Nats Win Final Home Game

Chris Coghlan made two errors.  The last one proved critical.  With runners on third and second and one out and the infield in, Wilson Ramos hit a hard grounder at Coghlan that bounced off his leg and rolled toward the visitor’s dugout.  The ricochet allowed pinch runner Eury Perez to score from third for the game winning run as the Nationals beat the Marlins 5-4 to stay alive in the wild card hunt.

With six games remaining and five games out of the wild card the Nationals have to win all their games and hope either the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cincinnati Reds lose all their games.  Since the Reds and Pirates battle it out in the last series of the season they have to hope one of the teams sweeps.

Stephen Strasburg was not sharp in what could be his final home outing of 2013.  He gave up a run in the opening frame when Donavan Solano doubled to start the game off.  He eventually scored on a ground out.  In the second inning Justin Ruggiano took a 96 mile per hour fastball into the left field bullpen to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

The Nationals tied the game in the third.  Denard Span singled up the middle to score Anthony Rendon with the first run.  A wild pitch advanced Span to second where a single by Ryan Zimmerman plated him to tie the score at 2-2.

Strasburg gave it right back in the top of the third.  A single by Giancarlo Stanton and a walk set up a single by Adeiny Echevarria to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead.  Strasburg only went six innings before he was pinch hit for in the bottom of the sixth.  He struck out six, gave up six hits and walked two.

Despite his poor outing the Nationals gave Strasburg an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the sixth.  Tyler Moore was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count and Steve Lombardozzi turned a hit into left center field into a hustle double.  Denard Span drove them both in with a single off a left handed pitcher just past the diving first baseman to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead.

Tyler Clippard coughed up the lead in the eighth.  Christian Yelich hit a slow bounder up the middle that he hustled into a double.  Giancarlo Stanton grounded a ball past Ryan Zimmerman down the line for another double to tie the game up at 4-4.

Jayson Werth got things started for the Nationals in the bottom of the ninth with a booming lead off double that one hopped the wall down the left field line.  With the count 2-0 Davey Johnson sent in Eury Perez to pinch run for Werth.  Jayson looked at Eury as if he was a foreign object, taking awhile before he departed second base.  The move paid off after a walk to Ian Desmond and Eury and Ian pulled off a double steal.  Marlin catcher Koyie Hill threw the ball to second but Ian snuck his hand onto the bag before the tag.  Ramos then hit his grounder off the leg of Coghlan to drive in the go ahead run.

Game Notes: Stephen Strasburg became the third fastest pitcher since 1900 to get to 500 striekouts.  The two fastest are ex-Cubs he certainly does not want to follow, Kerry Wood and Mark PriorIan Desmond stole two bases in the second game of the doubleheader to reach 20 stolen bases.  It is the second year in a row Ian has hit more than 20 homeruns and stolen 20 or more bases…The Nationals loaded the bases in the fourth with no one out and could not score after Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg struck out and Denard Span grounded to short.  In the fifth they stranded runners on second and third.  Wilson Ramos swung at the first pitch delivered to him and grounded back to the pitcher for the third out…Ryan Zimmerman made a couple excellent defensive plays diving to his right, getting back on his feet and rifling a throw overhand to first to get the out.  In the past he could only one hop those throws to first.  This is the first time myworld has seen the velocity back in Ryan’s overhand throws to first…Giancarlo Stanton hit a foul ball into the 400 section of the bleachers.  It is the first time myworld has seen a foul ball hit into the upperdeck of that section.

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