Wild & crazy walkoff win in D.C.
Ross Detwiler had his best outing of the year last night, and the Nats had a 2-0 lead over the Mets going into the top of the ninth. Tyler Clippard took the mound, and for the second time in the last few days he flinched under pressure, this time with devastating results. He gave up two singles, got an out, but then allowed a home run hit by pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin. (Who?) All of a sudden, the Nationals were behind, 3-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Michael Morse hit a clutch single, and was replaced at first by Ian Desmond, who can run but not bat or throw while his oblique muscle heals. Adam LaRoche then singled, and Desmond reached third base. Tyler Moore, who had homered to give the Nats a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, then struck out, so it was all up to Danny Espinosa. With the classic do-or-die situation, Danny rose to the occasion with a double that scored the tying run, and the game continued into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, the Mets scored another run, and once again, the Nats seemed doomed to wasting a fine performance. But wait! Jhonatan Solano singled, Steve Lombardozzi sac-bunted him to second, and then Bryce Harper crushed a line-drive triple that bounced off the scoreboard in right field. Another HUGE clutch hit! Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond (!) were then intentionally walked, as the Mets desperately tried to induce a double play. Pedro Beato came in as a relief pitcher, and soon threw a wild pitch to Tyler Moore, allowing Zimmerman to score the winning run. See MLB.com.
The Nationals really showed heart, beating the Mets in a memorable fashion. Meanwhile, the Braves were shut out by the Giants, and thus fell 3 1/2 games behind the Nats in the NL East race. Here are some Facebook comments I made about the game in Washington:
I knew Bryce was due for a big game-changing clutch hit like that. WOW! But let's not forget Danny Espinosa's two-strike, two-out clutch RBI in the bottom of the ninth to keep the game alive for the Nats. I can already smell October baseball in D.C.!
WOW! This team not only has talent and depth, but a fierce determination to keep fighting against overwhelming odds even after repeated disappointments. Those traits are what make for a championship team. "They could ... go ... all ... the ... WAY!!!"
Safeco Field semi-update
At last! I have updated the main Safeco Field diagram, with a much more accurate profile and attention to the lateral concourses in the upper deck, etc. The upper decks in right field do not extend as far toward center as I had previously estimated. The field itself is about the same, with slightly smaller foul territory than before. I'll do the football version and full-size versions with the retractable roof next month...
Brief update on the Anomalous stadiums page: On June 24-26, 2011 the Marlins were scheduled to host the Mariners in an interleague series, but the games were displaced by a U2 concert at Sun Life Stadium, so they played in Safeco Field instead, with the Mariners as the "visiting" team. Unfortunately, the link to the story at miamiherald.com no longer works.
Speaking of the Mariners, I should have called attention previously to their rookie Danny Hultzen, who was drafted last year after graduating from the University of Virginia. (I saw him play last year.) He has very promising future, and has already given back to his alma mater with a donation to the U.Va. baseball program. Like Ryan Zimmerman before him, he makes me proud to be a Cavalier! Wahoo-wa!!
On the road again
Yes, sports fans, it's time for my annual vacation getway to the Great Plains, a.k.a. The Heartland, or for some people, just plain "Flyover Country." Hopefully I'll have time to stop and see some games on the way out there, and/or on the way back. There will be a couple surprise (pre-programmed) updates during the three-week hiatus, with a few comments about the NL East pennant race, etc.