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Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (9-6) was near his best, throwing six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, and striking out 11, matching a career high previously set in a May 12, 2011 game against the Atlanta Braves. Mike Gonzalez, Sean Burnett, and Drew Storen each pitched a scoreless inning to secure the win.
On offense, the Nationals were lead by Michael Morse, who hit his 9th and 10th home runs of the season in the 6th and 8th innings, respectively. Both were solo shots that made a 2-0 lead a 4-0 lead. Washington initially jumped in front with two runs in the top of the 4th inning, as Adam LaRoche drove in Roger Bernadina with a single to right field and Morse followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in Ryan Zimmerman.
The first place Washington Nationals are gunning for a sweep on Thursday against the Houston Astros, who almost resemble a professional baseball team. The Nats' three-straight wins over Houston seems par for the course until one takes a look at the box scores and realizes that Washington has won each of the three games -- two of which went to extra innings -- by just one run. Even though the Nats are in first place and on a five-game win streak, that's not a good look.
Bryce Harper, who has been struggling since the All-Star break, sits out the series finale. Here's the Nationals' lineup.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 9, 2012
#Nats 8/9 Lineup: Lombo 2B, Bernadina CF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Morse LF, Werth RF, Espinosa SS, Suzuki C, Zimmermann RHP
With Jayson Werth back on the active roster, the Nationals have the luxury to do things like resting Harper for a day.
With five straight wins the Washington Nationals have surged to the top of the MLB and own the league's best record as they continue to pile up wins. They'll look to continue to do so in their final game of the season against the MLB's worst team on Thursday.
The Astros have lost four consecutive games and are rapidly approaching becoming the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs with a dwindling elimination number. Jordan Zimmermann will look to hand the Astros another loss when he takes the mound on Thursday and will try to extend a streak of eight consecutive starts without a loss.
Lucas Harrell of the Astros has had a similar season as Zimmermann and will be the one taking the mound against Washington on Thursday as he looks for his third straight start with a win.
Thursday's game at Minute Maid Park is scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m. and will be televised on MASN2 and Fox Sports Houston.
The Washington Nationals found themselves scratching and clawing to pick up a win against the Houston Astros on Wednesday evening. The Nats took an early lead on a Bryce Harper RBI single in the top of the first inning, but Houston tied the game right away in the bottom of the inning.
Gio Gonzalez helped his early pitching performance by hitting a two-run home run to give the Nats a 3-1 lead. Gonzalez hit some bumps in the road through the game however, as Gonzalez spattered nine hits through nine innings of work, picking up the complete game victory.
The Astros cut into the lead and even looked like they would make a late ninth inning rally to tie the Nats as Ben Francisco knocked in a late run to pull within a single run. Gonzalez was able to clamp down and hold on, however.
Michael Morse was also able to extend his hitting streak to 17 games on Wednesday night in the win.
As the Washington Nationals are getting set to take on the Houston Astros in the third game of a four game series. The lineup for the Nationals have been released and have a nice bat returning to the Nats lineup.
Davey's Lineup-Wed @ HOU/G111: Lombardozzi 2b, Harper cf, Zimmerman 3b, LaRoche 1b, Morse lf, Werth rf, Espinosa ss, Suzuki c, GGonzalez lhp— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 8, 2012
Jayson Werth comes back to the lineup in right field after missing Tuesday evening's game for rest. Werth was forced to leave Monday's matchup late in the game due to "tired legs".
Werth has played in just five games since returning from the disabled list on August 2, and is still getting back into the groove but will be in the starting lineup on Wednesday.
For the second time in as many nights, the Nationals and Astros went to extra innings in Houston. And for the second straight night, the Nationals eked out a one-run win in the 11th inning, holding on after Roger Bernadina made one of the best catches you'll ever see running into the wall to end the game. Bernandina got a beat on a ball that was drilled to left center by Brett Wallace, crashing into the chain-link fence of the bullpen that is wedged between the padded pillars on the left field wall. Bernadina disappeared behind the pillar before slamming to the ground and rolling back across the track to hold his glove up in victory with the bullpen erupting behind him.
Much like Monday night, the Nationals offense struck early but then went dormant for the rest of the evening. All the scoring on both sides came in the first two innings until Danny Espinosa singled up the middle in the top of the 11th to put the Nationals ahead 3-2. Espinosa did all the damage for Davey Johnson on Tuesday, driving in each of the three runs.
Michael Morse led off the 11th by hammering a double to the top of the hill in straightaway centerfield at Minute Maid Park. Morse cruised into second, where he was quickly replaced by pinch runner and new National Cesar Izturis. Bernadina pounded a bunt into the dirt to the left side and sacrificed Izturis over to third, setting up Espinosa with the chance for the game-winner. With the infield in, Espinosa perfectly placed one up the middle. The ball went over the mound and past the infielders to ricochet off second base, allowing Izturis to score easily from third.
With the tie finally broken, Tyler Clippard charged out of the pen looking to make up for his blown save on Monday night. He certainly made things interesting. Clippard gave up a lead-off single to Steve Moore that went off the top of the glove of Izturis at second. After retiring two, Clippard got a bit wild and issued a walk to Carlos Corporan setting up the Wallace at-bat and incredible Bernadina catch that handed the Nats' closer his 23rd save.
Before the madness of extra innings, Ross Detwiler gave up only three hits in seven innings of work, backing up his tremendous outing against the Phillies last week. Unfortunately for Detwiler, one of those three hits was a two-run homer to Ben Francisco in the top of the first. Those were the only runs he allowed all evening as he cruised deep into the game.
The offense couldn't pick up their starter, however, as the lineup went quiet after an Espinosa blast in the top of the second. The Nats' second baseman stepped in against Jordan Lyles and took the first pitch over the right field wall with Bernadina on first. The two-out homer tied it up at 2-2, where it remained knotted until the eventful 11th inning.
Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will miss Tuesday night's second game of the four-game series against the Houston Astros after he was removed from Monday night's game in the 8th inning due to tired legs.
Here's how Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post put it.
Werth said he would be fine, but Davey Johnson does not want to wear Werth out. Because he missed three months with a broken wrist, Werth is essentially still playing himself back into regular-season shape.
Werth, who has played in five games since returning from the disabled list August 2, has gone 7-for-16 (.438) in that time, with a .571 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage. (1.009 OPS)
Davey' Lineup Tue @ HOU/G110: Lombo 2b, Harper rf, Zimmerman 3b, LaRoche 1b, Morse lf, Bernadina cf, Espinosa ss, Flores c, Detwiler lhp— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 7, 2012
The Washington Nationals have played pretty well on the road lately, winning 13 of their last 18 games on the road including Monday's extra-inning win over the Houston Astros. With that comes the opportunity to extend their lead in the NL East over the Atlanta Braves.
Ross Detwiler starts for the Nationals on Tuesday. He is coming off one of the best starts of his career from back on August 2. In that game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Detwiler pitched seven shut out innings, allowing only three hits in a 3-0 win.
The struggling Astros will counter with Jordan Lyles (2-8, 5.95), who has lost his last four decisions. In Lyles' last start on August 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers, Lyles pitched five innings, allowing nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits in a 13-4 loss.
Ryan Zimmerman has had a lot of recent success against Lyles, going three-for-five with a home run. If the Nationals can duplicate that kind of success, look for them to add another win to the record.
The game is scheduled for a first pitch at 8:05 p.m. from Minute Maid Park. The game will be broadcast on MASN2 with radio coverage provided by 106.7 The Fan FM, 1500 WFED AM and 1580 WHFS AM.
The Washington Nationals survived blowing a 4-1 lead to the Houston Astros, scoring one run in the top of the 11th inning to secure a 5-4 win Monday night. Roger Bernadina scored the winning run when Kurt Suzuki's bunt was thrown away by first baseman Steve Pearce. A good throw might have had Bernadina at the plate, but Brian Bogusevic's throw went to the backstop, enabling Bernadina to slide in safely.
On offense, the Nats mounted back-to-back rallies in the fourth and fifth that looked like enough to clinch the series opener. Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse led off the fourth with singles, setting up Adam LaRoche for an RBI single to right that evened things at 1-1. With nobody out that threat would quickly flame out with Morse and LaRoche stranded.
The Nationals would put together a rally one inning later, however, with many of the same suspects doing the damage. Ryan Zimmerman knocked in Edwin Jackson and Danny Espinosa with a bases-loaded single to left for the 3-1 lead. Morse then stepped in and took a 2-2 offering up the middle to score Bryce Harper for the three-run lead. The Nationals offense would go quiet after that. They would not get a hit after the sixth inning Roger Bernadina bounced one through the right side in the top of the 11th.
Jackson was cruising through the first five innings. He had his sinker working and diving out of the zone, leading to eight strikeouts. He gave up an absolute bomb to Marwin Gonzalez in the first but settled in from there. At the pace he was working and the ease with which he was moving through the Astros lineup, it looked like he would at least pitch into the seventh. But he got a little wild in the bottom of the sixth, and with his pitch count rising, Davey Johnson to made a call to the bullpen.
Tom Gorzelanny came on with one out in the sixth and could not get Jackson out of the jam. He preserved the lead, however, by allowing two runs before getting J.D. Martinez to foul out to the catcher to end the inning.
With the lead now cut to one, things got real dicey in the bottom of the eighth. Jose Altuve, who created problems all night with his bat and speed, led things off with a single. He was erased on a fielder's choice by Gonzalez, but a wild pitch by Sean Burnett put Gonzalez on second as the tying run. Johnson made the call for Drew Storen with two outs, looking to build off his first save of the season on Sunday. Storen struggled to find the zone, however, walking back-to-back batters to load the bases and then falling behind 3-0 to Martinez. Storen would somehow escape, with Martinez swinging at a 3-1 offering and driving it well to center but right at Bernadina.
While the Astros would miss the opportunity to tie it in the eighth, they would capitalize one inning later against Tyler Clippard. With one out, Clippard hit Carlos Corporan and then backed that up by walking Brian Bogusevic. Altuve came through with a game-tying double deep of the left field wall to score pinch runner Lucas Harrell. It was Clippard's fourth blown save of the year and the Nats were lucky Bogusevic was unable to come around on the play to end it right there.
The Washington Nationals are in Houston for a four-game set against the Astros, the worst team in Major League Baseball. Heavily favored or not, the Nationals are rolling out a familiar lineup for Monday night's game behind starting pitcher Edwin Jackson.
Washington's lineup looks like this:
1. Danny Espinosa (S) SS
2. Bryce Harper (L) CF
3. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 3B
4. Michael Morse (R) LF
5. Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
6. Jayson Werth (R) RF
7. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
8. Steve Lombardozzi (S) 2B
9. Edwin Jackson (R) P
Houston counters with the following lineup:
1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
2. Marwin Gonzalez (S) SS
3. Brett Wallace (L) 1B
4. Justin Maxwell (R) RF
5. Scott Moore (L) 3B
6. J.D. Martinez (R) LF
7. Jordan Schafer (L) CF
8. Carlos Corporan (S) C
9. Dallas Keuchel (L) P
The game is scheduled to start at 8:05 p.m. Eastern, and will be broadcast on MASN 2.
Edwin Jackson gets the start against Dallas Keuchel as the Nationals start a four-game series in Houston.