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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Nats rally to pound Cardinals 12-1 OR Hanrahan hammers, Zimmerman zings!

Lots of baseball history was made on Saturday.

The New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez became the youngest major league player to reach 500 career homeruns.

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds tied Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron's career homerun record of 755, at San Diego.

And at R.F.K. Stadium, Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan won his first home game in his home debut and hit his first major league double which drove in 2 runs (another personal first), and Ryan Zimmerman hit 2 homeruns, for the first time in his career.

In front of 29,252, the Washington Nationals extended their winning streak to 5 games, improving their record to 50-60 and moved to within 1/2 a game behind the 4th place Florida Marlins.

Starter Joel Hanrahan ("The Hammer", I call him) pitched very well indeed, going 5 innings, and allowing only the 1 run (a homerun) on 3 hits, walked 3 and struck out 3. He threw 57 strikes on 93 pitches (57%) and greatly helped his own cause, going 1 for 1 at the plate with a double and 2 R.B.I.'s.

The bullpen of Saul Rivera, Billy Traber and Chris Schroeder was almost perfect, allowing no runs and only 4 hits and 2 walks.

Ryan Report: Okay! Church went 1 for 4, Zimmerman went 2 for 5, both of them homeruns, driving in 3 R.B.I.'s - it was Zimmerman's 1st multi-homer game of his career - Langerhans was 0 for 1, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 5.

The Nats got 14 hits, and the rest came from Felipe Lopez (1 for 3), Dmitri Young went 3 for 4 with a double, Nook Logan went 3 for 3 with a walk, a double and 2 R.B.I.'s, Brian Schneider went 2 for 3 with a homerun and 2 R.B.I's and a walk, and Tony Batista went 1 for 1 with an R.B.I.

Saturday night's game might be the hottest night game I've ever attended. It was 93 degrees at first-pitch, with a 5 m.p.h. wind, and it was just muggy as all get-out. There was a haze over the field, which only worsened every time Zimmerman or Schneider got a homerun and fireworks would go off. I got to leave work late, but still early enough to get to the ballpark and get inside early. No Ellie and no Rico still - perhaps they're just off for the weekend. I had to drop off something at Gate F, and I met a woman who was upset and wished to speak with someone about the bottled water policy - she'd had hers confiscated because it didn't have a label on it. I gave her one of mine, and a Nationals official took her information to clarify the bottled water policy, but in the meantime she gave the fan several bottles of chilled Aquafina water, plus a knit cap for her trouble. A VERY nice response by the club! For the record, I believe the reason the fan had her water confiscated was explained at the gate as, her water didn't have store labels on it, so there was no way to prove that it came from a store (as opposed to a home refill or some such). The rules DO state that it must be sealed, but nothing in the official A-Z ballpark guide states that it must have a label.

More Capital Q Barbecue beef brisket sandwich and a beer from Howard and I was good to go.

It was "Thomas Jefferson Bobblehead Night" and I wasted no time going in to retrieve mine.
The line moved fairly quickly.

With the Nats racking up a ridiculous score of 12-1, the fans I was speaking with were just as perplexed as I was - How are we supposed to react? What are we supposed to do? We're not used to being in this situation. I met some nice fans, and we cheered and high-fived and enjoyed ourselves tremendously despite the sitz-bath-type weather.

All that was missing was the sound system playing, "They'll be a hot time in the old town tonight."

The Nats improved to 29-29 at home. And I feel as though I can remember every thrilling win and every agonizing loss. Thank goodness the thrilling wins are now starting to pile up.

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