"I can't lie to you, it feels good to win a ballgame."-- Jim Riggleman, July 21, 2009.
THE RESULT: John Lannan was masterful in a complete-game, seven-hit shut out of the New York Mets, breaking the Washington Nationals six-game losing streak, in front of 23,414 enthusiastic Nats fans.
Lannan threw 106 pitches, 80 for strikes. The left-hander coaxed 15 ground ball outs — with two double plays—against just nine fly outs, with just one strikeout.
Lannan (7-7) retired 17 of the last 19 Mets hitters.
"I've never considered myself a dominating pitcher," Lannan said. "I don't think the guys over in the Mets clubhouse are like, 'Wow, that guy dominated me.' I just made good pitches, down in the zone."
Washington got all the offense it needed in the fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns drew walks, sandwiching an Adam Dunn single, against Mets starter Oliver Perez (L, 2-3, 7.68) after one out.
Alberto Gonzalez lined out to right fielder Jeff Francoeur—but Francoeur dropped the ball. Zimmerman scored on the play but Kearns was forced at second. Wil Nieves then delivered a key single to right field, scoring Dunn.
The following inning, Dunn singled in Nyjer Morgan, who was hit by a pitch and stole second and Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring.
But the story was the unassuming left-hander from Long Island.
THE TAKEAWAY: Lannan even gave Riggleman the game ball after the win.
Tonight's performance evens Lannan's record and lowered his ERA to 3.38. It was a truly outstanding performance for a pitcher that is learning how to win.
Courtesy of Nationals Journal: "I'm very deceptive. If a guy is mis-hitting an 88-mph fastball, there's something going on. There has to be a little bit of funk. That has to help me trust my stuff is a little bit better."
THE GOOD: Adam Dunn. 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.
THE BAD: Cristian Guzman. 0-for-4. Though he did make a terrific defensive play, robbing Alex Cora of a base hit with a strong throw from the hole.
THE UGLY: Oliver Perez. Four hits and six walks in six innings. Yuck.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:05 pm in the finale with the Mets. Craig Stammen (2-5, 4.46) faces Mike Pelfrey (7-5, 5.07).