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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nats, Langerhans slam Cards 7-2 for 2nd straight road series win OR Washington, Wivewa, outwast Wainwight, wain deway, win!, Ha, ha, ha, ha!

(Yes, I've begun channeling Elmer Fudd - or Lili Von Shtupp - in my blog post titles. Give me a break, it's a holiday weekend and I'm giddy.)

In the 8th inning of today's Nationals/Cardinals game, MASN's Bob Carpenter, who broadcast Cardinals games for several years, observed, "Cardinals fans heading for the exits in the 8th inning. That's something that you don't see here very often."

They were heading for the exits because National's centerfielder Ryan Langerhans had just hit a Grand Slam homerun to make the score 7-1 Washington, and some St. Louis fans had apparently had enough.

The Washington Nationals eventually defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 this afternoon to take 2 of 3 games from them and win the weekend series. This was the Nationals second consecutive road series win, as they won 3 of 4 games from the Cincinnati Reds last week. They have also won 12 of their last 17, with this road trip resulting in a 5-7 record.

Nats starter Matt Chico pitched only 4 innings, allowing no runs on 3 hits, throwing 68 pitches for 42 strikes (62%). His excellent afternoon was interrupted by the 61 minute rain delay. Reliever Saul Rivera pitched two innings, throwing 28 pitches for 19 strikes (68%) and allowed 1 run on 2 hits. Ray King and Jesus Colomé came in and allowed only 2 hits and 1 run between them, and "The Chief" closed out the Cards in the 9th.

This game had all of the earmarks of a pitcher's duel until the top of the 5th inning when the Nats Ronnie Belliard homered to score 2 and break the stalemate, and then the rain came. In the 6th inning, the Cards got a run to make things interesting at 2-1, but then came the 8th inning, the "Russ and Randy Show":

The Cardinal's Russ
Springer began the inning on the mound, and he allowed Ronnie Belliard to single to left. Then Ryan Zimmerman walked on a full count, moving Belliard to second. That was enough for Cardinals Manager Tony Larussa, who gave Springer the hook and sent in Randy Flores in relief, but he didn't fare any better. He walked Ryan Church on four pitches, moving Belliard to third, and Zimmerman to second, setting the table for Nook Logan, who proceeded to strike out. Flores then threw a wild pitch, scoring Belliard and moving Zimmerman to third and Church to second. 3-1 Nationals! Then Robert Fick grounded out and Randy Flores walked the Nats Jesus Flores on a full count, resetting the table for the Nats newest Ryan, centerfielder Ryan Langerhans. Langerhans, who is with his 3rd team in just around a month, and who had been hitting around .138 or so thus far this season, hit a Grand Slam homerun to center field on a 2-2 count, scoring fellow Ryan's Zimmerman and Church as well as Jesus Flores. And, just like that, it was 7-1 Nationals!

So far, the only down note of the game was the injury to first baseman Dmitri Young, who injured his lower back in a collision at 1st when the Cardinal's Scott Rolen ran into him while beating out a tag. He is listed as day-to-day, and hopefully it isn't serious.

Who had the hot bats for the Nats? Felipe Lopez went 3 for 5, and Ronnie Belliard went 4 for 5. Robert Fick had a hit, too. Ryan Zimmerman had 1 hit and, oh, then there was another Nat who had just one hit...

Ryan Report: Church went 0 for 4 but got walked once. Zimmerman went 1 for 4 and also walked once. He had an error, too. Austin Ryan Kearns had the day off from right field, but did pinch-hit once, going 0 for 1, but RYAN LANGERHANS hit his first home run of the year, the aforementioned GRAND SLAM that put the game in the bag. It was also Langerhans' first home run since August of last year, when, as an Atlanta Brave, he homered against Washington, of all teams! He went 1 for 4, but that was some "1", though he only raised his batting average to .153. Let's hope he's beginning a hitting streak, shall we?

My god, I love the resiliency of this team. Lose one game? Fight right back! I think that they have newfound confidence, even as they take advantage of two league opponents who are foundering a bit. What a way to end a 7-game road trip, with an impressive win. Now they all come home for a well-deserved day off, a memorable Memorial Day weekend.

The Nats can rest up for a 9 game homestand against the NL-West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. I hope that they can take at least one game against the Dodgers and one against the Padres. They might stand as fair a chance against the Pirates as they did against the Cardinals. Tuesday, the Nats Jason Simontacchi takes on the Dodgers deadly Brad Penny, he of the 6-1 record and 2.26 ERA.
Let's see if they can close out the month of May in strong fashion.

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