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July 30, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Nats barely beat the Giants, twice
The Washington Nationals sure know how to make their games exciting! With the bullpen situation in utter disarray, no lead is safe in the late innings. Fortunately, their starting pitchers have done superbly in the last three games, each going seven innings while give up no more than one run. On Thursday evening, Tanner Roark went up against Giants' ace pitcher Johnny Cueto, a daunting challenge. But the Nats staged a three-run rally in the third inning, and Cueto was visibly flustered. Relief pitcher Sammy Solis got through the eighth inning unscathed, allowing just a walk, but the ninth inning was a classic "Maalox Moment." Having learned from the previous disasters on the mound, Dusty Baker had clearly lost patience with the erstwhile closing pitcher Jonathan Paplebon, who was yanked after giving up a walk and a single, with just one out. But the next pitcher Oliver Perez was almost as shaky, and it didn't help that the Giants scored on a weird infield ground ball that Danny Espinosa flubbed. Shawn Kelley then came in and struck out Denard Span to end the game. Whew! Final score: Nats 4, Giants 2.
Johnny Cueto, who joined the San Francisco Giants this year. (Photo digitally altered, using a photo I took on July 7, 2015 when he played for the Cincinnati Reds, just before he was traded to the Kansas City Royals. Roll your mouse over the image, and then click it to see the original and previously-altered versions.)
Last night (Friday), the Giants scored a run on two hits in the second inning, but Max Scherzer hung in there and finished seven innings only giving up three more hits. He got six strikeouts, taking the #1 spot in the major leagues at least for the time being. The Nats got lots of clutch hits in the middle innings, scoring once in the fourth, twice in the fifth, and once in the sixth inning.
The Giants were threatening in the bottom of the eighth inning, having loaded the bases with nobody out, when the whole game changed course in a sudden twist of fate. Brandon Crawford smashed a low line drive right that seemed certain to score at least one run, except that it landed into the glove of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He trotted to first to force out the base runner and then lobbed the ball to third base, thereby turning the very first triple play in Nationals history! See MLB.com. Not only that, it the very first 3-3-5 triple play in MLB history. For a list of all previous MLB triple plays, see baseball-almanac.com. There has been one triple play in Nationals Park, on May 19, 2010. Ironically, the Nationals beat the Mets in that game 5-3, even though the other team executed the triple play before, and in both games Angel Pagan was on the other team.
The ninth inning had plenty of drama, as Felipe Rivero got two quick outs but was then yanked after giving up a single. The next pitcher Shawn Kelley likewise gave up a single, and Nats' nerves were fraying badly. But he finally struck out Eduardo Nuñez to end the game. Whew again! Final score: Nats 4, Giants 1.
Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins lost, so the Nationals' lead in the NL East is now six games. This afternoon's game in San Francisco is a tight one, 3-3 in the middle of the fifth inning.
Nats get Melancon in trade
Kudos to General Manager Mike Rizzo for getting a top-notch closing pitcher, two days before the non-waiver trading deadline. It was announced this afternoon that the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to trade Mark Melancon for two left-handed Nats pitchers: Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn, a rookie prospect. It's strange that the Pirates have pretty much given up hope for the postseason this year. Melancon (pronounced "Mel-AN-son," suggesting French ancestry) was an All-Star this year, and had 51 saves for the Pirates last year. [He came up with the New York Yankees in 2009, and later played for Houston and Boston. During his three years in Pittsburgh, he logged at least 71 innings pitched each year, and had a cumulative ERA of under 2.00, which is pretty impressive. He could be the guy who makes the difference for the Nationals as this season heads toward a climax.] He should be available to pitch in the series finale in San Francisco on Sunday. See MLB.com.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 30 Jul 2016, 8: 01 PM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
Science & Technology
This (or that) year's
January 10, 2016 ~ Cooperstown calls Griffey, Piazza
January 17, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland (& Bath!) County
January 21, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Glenn Frey
January 26, 2016 ~ Sweet Briar College is saved!
January 31, 2016 ~ Presidential campaign begins
February 6, 2016 ~ Fall bird migration season 2015
February 20, 2016 ~ Life bird: Virginia Rail!
February 21, 2016 ~ 2016 primaries: populists propel polarization
March 10, 2016 ~ Yes, another Wrigley Field update!
March 26, 2016 ~ Trump triumphs, Republican Party implodes
April 4, 2016 ~ Opening Day(s) in America, 2016! (& Sportsman's Park update)
April 18, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Alan L. Clem
April 21, 2016 ~ Flying out to So. Dak. (& back)
April 30, 2016 ~ Trump & Clinton take commanding leads
April 30, 2016 ~ Migration season reaches peak
May 7, 2016 ~ Trump secures victory; Sanders fights on
May 21, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Reddish Knob
June 7, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland County
June 9, 2016 ~ FOD [first-of-decade] Prothonotary Warblers!
June 14, 2016 ~ Birding on Hite Hollow Road
June 16, 2016 ~ Holy $#!+ -- Nationals win big showdown with Cubs
July 1, 2016 ~ Nationals sweep the Mets, widen NL East lead
July 3, 2016 ~ Kentucky Warblers, and more!
July 8, 2016 ~ Soras breeding in the Valley!
July 13, 2016 ~ Redistricting reform movement is growing
July 16, 2016 ~ The Nationals' starting rotation
August 5, 2016 ~ New page: Stadium profiles!
August 7, 2016 ~ Magical mushroom tour*
September 7, 2016 ~ To the northeast: Baseball road trip, 2016
September 18, 2016 ~ East by Northeast: Big city scenery travelogue
September 25, 2016 ~ Nationals win National League East Division
September 27, 2016 ~ Lucky! 13 warblers on Betsy Bell Hill
October 2, 2016 ~ Nationals' regular season ends on a high note
October 5, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park birding (II)
October 14, 2016 ~ Nationals flinch, Dodgers advance to NLCS
October 14, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park getaway
October 16, 2016 ~ World War II aircraft show (II)
October 25, 2016 ~ Holy cow: Cubs beat Dodgers, win NL pennant!
November 3, 2016 ~ The Cubs win the World Series!!!
November 4, 2016 ~ New month arrives, & new birds too
November 6, 2016 ~ Campaign 2016 grinds to a nasty, ugly end
Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.
The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
- Wild birds (LAST)
- Science & Technology
- Latin America
- Culture & Travel
- Canaries ("Home birds")
- Baseball (FIRST)
Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)