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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nats sink Maine, Mets 9-8, take series OR Déja-vu all over again

I had to check my calendar last night. It read, "September 18th", not "February 2nd". No, it wasn't "Groundhog Day", but it sure must've seemed like that to the New York Mets. Once again, they took an early lead, only to see the Nats rally and triumph.

Starter Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan, like Tim Hudson the night before, didn't bring his best stuff. He lasted 3 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits. The bullpen came to the rescue, though, with Mike Bacsik, Winston Abreau, Jésus Colomé (who got the win), Saul Rivera, Arnie Muñoz, Chris Schroeder, Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero (who got his 35th save) allowed only 3 more runs, and held off the National League East division leaders for the second consecutive night, winning 9-8 and taking at least 2 of 3 games. I loved what's Bill Ladson had to say about Chad Cordero's 9th inning thrills: "
..closer Chad Cordero gave the Nationals their usual scare."

Ryan Report: Church didn't play, Zimmerman went 1 for 4 with a double, Langerhans went 0 for 1, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 4 with a homer and 2 R.B.I.'s.

Nook Logan also had a good night, going 2 for 5 with a triple, Wily Mo Peña went 1 for 4 with an R.B.I., Ronnie Belliard was on fire, going 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 R.B.I.'s, Robert Fick went 2 for 3 with a walk, Brian Schneider went 1 for 3 with an R.B.I., and D'Angelo Jimenez went 1 for 1 with a R.B.I. in a pinch-hitting role.

Box score here.

My own feelings of Déja-vu came when I began driving towards the stadium, having not been able to get off of work early. Before the Nats even got to the plate, while I was still not even at the parking lot yet, the score was 4-0 Mets. I thought to myself, "Well, last night the Nats were behind 4-0 and that turned out okay." I wasn't expecting to win, I just wanted them to make a game of it and not get disgraced and humiliated. Little did I know what thrills awaited me.

The fire department was in attendance for their honorary night at the ballpark, and there were two big engines with the American flag suspended between their ladders out in front of R.F.K. It was a lovely sight. I gave some money to a firefighter collecting money for burn victims, that always feels good, I actually enjoy the opportunity to give at the stadium when charities are collecting.

71 degrees and clear for the just-under 20,000 crowd, and it was another gorgeous night for baseball. Saw Rico but no Ellie (family problem) and I got my usual Capital Q Barbecue beef brisket sandwich and a beer from Howard, and I watched the Nats second consecutive improbable rally. What fun! I joked to some fans that the Nats were reliving history, and we were witnessing the "Sinking of the Maine" right in front of our eyes.

Gotta make the most of these last home games, and with the surging Philadelphia Phillies on their way in for the last 4 games beginning Thursday, this may be the last chance to grab a thrilling win at R.F.K. I dearly hope that I'm wrong.

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