Washington Nationals

Good, Bad, and Ugly: Nationals Stage Late Rally, Beat Dodgers 11-9

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 07:  Nick Johnson #24 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-RBI double in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 7, 2009 at Dodger Stadiium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Dave NicholsSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2009
THE RESULT: The Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-9 with a late-inning comeback, scoring all 11 runs after the fifth inning.
Reliever Ron Villone (1-0), activated earlier in the day and who arrived at Dodger Stadium in the second inning, pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the win in his first appearance for the Nats (8-18-1). He must be thinking, "What's the big deal?"
Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up six runs before much of the crowd had found their seat, surrendering all six runs in the bottom of the first. But he settled down and allowed just one more hit and one more walk in the next five innings, giving his hitters a chance to get back into it.
Washington got a solo home run from Josh Willingham in the sixth, three in the seventh—highlighted by Adam Dunn's two-run double, six in the eighth, and one more in the ninth.
All eight starting position players had hits, and all but Elijah Dukes had multiple hits, as the Nats pounded six Dodgers relievers for 13 hits.
Ryan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 25 games in the win.
THE TAKEAWAY: It was coincidence that the Nats were playing the Dodgers when they latter broke the MLB record for consecutive home victories to start the season Wednesday night. It was further coincidence that they would also play the Dodgers the day they found out Manny Ramirez would be suspended 50 games for PED use.
Ramirez was suspended for the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a female fertility drug. HCG is popular among steroid users because it can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of the drugs.
All of this, combined with the daily soap opera that is this bullpen, and getting down 6-0 after the first inning? You can imagine all the TVs in the DC area shutting off after the Dodger rally in the first inning.
THE GOOD: Nick Johnson. He went 3-for-6 with two runs and three RBIs with a double. He's hitting .319/.409/.415 for the season. Anderson Hernandez went 3-for-4 in the eighth spot in the order.
THE BAD: Kip Wells. Brought into an 11-7 game, he gave up two runs on four hits in the bottom of the ninth. With the Nats, it ain't over 'til it's over.
THE UGLY: One of the contributing factors to the six-run first inning was a misplayed fly ball that landed between CF Dukes and RF Dunn. It doesn't go as an error, since neither player touched it, but it's plays like this that continue to doom the Nats.
Oh, and another scored error, this time on Zimmerman at third.

NEXT GAME: Tonight from Chase Field in Arizona at 9:40 PM EDT. Shairon Martis (3-0, 4.60) faces Yusmeiro Petit (0-2, 7.84).
Yesterday, the Diamondbacks fired manager Bob Melvin, hitting coach Rick Schu and pitching coach Bryan Price. Melvin will be replaced by A.J. Hinch, the director of the club's farm system. Hinch is a former major league catcher.
Seems like the circus follows the Nationals around, doesn't it?

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