Good, Bad, & Ugly: Nationals Streak Goes to Eight, Defeat D-Backs 9-2
"We were outplayed. They beat us."-- Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, Aug. 9, 2009.
THE RESULTS: Adam Dunn hit his 30th home run of the season, Ryan Zimmerman added three hits, and Elijah Dukes drove in three as the Washington Nationals took a tight game and turned it into a laugher, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-2, for their eighth straight victory, the longest such winning streak since June 2005.
The Nats also registered their 40th win of the season, officially terminating my book deal.
On a miserably hot and humid day, J.D. Martin toiled for 86 pitches in five innings, notching his first major league victory, and earning a shaving cream pie in the face by "ace" John Lannan. It was the second consecutive day for such hijinks, as Garrett Mock got his Saturday for his first win as a starter in the bigs.
Martin (W, 1-2, 5.91) allowed just one run, a solo shot by Trent Oeltjen to lead off the game. He gave up five hits and a walk, and struck out just one. Martin got 10 fly ball outs compared to just three ground outs and threw 52 of his 86 pitches for strikes.
The bullpen once again got the job done, despite putting a few runners on base. Jorge Sosa notched his second save in as many days, pitching the last two and one-third innings.
D-backs starter Yusmeiro Petit (2-6, 5.87) took the loss.
Five Nats had multi-hit games, totalling 16 hits and four walks in all. The team scored nine runs, but also left 10 men on base. Zimmerman continued his hot streak, going 3-for-5 and scoring three times. He has now hit in 13 straight games and continues his stellar defense.
"You're confident -- no matter what part of the game it is," Zimmerman said. "It's a good feeling. It's contagious just like everything else."
Nyjer Morgan, Cristian Guzman, Elijah Dukes, and Alberto Gonzalez each had two hits apiece in the attack.
Dunn's 30th in the first inning captured the lead for the Nats after Oeltjen's leadoff homer. "I knew we were capable of playing like this," Dunn said. "I wish we would have played this loose and had fun early in the year, and we wouldn't be how many games back."
THE TAKEAWAY: Winning eight games in a row certainly breeds confidence.
The big story from Sunday was the potential claiming of Cristian Guzman off waivers by the Boston Red Sox, as reported in Sunday's Boston Globe.
Should the Red Sox be awarded the waiver claim, the two teams would then have 48 hours to work out a deal, allow the Sox to just assume Guzman's contract, or the Nats can withdraw the waivers.
Guzman is owed $8 million next year on his contract, and that money could go a long way this off-season as the Nats look to get younger and more athletic in their middle infield, or could go toward a veteran starting pitcher to stabilize a ridiculously young starting rotation.
THE GOOD: Elijah Dukes. He went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Hes really producing out of the six-spot, driving in 10 runs in the three-game weekend series.
THE BAD: Ron Villone. He did not give up a run, but he tried. The 39-year old veteran gave up more hits (3) than outs registered (2).
THE UGLY: Arizona's defense. Second in the league in errors, the D-backs added three more to their total on Sunday. Sound familiar?
NEXT GAME: After playing 25 straight days, the Nationals mercifully get a day off Monday, as they travel to Atlanta for a two-game series. Games Tuesday and Wednesday are both at 7:10 PM.
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