Good, Bad & Ugly: Nationals Cash in on Error By Reds, Win 3-2

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IJune 12, 2009

MIAMI - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Florida Marlins on opening day at Dolphin Stadium on April 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

"We can't slug away every single day. We're going to have to win some 3-2, 2-1 ball games and for that, we're going to need the big hits. "—Manny Acta, Jun. 11, 2009.

THE RESULT: Ryan Zimmerman bounced a tailor-made, inning-ending, double play ball to shortstop Alex Gonzalez with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Only on this night, the Reds would err. Alberto Gonzalez made a hard slide into second, forcing the normally reliable second baseman Brandon Phillips to make a bad throw to first, and both Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman scored on the play, giving the Washington Nationals a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds before 19,703 at Nationals Park.

The rally started with Willie Harris and Anderson Hernandez both slapping pinch-hit singles against Reds reliever Carlos Fisher. Danny Herrera relieved and Cristian Guzman tried to sacrifice, but Herrera (L, 0-2) made a nice play to nail Harris, the lead runner, at third.

Gonzales then singled to right, and Hernandez should have scored on that play, but either misread the ball or was deked by center fielder Willy Taveras. Regardless, the bases were loaded with Zimmerman, who got down the line just quick enough to keep from getting doubled up before the ball got away from first baseman Adam Rosales.

Joe Beimel had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his first save of the season. Closer Mike MacDougal was unavailable,as he pitched the last three days in a row.

Starter John Lannan did not have his best stuff this afternoon, but was solid. He gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks, striking out two. Julien Tavarez pitched two scoreless to get the win and raise his record to 2-3.

THE TAKEAWAY: It was another quality start for Lannan with no reward at the end of the effort. He is fifth in the National League for worst run support at 3.8 runs per game. Washington got nine hits and six walks, but left 14 runners on base.

The Nats got their leadoff hitter on base from the third inning on, but could not score until the eighth.

THE GOOD: Alberto Gonzalez. He went 1-for-3 and a walk, but more importantly was the take-out slide against Brandon Phillips in the eighth. Were he not hustling there, Zimmerman's RBI fielder's choice would have been an inning-ending double play.

THE BAD: Zimmerman's throwing error in the second inning allowed an unearned run to score.

THE UGLY: Austin Kearns. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and left four runners on, striking out twice. With six games in A.L. parks coming up, manager Manny Acta went on record today saying Dunn would DH, Willingham will be in left and Kearns in right.

If he doesn't show something in the next week or so with increased playing time, he might be play himself off the roster. He's hitting .206 overall, and since May 5 is hitting .162/.269/.206. That's right, slugging .206. He's an automatic out.

NEXT GAME: Washington starts an interleague road trip with a jaunt down to Tampa Bay. Craig Stammen (0-2, 6.45) faces Matt Garza (4-4, 3.55).


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