging. This was the closest the Nationals would come as Jonathan Papelbon mowed down the side in order for his 17th save of the season.

Some notes about tonight’s game:

Jordan Zimmermann faces off against pitching great John Smoltz in his first start for Boston. When John Smoltz debuted on July 23, 1988, Zimmermann was only two years old. Zimmermann also went up against another future Hall of Fame pitcher this season: Randy Johnson in his 300th win.

With a home run last night, David Ortiz is now tied with Adam Dunn with 296 career home runs. Dunn has an advantage over Ortiz, as he averages 13.9 at bats per home run while Ortiz is at 16.43 at bats per home run. Dunn hit his last home run on June 17th against the New York Yankees.

In other Nationals news:

– Last night, the Nationals welcomed their 10 millionth fan

Nats recall RHP Tyler Clippard at the expense of Kip Wells

Willie Harris is looking forward to facing former teammate John Smoltz 

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