Good, Bad, & Ugly: Nats' Nyjer Morgan Breaks Hand in 5-4 Win over Cubs

Dave NicholsSenior Analyst IAugust 27, 2009

DENVER - JULY 06:  Nyjer Morgan #1 of the Washington Nationals steals secondbase ahead of the tag of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies in the third inning during MLB action at Coors Field on July 6, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


THE RESULT: The Washington Nationals jumped all over Chicago Cubs starter Randy Wells in the first three innings, staking their claim on a 5-0 lead. The Cubs chipped away at the mark, but fell one run short, dropping the rubber match of this three-game set, 5-4, before 35,174 at Wrigley Field.
The Nationals are 46-82 this season, 20-21 under interim manager Jim Riggleman. They are 14-11 in August.
It's the first time the Nats have won a series in Chicago since 2005.
The game started like a track meet. Nyjer Morgan drew an opening walk, stole second and then stole third. Cristian Guzman doubled to score Morgan, and Zimmerman followed with a blast into the second row of the left-center field bleachers.
Morgan, however, did not take the field following the third out. According to, Morgan broke his left hand sliding into third and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
Nats starter J.D. Martin wasn't his sharpest, in the fall-like conditions off Lake Michigan, with game-time temperatures in the low 60s. But Martin stuck around for five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and two walks. He allowed two homers, Aramis Ramirez' two-run shot (11), and Derrek Lee's solo shot, his 25th of the season.
But he limited the damage and evened his record to 3-3.
Guzman's fielder's choice in the second plated Martin in the second inning, and Dunn's mammoth shot to center in the third closed the scoring for the Nats.
Lee's homer in the fifth off Martin cut the lead to 5-3. The Cubs got another in the seventh against Tyler Clippard. Second baseman Jeff Baker walked to lead off, and after two outs, Lee singled, moving Baker up 60 feet.
Ramirez (3-for-4, three RBI) singled to center, and Baker scored to draw the home team within one run.
Sean Burnett relieved Clippard to face Kosuke Fukudome. On a 2-2 count, Clippard uncorked a wild pitch and Lee tried to score. But Josh Bard recovered and made a nice play to nab the less-than-speedy Lee at the plate.
Mike MacDougal went one and two-thirds to notch his 14th save of the season.
THE TAKEAWAY: Adam Dunn is quietly approaching an incredible milestone. He is now six home runs shy of becoming the first player in Major League history since Babe Ruth to record six straight 40-home run seasons.
You read that right. The first.
Not Lou Gerhig. Not Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds. Not Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa.
The first.  And he'll do it as a Washington National.
THE GOOD: Willie Harris. Inserted for Morgan after his injury, Harris went 1-for-1 with three walks. A perfect day at the plate.
THE BAD: Ronnie Belliard. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
THE UGLY: Morgan's wrist. The slo-mo replay looked pretty ugly, as he jammed his left wrist and bent it hard forward as he slid hands first into third base.
He missed a couple games due to illness, returning for today's game. The Nats are a different club when he's in the lineup, but it sounds like they will miss their catalyst the rest of the season.
Morgan was hitting .351 with 35 runs, a homer, 12 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 49 games with the Nationals.
NEXT GAME: The Nats go to St. Louis to face the Cardinals, Friday at 8:15 pm ET. John Lannan (8-9, 4.03) looks to rebound from a couple of rough starts against newly-acquired John Smoltz (3-5, 7.40).