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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nats avoid Astros surge, win 7-6 and series OR Rain or shine, afternoon games always thrill

What a fun afternoon for a ballgame. It started out a little bit overcast, and some rain came in the 1st inning, but left almost as quickly. 90 steamy degrees at gametime, with a little 8 mph breeze. A terrific crowd of over 27,000, and the Nats fans couldn't be disappointed as they racked up 7 runs and held on to take the Houston Astros 7-6 and won the 3rd of their last 4 home series.

Starter Jason Bergmann got a much-deserved win, as he had another quality outing. In his 6 innings pitched, he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits (2 for homeruns), striking out 3 and walking only 1. He threw a very economical 83 pitches for 58 strikes (70%) and only left because Manager Manny Acta wanted Ray King to face one pitcher in the 7th, and the bullpen was fairly rested so he wanted to use it. Bergmann even went 1 for 2 at the plate, too.

Ray King allowed a hit and a run off of the one batter he faced, and Saul Rivera allowed a run as well, but overall the bullpen did the job. Jon Rauch was perfect and while Chad Cordero allowed 2 hits, he got his 17th save.

Ryan Report: Church went 2 for 4 with a R.B.I. double, Zimmerman went 0 for 3 but was walked once, Langerhans went 1 for 4, but it was a great one, a 3-run homer in the 5th that proved to be the game-winning runs, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 3 with a walk and a 2-run double. Zimmerman also had some terrific defensive plays with his glove, getting lauded later by Jason Bergmann for saving some runs.

Ronnie Belliard extended his hitting streak to 11 games, going 1 for 5 with a R.B.I. double, and Dmitri Young went 1 for 2 and was also walked twice. Felipe Lopez went 1 for 5 and Jesus Flores went 1 for 4.

Being that this was my day off, I was happy to be able to enjoy it at the ballpark. It was nice to be able to get there early and say "hello" to everyone, from Rico who was happily selling programs, to Ellie upstairs at the press cafeteria. I even had time to meet Ellie's husband, Roy, who I hadn't realized worked at the Diamond Club. For those of you who are fortunate enough to visit the Diamond Club, Roy is the nice fellow in the light blue polo shirt who checks your wristband as you walk inside. I went to Capital Q and got my barbecue beef brisket and went down to the seats. Saw Susan ushering down by the Home Plate Suite and "Coach" Ron, too, and then I saw Boris. Boris wasn't ushering in his usual spot, on the concourse by the tunnel next to section 320. Instead, he was down behind the Nats dugout because another usher wasn't in that day, and he informed me that "someone" from the Nats had told him to allow a few people to sit in the first 3 rows behind the dugout, and then Boris asked me if I wanted to sit there. He didn't need to ask me twice! I took a seat two rows behind the dugout, and then I saw my friend Harolyn, Executive Assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden, and said hello to her. She said that yes, indeed, I could sit there today, and she moved me to seat #8, two rows right behind the "t" in "Nationals" on top of the dugout. What a great vantage point! It was fun to be able to cheer the players as they came off of the field, too. Even when the rain came, I wouldn't move for anything, I just let my smile be my umbrella. No Howard again today, so I got a beer from Neal.

Heard Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton on MASN later on during the replay talk about a GREAT comment made by Dodgers blogger and celebrity Alyssa Milano who, during the All-Star game, got to meet Dmitri Young, and her comment was this: "
I got to meet Dmitri Young. He isn’t built for power. He isn’t built for speed. He is built for comfort and has the loveliest way about him. You can tell he has overcome a lot and was truly ecstatic to be there."

Wacky weather, but a wild day at the ballpark. So nice to see the Nats get a fun win like that during a day game - baseball the way God and Abner Doubleday intended it.

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