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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nats edge Mets 6-5 OR Nats the Kings of Queens for the night

Tonight the Washington Nationals jumped ahead of the New York Mets 3-0 and survived the Mets charge to tie the game, jumped ahead again 6-3 and held off the Mets second rally to win 6-5, evening their day's play at 1 game each, but gaining the edge in the weekend series 2-1, with game #4 Sunday afternoon.

The Nats starter, who I am christening Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan (original, isn't it?) made his major league debut, the second Nationals pitcher to do that this week, and their 13th starting pitcher this season, a major league high. Like his fellow teammate from Columbus, John Lannan, Hanrahan didn't get the win, but he DID pitch incredibly well, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, walking 1 but striking out 7. SEVEN! Nice work for a rookie! He threw 86 pitches with 56 strikes (65%) and threw 5 shutout innings, making only one costly mistake in the 6th inning when he didn't locate a pitch where he wanted it to Carlos Delgado, who launched a 3-run homer to tie the game. He even had a good turn at the plate, hitting a triple at his very first major league at-bat, becoming only the 4th pitcher since 1974 to do that. He wound up going 1 for 3. Welcome to the majors, "Hammer"! I can't wait to see him pitch again.

The bullpen of Ray King, Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero did well, with only Rauch being a little bit shaky as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but he held on to the Nats lead to give Chad Cordero the chance to get his 21st save (which he did) and get himself his 7th win.

Ryan Report: Has the phrase "like night versus day" ever been more appropriate? The "R-Squad", which was basically neutralized this afternoon, came back to life this evening, though Church got the night off. Zimmerman went 2 for 4 with a walk and an R.B.I., Langerhans went 1 for 3 with the CRUCIAL game-winning R.B.I., and Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 5.

The Nats racked-up another 6 hits from D'Angelo Jimenez (2 for 4, with a double, an R.B.I. and a walk), Ronnie Belliard (2 for 5 with a double and 2 R.B.I's), Dmitri Young (1 for 4 with an R.B.I.) and John Hanrahan (1 for 3).

This game is easily a candidate for one of the Nats most exciting games of the year, made so because they were playing the N.L. East-leading New York Mets, playing IN New York's Shea Stadium (always a hostile environment for visiting teams), the drama of playing the 2nd game of the day, the added drama of a visiting pitcher making his major league debut, jumping ahead 3-0 in the 2nd, the Mets tying the game 3-0 in the 6th, the Nats surging ahead in the 8th to make it 6-3, then holding on for dear life as the Mets rallied to make the score 6-5. The old Coney Island rollercoaster in nearby Brooklyn never provided as many up-and-down thrills as this game.

3 down, 1 to go. Could the underdog Nats actually win this series, embarrassing the Mets in their own ballpark? At least they can't lose the series. Billy Traber takes the mound, but their best hitter, All-Star Dmitri Young will sit out the game to get two days off in a row (Monday being an off-day).

I can't wait to see what happens. Gametime 1:10.

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