Strasburg Shines; Phillies Fumble

It was a classic pitcher’s duel between the Nationals Stephen Strasburg and the Phillies Cole Hamels.  There was the feeling the first team to remove their starting pitching would be the loser.  Both had worked six innings without allowing a run.  Both had given up three hits, half of them to their counterparts.  Strasburg had slapped two hits for the Nationals, twice as many as his eight hitters in the lineup.  Hamels had managed one of the Phillies three hits off Strasburg.

In the seventh inning Strasburg struck out the side, the second time he had done so in the game.  It upped his strikeout total to nine.  Ryan Zimmerman started the seventh with a slow roller to second base.  Freddy Galvis tried to make a flip of the ball with his glove.  While it was a better toss than what Steve Lombardozzi did the previous day the Z-man still beat it out.  Adam LaRoche followed with a single to right.

With runners on first and second and no one out Ian Desmond laid down the bunt to move the runners up.  That brought up two hitters with a combined average of less than .130 with the task of driving in the go ahead runner at third.  Charlie Manuel chose to face Jhonatan Solano rather than Tyler Moore.  Tyler saw three bad pitches from Hamels before they walked him intentionally on the fourth.  Solano got behind in the count 1-2 before hitting a broken bat roller to Michael Young at third base.  Young fielded the ball cleanly, fired it home before the arrival of Zimmerman, but it appeared the throw was low and as Zimmerman slid he kicked the ball out of Quintero’s glove.  As the ball bounded away Adam LaRoche raced home with the second run.

Steve Lombardozzi laced a pitch from Hamels into the right field corner, about the same spot Delmon Young had hit the ball the day before for the go ahead run.  Young took forever to get to the ball.  It appeared Solano had stopped at third then turned on the afterburners when he saw how far Young was to the ball.  Young attempted to pick the ball up, dropped it and Solano was able to trot home with the fourth run of the inning.  Young picked up an error as Lombardozzi advanced to third.  Denard Span drove in Lombo with a double down the left field line.

Strasburg lost his shutout in the eighth when he gave up back to back singles to Ben Revere and Humberto QuinteroRyan Howard pinch hit for the pitcher hoping to make up for his 4 K day of yesterday.  A 3-run homer would put them within two.  He did even worse today, grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.  With Jimmie Rollins hitting Strasburg stepped off the mound incorrectly and the pervasive balk with a runner on third was called to end the shutout.

Tyler Moore ripped a single in the bottom of the eighth to make it 6-1.  Tyler Clippard retired the side in order in the ninth to give the Nationals the rubber game of the series.

Game Notes: A nice crowd of 39,000 were in attendance for today’s game on a picture perfect day.  It has been awhile since myworld saw a perfectly blue sky…Bryce Harper fouled a ball off his knee.  It appeared to be bothering him as he ran when he grounded into a double play in the sixth.  With a 5-0 lead after a walk in the seventh Davey Johnson had Roger Bernadina pinch run for him…Kevin Fransden was ejected by the home plate umpire after he threw his bat to the ground in disgust after a check swing was ruled strike three.  Laynce Nix replaced Fransden at first rather than Ryan Howard…Interesting Howard sat out today despite the righthander Stephen Strasburg pitching…In the first inning both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche swung and missed for strike three, stranding Bryce Harper at third…Strasburg grounded a ball down the first base line in the third inning.  He seemed happy with a single, but when Young took so long tracking the ball Strasburg advanced to second for a double…In the fourth Ryan Zimmerman swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped to first.  I like the aggression but I wish he would do it more on first pitch strikes…Kevin Fransden was hit in the chest after squaring up to bunt at a pitch.  The fans thought it should be ruled a strike but the umpire gave him first base…Panes of glass in the 300 section seemed to have been broken.  According to the ushers it wasn’t because of any foul balls.  Perhaps it was because of a suicidal pigeon.

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