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Friday, June 8, 2007

Nats, Simontacchi top Twins 8-5 OR New, improved Nats defeat old, former 'Nats

Well this was one strange and wonderful game in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota tonight. The Washington Nationals beat the Minnesota Twins 8-5 in a showcase of small-ball.

The Nats have struggled offensively of late, and suddenly they broke open tonight, gathering 15 hits. It reminded me of the old joke about the big city high school champion basketball team which hosted a game against a small, country high school, and the country kids were draining half-court shots and making all free-throws and defeated the big city team handily. When someone asked why they played so well against the heavily-favored city team, the country kids replied that they won because, "Y'all 'ain't got no wind in here." I wonder if playing inside the big dome made any difference for the Nats. No wind, 70 degrees. Who knows? It sure didn't hurt 'em.

It's just so odd. They are a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of team. One day, they can be completely lackluster with their bats (i.e. 4 hits in a loss vs. Pittsburgh yesterday) the next day they are hitting the ball everywhere. I never know just WHICH Nationals team is going to appear on the field on any given day, and perhaps that is part of what makes them so much fun to watch.

Prodigal-Twin Cristian Guzman returned to the Metrodome for the first time since becoming a National, and he punished his old club by going 4 for 5 with 3 runs, including a double, 1 RBI and, unfortunately, 1 error. He is now hitting .339 - unthinkable just a couple of months ago! The days of Guzman as a groan-inducing easy-out are finished. Pitchers ought to fear him now. If you're not careful, he'll triple off of you as soon as say "hello" to you.

Dmitri Young had the Designated-Hitter job this evening and he torched the Twins, going 3 for 5 with a run and 3 RBI's. He's hitting .337. Instead of "Da Meat Hook" perhaps we oughta call him "Mighty D. Young"

Ryan Report: An interesting night. Church went 2 for 5 with a run and an RBI and a double, but it seemed to me that, as fate would have it, his other three at-bats ended their respective innings. Very odd. Zimmerman went 2 for 5 with a run and 2 RBI's. Langerhans was 0 for 3 with a walk and a run, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 4 with a walk.

Other nice at-bats came from Ronnie Belliard, Brian Schneider and Robert Fick.

Starter Jason Simontacchi had an AMAZING outing, through 6 innings, his best so far this season. He went 7.2 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs, walking one and striking out one. He threw 101 pitches for 67 strikes (do the math, it's easy!) but MOST importantly, he gave the bullpen a rest and got a well-deserved win. Billy Traber threw all of 5 pitches, and Saul Rivera got the save.

Nice way to get a road trip off to a good start - congratulations, guys!

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