Results tagged ‘ Milwaukee Brewers ’

Highlights: 7.1.13

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7.1.13 – Nationals 10, Brewers 5

Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann matched his career high and the Major League lead with his 12th win of the season, also going 3-for-3 at the plate. The victory was Zimmermann’s 14th straight at home, setting a new franchise record.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Bryce Harper homered in his first at-bat after 31 games on the disabled list to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.

It Was Over When: Washington scored five times in the third en route to a second consecutive double-digit run total. In so doing, the Nationals matched a two-game franchise high by scoring 23 runs over their last two contests.

What to Watch for: 7.1.13

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Milwaukee Brewers (32-48) vs. Washington Nationals (41-40)

RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-7, 4.20) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (11-3, 2.28)

The Nationals return home following their largest offensive output of the season on Sunday, when they scored 13 runs to beat the Mets and take the road series in New York. Today, they get Bryce Harper back in the lineup after a 31-game absence, during which Washington went 15-16.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

BRYCE IS BACK

Bryce Harper was reinstated from the Disabled List today. With Harper in the starting lineup this season, Washington has played .581 ball (25-18). In four rehab contests (two with Double-A Harrisburg, two with Single-A Potomac) last week, Harper went 4-for-11 (.364) with three walks, a double, a triple, a homer, five runs scored and three RBI.

JUNE BOON

With three RBI in June’s finale at Citi Field, Ian Desmond set a Nationals (‘05-present) record for RBI in a single month with 28. Desmond bested the former mark of 27, set by Adam Dunn in May of 2009. With his ninth-inning blast, Desmond also established a Nationals (‘05-pres.) record for home runs in June with nine.

RECORD HIGHS

With their 13 runs on Sunday, the Nationals set a season high for scoring, easily besting their previous high of 10, set on April 15 at Miami. Every Nationals starting position player collected at least one hit and at least one RBI in the victory.

Top 12 of ‘12: #6 – Beast of a Comeback

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Top126Near the end of July, the Nationals entered the Sunday finale of a four-game set in Milwaukee looking to win the series and wrap up a 6-1 road trip before heading home to face the rival Phillies. Things looked up as Steve Lombardozzi blasted the fifth pitch of the game – a 3-1 fastball from Milwaukee starter Mark Rogers – into the seats for an early lead. But the Brewers responded with two runs of their own in the first and led 3-1 heading to the sixth inning. From there, they seemed to answer every Nationals rally. Washington scored once in the sixth and seventh, but Milwaukee answered with two runs in each frame to build a 7-3 advantage. The Nationals roared back with four in the top of the eighth to tie the game, only to watch the Brewers score twice to take a 9-7 lead entering the ninth.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Mark DeRosa drew a walk to bring Michael Morse to the plate as the tying run. Brewers closer John Axford quickly got ahead 0-2, but when he tried to sneak a fastball over the outside corner, Morse reached out and belted it the other way down the line in right, just clearing the wall inside the foul pole for a game-tying, two-run home run. Thanks to 2.1 hitless innings of relief from Craig Stammen, the contest remained knotted at 9-9 into the top of the 11th, when Bryce Harper walked and Ryan Zimmerman singled, bringing up Morse once more. “The Beast” fell behind in the count again before hooking a 1-2 breaking ball down the left field line into the corner, scoring Harper easily and Zimmerman on a slide just ahead of the relay throw from shallow left field, pushing Washington in front, 11-9. Tyler Clippard hung on for the save in the bottom of the frame and the Nationals escaped the biggest roller coaster ride of the 2012 campaign with another Curly W in the books.

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The Sun Monster

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“The Sun Monster got me.”

Those were Bryce Harper’s words after the natural conditions at Nationals Park colluded with the Milwaukee Brewers to defeat the Nationals 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. With the harsh, mid-afternoon sun bearing down on right and center fields in the middle innings of day games in D.C., any ball hit with a high enough trajectory to clear the top of the seating bowl in the eyes of the outfielders is susceptible to disappearing against the blinding backdrop.

The “Sun Monster” on Monday afternoon at Nats Park (from Twitter: @JackOBeam)

Harper and Jayson Werth took turns battling the brutal glare on Sunday (Sun-day?), mostly unsuccessfully. Harper lost a ball in the mid-afternoon glare that dropped for a double, with the Brewers scoring the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning. He later managed to fight off the sun just enough to make a catch on which he fell to his knees. Just when the Nationals may have thought they had weathered the worst of it, another would-be routine fly ball was hit straight into the sun’s path at Werth, again dropping as the outfielder had no chance to pick up the white ball against the blinding glare. Milwaukee would take advantage again, posting a three-run inning.

But the Sun Monster giveth, and the Sun Monster taketh away. That’s the lesson the Brewers learned on Monday along the banks of the Anacostia.

With the go-ahead run already in, leading 2-1 with two outs (again in the fourth inning), Werth lofted a fly ball out to right-center field. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez drifted over, but could not find the ball until it was nearly on top of him, diving futilely at the last moment as it clanked off his wrist and dropped to the turf. Two runs scored on the play, but it was after Harper followed with a walk that the Nationals took full advantage. Ryan Zimmerman belted an opposite-field, three-run shot, his 24th of the season, to cap a six-run frame on the way to a 12-2 blowout victory.

Werth acknowledged that the sun tends to be at its brightest this time of year, as well as in the earliest part of the season. We here at Curly W Live are certainly not astronomers, but we find it interesting that such a time would correspond roughly with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (the latter of which fell on Saturday), perhaps accounting for the sun being on a particular trajectory that ends up blasting right and center fields at these particular times of year. Regardless of the reason, it will be something to keep an eye on, or shade yourself from, as the Nationals face the prospect of either mid- or late-afternoon start times during the postseason.

What to Watch For: 9/24

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Milwaukee Brewers (79-73) vs. Washington Nationals (92-60)

RHP Marco Estrada (4-6, 3.56) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (11-8, 2.96)

The Nationals can earn a split of this series and secure a winning homestand with a victory over the Brewers this afternoon. Jordan Zimmerman, who has allowed just five earned runs total over his last three starts (2.50 ERA), looks to run his winning streak to three in a row against Milwaukee righty Marco Estrada.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

MORE GRAVY FOR DAVEY

With a postseason berth now assured, Davey Johnson will be escorting his sixth club (Mets in ‘86, ‘88; Reds in ‘95; Orioles in ‘96, ’97; Nationals in ‘12) into the postseason…it should be noted that Johnson’s ‘94 Reds were in first place in the NL Central upon the season being cancelled due to labor strife.

SOMETHING BREWING

The Nationals have not won a season series at the Brew Crew’s expense since going 5-1 in 2006, but can do so with a win in today’s series finale. Since Milwaukee shifted to the NL, the Nationals/Expos and Brewers have played in six ballparks: Nationals Park, RFK Memorial Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Miller Park, County Stadium and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.

TEENY BOPPER

19 year-old Bryce Harper’s 19 homers hit as a teen are tied for second on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott. Only a teenaged Tony Conigliaro (24) hit more. Harper turns 20 on October 16.

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What to Watch For: 9/23

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Milwaukee Brewers (78-73) vs. Washington Nationals (92-59)

RHP Yovani Gallardo (16-8, 3.68) vs. RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 6.92)

The Nationals pounded out 13 hits including three home runs in a 10-4 victory on Saturday to even this four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at a game apiece. Chien-Ming Wang makes his first start since June 19 as the Nats hope to solve Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo again, after hanging seven runs on the righty in five innings in Milwaukee back in July.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Wang RHP

START ME UP

Chien-Ming Wang makes his fifth start of the season (ninth appearance) for the Nationals today against the Brewers, a club which he has never faced. Opposing Wang is Yovani Gallardo, who comes to D.C. with a string of eight straight winning decisions since July 31.

HOMER HAPPY

The Nationals 179 home runs are the most hit by a team representing the Nation’s Capital (1901-71, 2005-present) and the most hit in the 44-year history of the Nationals/Expos franchise. Washington ranks second in the NL this season in homers, only MIL (188) has more.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 23, 2007: Austin Kearns finishes 3-for-4 with two RBI to lift the Nationals to a come-from-behind, 5-3 win over the Phillies in the 1,047th and final MLB game played at RFK Memorial Stadium. The win averted a four-game series sweep and gave the Nationals (122-121) a winning record in their three-year stay at RFK.

September 23, 2006: Nick Johnson fractures his right femur during a collision with right fielder Austin Kearns in the eighth inning of a 12-6 loss at New York. Johnson had successful surgery later that night.

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What to Watch For: 9/22

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Milwaukee Brewers (78-72) vs. Washington Nationals (91-59)

RHP Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95)

 The Nationals have split the first four contests of their current seven-game homestand, and are looking to bounce back after last night’s loss to the Brewers. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill for Washington as he attempts to become the first 20-game winner in Nationals history.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

VIEW FROM THE TOP

The Nationals own MLB’s best winning percentage at .607 thanks in part to a 42-25 (.627) mark since the All-Star break. Washington currently owns 0.5- and 2.0-game leads over the Reds and Rangers, respectively, in the race for the best record in MLB. The Nationals have either led the NL East or shared the top spot for 154 of the season’s 164 days. Only the Rangers (161) have enjoyed more days atop of their division in ‘12.

SEPTEMBER NORM

Washington is 11-8 in September and remains MLB’s only team to have played winning baseball every month this year: August (19-10), July (17-9), June (15-10), May (15-13), April (14-8). Including a 17-10 mark in September of ’11, Washington has posted six straight winning months.

D.C.’S DYNAMIC DUO

Thanks to DL stints, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse have started only 89 games together, but in those 89 games, Washington is 60-29 (.674) and is averaging 5.1 runs per contest (455 runs, 89 games). When Zimmerman and/or Morse are not in Davey Johnson’s starting lineup this season, the Nationals are 31-30 (.508) and averaging 3.5 runs per game.

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What to Watch For: 9/21

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Milwaukee Brewers (77-72) vs. Washington Nationals (91-58)

RHP Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.91) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.89)

The Nationals made franchise history Thursday night, becoming the first D.C.-based Major League team to qualify for postseason play since 1933. They open a four-game set with the Brewers – who are fighting for the final National League Wild Card spot – tonight at Nats Park, as Edwin Jackson takes the hill opposite Shaun Marcum.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Flores C

9. Jackson RHP

EDWIN SEEKS 10

Edwin Jackson takes his third shot at earning his 10th win season tonight vs. Milwaukee. If he notches the victory, he will become the fifth Nationals starter with a double-digit win total. For his career, Jackson is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts against the Brewers. 

THE NEXT MAGIC MOMENT

Having clinched a spot in MLB’s postseason on Thursday, the Nationals now turn their attention to winning the NL East. Washington’s Magic Number to clinch the division title is eight.

ABOUT THOSE BREWERS…

The Nationals have not won a season series at the Brew Crew’s expense since going 5-1 in 2006. Washington is 7-5 in one-run games against the Brewers beginning in 2005. Since Milwaukee shifted to the NL, the Nationals/Expos and Brewers have played in six ballparks: Nationals Park, RFK Memorial Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Miller Park, County Stadium and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico. Washington and Milwaukee are both former AL cities that have evolved into NL towns. The

Senators (AL East) and Brewers (AL West) were AL rivals in 1970 and ‘71. The Senators won the two-year AL series, 13-11.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 21, 2010: The Nationals plate seven runs in the eighth inning – all with two outs – to surge past the Astros, 8-4. In the victory, Tyler Clippard posted his 10th relief win and became the first relief pitcher in D.C. baseball history to record 100 strikeouts in a single season.

September 21, 1961: Playing before only 1,498 fans, the Senators lose, 6-3, to (coincidentally) the Twins, in the final game played at Griffith Stadium.

September 21, 1933: With a 2-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Browns, the AL Nationals claim their third American League Championship in 10 years (also 1924, and ’25). Unfortunately, no D.C.-based big league club has won a pennant since.

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This Is Happening

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It’s only appropriate, on this last day of summer, that we can officially begin to discuss postseason baseball in Washington D.C. no longer as a “likelihood” or a “probability,” but as a reality. That’s the thing about the baseball season – a hot start is great, like the one the Nationals stormed out to by winning 10 of their first 14 games, but in the scope of a six-month marathon, it means very little. All the excitement of holding down first place is fantastic fun, but it does not mean anything until this time of year. There are no cheaply won postseason spots in our sport, and only sustained success over the duration of the spring and summer will lead to those meaningful games in October that Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and everyone around the organization have been talking about since Spring Training.

Yes, the National League East remains undecided, with a combination of eight Nationals wins and/or Braves losses still needed to determine the division crown. Beyond that lie the fight for home field advantage through the various rounds of the playoffs. These Nationals have taken nothing for granted so far this season, and you can be sure they won’t start now. Nevertheless, one indelible fact remains: there will be postseason baseball in our Nation’s Capital for the first time in 79 years.

Michael Morse celebrated as Ryan Zimmerman raced home on a wild pitch.

“What’s the big deal?” an exuberant Johnson jokingly questioned of the press corps, as fans watching his post-game press conference in the adjoining Lexus Presidents Club cheered his arrival.

The Nationals almost clinched their postseason spot Wednesday night in dramatic, surprising fashion, coming from nowhere to overcome a six-run, eighth-inning deficit, only to fall to the Dodgers, 7-6 in the ninth. While that would have been a game for the ages, long remembered by those who stuck it out to the end, it would have supported the script that is often preached, but not necessarily accurate, about this year’s Washington club, that all of this sudden success is a surprise. In actuality, it is the culmination of years of building the right way, from the ground up, and simply watching the pieces come together at the Major League level all at once. In a sense, it was much more fitting that the history was made thanks to a well-pitched, well-defended game, trademarks of a team that Washington fans have fallen in love with this season.

Drew Storen gave the game and the fans their endearing moment to cherish, as he faced the daunting middle of the Dodgers lineup – Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez – holding a three-run lead in the ninth. The cushion would turn out to be more than enough. Storen painted a perfect, outside corner fastball to freeze Kemp, Wednesday night’s hero. He then handcuffed Gonzalez, the powerful lefty’s bat waving helplessly over a disappearing changeup. Finally, he blew away Nationals nemesis Hanley Ramirez – who owned a career .339 (147-for-433) mark with 27 home runs against the Nats coming into the at-bat – on a nasty slider to end it, pounding his mitt once and high-fiving catcher Kurt Suzuki in celebration.

Drew Storen struck out the side in the ninth to nail down the clinch.

“I didn’t even think about it until I saw it on the scoreboard afterwards,” said Storen of the clinching moment. “I was just having fun. The crowd was real into it. If you’re not out there having fun in that situation, you shouldn’t be out there.”

And though Storen provided the coup de gras, seemingly everyone chipped in. Ryan Zimmerman opened the scoring with a booming double to the left-center field gap, scoring Bryce Harper in the third inning. Danny Espinosa had an RBI-double of his own, and came in to score on a Suzuki sacrifice fly, the culmination of a hard-fought, professional at-bat. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth each had a pair of hits, with the shortstop stealing one bag and the outfielder swiping a pair. As it has been all year with this team, you never know who the hero will be, and there were many of them Thursday night.

Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, continued to impress, and continued to show why this team has a real chance to make a deep October run. With six nearly flawless innings, in which a solo home run and a pair of singles were the only bumps in an otherwise smooth road to his career-best 10th victory, he quieted the powerful Dodgers lineup to put the Nationals in position to clinch.

Zimmerman and Werth celebrate the historic night.

“It was great seeing all of them on their feet,” the lanky lefty said of the crowd. “It really gives you the chills a bit to see how into it all of them were.”

Detwiler has consistently gone about his business, and though he is sometimes overshadowed by his teammates, there is no hiding his 6-3 record and 2.76 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break. He also became the fourth Nationals starter to hit double-digits in wins on Thursday, with Edwin Jackson sitting on nine victories heading into his start tonight against Milwaukee.

Speaking of those pesky Brewers, they are suddenly hot, and have clawed their way back into the race for the second National League Wild Card spot. In fact, the final four series on the Nationals schedule – Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Philadelphia again – all bring teams fighting for every game, their postseason lives at stake. Each game will be its own challenge, as the Nats try to wrap up the division. Those battles begin again tonight. But for today, at least, allow yourself to soak in the reality.

This is happening.

What to Watch For: 8/8

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Washington Nationals (67-43) vs. Houston Astros (36-75)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34) vs. RHP Armando Galarraga (0-1, 5.23)

The Nationals and Astros played their second consecutive extra-inning game, and for the second time, Washington came away a winner. Michael Morse’s leadoff double in the 12th extended his hit streak to 16 games and led to the winning run, and Roger Bernadina’s highlight-reel catch saved the day in a 3-2 final.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Werth RF

7. Espinosa SS

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

BERNADINA SHARKS VICTORY FROM JAWS OF DEFEAT

Danny Espinosa homered and provided all three RBI required for Washington to edge Houston, 3-2, on Tuesday in 12 innings at Minute Maid Park. With the potential tying and winning runs on base and two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Bernadina dashed over 125 feet to make a jumping catch at the wall, denying Brett Wallace’s bid for a game-winning double. By improving to 10-6 in extra-inning contests (5-1 since the All-Star break), Washington jumped a season-high 24 games above .500. With 11- and 12-inning victories here at Minute Maid Park the last two nights, the Nationals have won consecutive road games in extra innings for the first time since October 3-4, 2009 at Atlanta (6-4 in 11 innings, 2-1 in 15 innings).

IZTURIS MAKES DEBUT

Last night, Cesar Izturis became the 40th National to appear in a game this year when he pinch ran for Morse after he doubled in the 12th inning. Izturis would come around to score the eventual game-winning run on Espinosa’s RBI-single. Acquired via waiver claim from the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, Izturis is hitting .235 with 2 HR and 11 RBI so far in 2012.

GIO VS. HOUSTON

Tonight, Gio Gonzalez will take to the hill for the first time at Minute Maid Park. He faced the Astros for the first time of his career in his third start as a National on April 17 in D.C. In Washington’s 1-0 win, Gio worked 7.0 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. In his last outing, Gonzalez matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts without a walk in 8.0 innings against Miami on August 3.

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