Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Twins’

Werth, Nats Trounce The Phils — Head To The Break

Monday, July 14th, 2014

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Jayson Werth is the Nationals hottest hitter in July and he only got hotter on Sunday. Facing off against his old team, the Nationals right fielder showed why he’s “worth” every cent of the contract Washington gave him several years ago, going 2-3 and driving in four runs in the Nationals rout of the Phillies, 10-3.

In a season of injuries to its Opening Day line-up, Werth has been the team’s steadiest and most productive player. And he’s been particularly hot in July, just as the fight for the N.L. East crown has also started to heat up. Werth is 15-40 (.375) with six homers and 19 RBIs since the beginning of the month. Werth’s power and value were on full display in Philadelphia.

Washington’s offensive outburst on Sunday (ten runs, two doubles and two home runs), supported a strong outing from Nats starter Tanner Roark, who rebounded from his last two uneven starts. Roark held the Phillies to just four hits in seven complete innings of work.

“I’m pitching with confidence, and I really didn’t try to nibble,” Roark said of his performance on Sunday. “The changeup was working today. That helped me get out of a jam a couple of times. The changeup was the biggest thing as far as getting ahead.”

The victory kept the Nationals in first place in the N.L. East, with a 51-42 record. The Braves are at 52-43, while the Mets, Marlins and Phillies are at least seven games back. Struggling Philadelphia is in last place, a full ten games off the pace.

“Considering everything that is going on, we are OK,” Nats manager Matt Williams said following his team’s victory. “We are right in the thick of our division. We have a chance. That’s all we could ask for, considering what’s going on. I’m happy about it.”

The Nationals run scoring barrage on Sunday (Denard Span was 2-5, Anthony Rendon 3-5 and Ryan Zimmerman and Werth each hit home runs), put three runs on the board in the first frame, then followed it up with a 4-spot in the 6th. The team added a single run in the 8th and two more in the 9th.

Washington’s hitters took advantage of Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick, with the veteran throwing into the 6th inning, but giving up five runs on five hits. This was the second poor outing in a row against the Nationals for Kendrick, who lost to the Nats back on June 5. The struggling Kendrick took the loss and is now 4-9 on the year.

Phillies hitters were particularly ineffective against Roark, scoring a single run against him in the 6th. The Phillies put two runs on the board in the 9th inning against Washington reliever Aaron Barrett. Ross Detwiler put in another inning of stellar work, shutting the Phillies down in the 8th.

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: A much deserving Tyler Clippard was named to the National League All Star team which will played in Minneapolis on Tuesday. This will be Clippard’s second appearance as an All Star. He was on the All Star game in 2011, and picked up the win for the National League . . .

“I’m honored to do it. I feel like the Nationals need some representation,” Clippard said. “Jordan wasn’t able to be there. I was afraid we might not have anybody in uniform, so I’m just happy to go out there and just represent our team and maybe get into a game and see what happens . . . ”

Our opinion is that the National League has the edge in the Home Run Derby competition. The A.L.’s Jose Bautista is a feared participant in these kinds of things, but Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton is our odds-on favorite to win it all. But we’ll watch the Twins Brian Dozier with particular interest, as he’s a relative unknown for both Nats and National League fans . . .

Yesterday, in Colorado, Dozier sent two blasts into the seats at Coors Field, as the Twins knocked down the Rockies, 13-5. Dozier had what has to be pretty close to a career day. He was 3-6 with four RBIs and two home runs, his 17th and 18th on the year . . .

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Nats Sweep The Mets, 7-2

Friday, September 13th, 2013

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Nationals newbie Tanner Roark threw six innings of six hit baseball while his teammates supported him with four home runs, and the Nationals downed the Mets in New York, 7-2, for a four game series sweep on Thursday. The win kept Washington in the hunt for the last Wild Card slot in the National League.

The Nationals came into the game with nine home runs off of Mets pitching in the last three games, but exited it with thirteen. Ryan Zimmerman homered in the first inning (it was his 23rd), Adam Laroche hit his 20th in the second, Wilson Ramos added his 13th in the fifth and Anthony Rendon hit his seventh home run in the 9th.

“Oh man, it was a lot of fun. It’s a good way to finish up New York, sweeping the Mets,” Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson said of the team’s sixth straight victory. “There were a lot of good things all around.” Washington’s long-ball offensive victimized Mets’ starter Aaron Harang and five New York relievers.

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This was Harang’s first start for the Mets after being signed as a free agent on September 1. But the veteran righty’s debut did not go as planned: he gave up four hits and three earned runs in six innings. He was responsible for serving up three of the Nats’ four home runs.

The Nationals-Mets match-up had gotten increasingly testy over four games, and threatened to turn ugly on Thursday after Mets’ reliever Frank Francisco plunked Jayson Werth on a 3-0 count in the 8th inning. Werth exchanged words with Francisco as he trotted to first base.

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Nats Can’t Solve Lannan

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

John Lannan tamed his former teammates on Monday night in Philadelphia, pitching his new team to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals by throwing eight innings of four hit baseball. For Lannan, the win might have marked the best outing of his career.

“You know, at this point I’m just looking for some consistency,” Lannan said of his outing. “It didn’t really matter who I was facing. I had to go out there and throw up some zeros and I really haven’t done that all year. It’s something to build off of.”

The game marked the return of Dan Haren to the Washington rotation, and the veteran righty got into immediate trouble. In the bottom of the first inning, Haren allowed three singles, a wild pitch and a walk, but then settled down to give the Nats five full innings of work.

“I was pleased with his command. I was pleased with his stuff,” manager Davey Johnson said of Haren. “He threw a lot of pitches, and that’s the reason I didn’t let him go back out there, but he threw the ball really good. I’m glad to have him back.”

The middle of the Nationals order continued to provide the team with its punch — as they had done in the previous two series. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each collected two hits, and Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche provided the teams’ RBIs.

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Take Two: Nats Rally In Nightcap

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The Nationals came from three runs down to take the second game of a day-night doubleheader, beating the Twins last night at Nationals Park, 5-4. It was the first time the team had rallied from three runs behind all season. After the victory, the Nationals headed to Colorado, where they will begin a three city nine game road trip.

“This was huge, we really needed this,” shortstop Ian Desmond said after the Nationals had swept the Sunday twin bill. After posting a 7-0 blowout on Sunday afternoon, the Nats continued to scorch Twins’ pitching with ten hits, scoring single runs in the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

“It was a good feeling when you’re behind and you keep chipping away, you don’t give up. This was probably our best ballgame,” center fielder Denard Span told reporters after the win. “Normally early on in the season when we would get behind, we would just fold and give away at-bats. [Today] we just kept fighting and having good at-bats.”

The key to victory in the second game, however, was not simply the hitting, but the bullpen’s continued ability to keep their opponents out of the scoring column. After a rocky outing from Nathan Karns, Craig Stammen pitched two innings of hitless ball to allow the Nationals to get back in the game.

The offense responded by mounting a comeback that was sparked by a Denard Span triple in the 6th (which scored Anthony Rendon — tying the game), and by back-to-back doubles (from Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond) that put the Nationals on top to stay in the bottom of the 7th.

In this game, at least, the victory proceeded as the Nationals intended: with Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano pitching the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Tyler Clippard got the win, Drew Storen notched his eighth hold and Rafael Soriano accounted for his sixteenth save.

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Nats Roll On 7 Runs, 14 Hits

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

It seems like forever, but the last time the Nationals won this big was against the Orioles, back on May 29. On Sunday, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader, the Nationals finally broke their bats loose for a 7-0 pasting of the Minnesota Twins, the first time they’d scored that many runs since beating the O’s 9-3.

The seven run outburst backed yet another top-notch outing from Nats’ righty Jordan Zimmermann, who held the Twins to just two hits while pitching seven complete innings. Ian Krol and Xavier Cedeno pitched the 8th and 9th innings in completing the shutout.

Zimmermann is now 9-3 with a 2.00 ERA on the season, but has been perfect at Nationals’ Park since losing to the Pirates at home in May of 2012. It is likely that Zimmermann might have been able to throw a complete game, but he ended the 7th inning having thrown 111 pitches, 77 of them for strikes.

The Nats outburst, meanwhile, was paced by two hits from newbie Jeff Kobernus, two hits from Jayson Werth and Adam Laroche, a 3-4 day from Ian Desmond — and three RBIs from new second sacker Anthony Rendon. The Nationals victimized Twins’ starter Scott Diamond, who wasn’t able to make it out of the 5th inning, when the Nationals put five runs on the board.

Diamond, a second year Twins’ southpaw gave up seven runs in all (with six of them earned) on ten hits. Diamond entered the game with his ERA at 4.82 on the season, but he left in the fifth inning with his ERA at 5.19.

The Nationals are now 30-31 on the season and have climbed back into second place in the National League East, the result of a 9-1 Philadelphia loss at the hands of the Brewers.

Twins Killing

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

A Ryan Doumit single in the 11th inning off of reliever Craig Stammen gave the Minnesota Twins an extra innings 4-3 win at Nationals Park on Saturday, sinking the home towners to two games under .500. The Doumit single deepened Washington skipper Davey Johnson’s sense of frustration over the Nats inability to score.

Stammen was the seventh reliever used by Johnson on Saturday, and the only one of the seven to give up a run to Minnesota. The slate of relievers followed another good but not great outing from southpaw Gio Gonzalez who threw six complete innings while, unusually, giving up four walks.

Despite the walks, it’s hard to imagine that Gonzalez could have given his teammates a better chance to win. He threw 114 pitches, 75 of them for strikes. But frustration set in for Gonzalez when he walked batters, and he showed it on the mound. He remains stuck at just three wins for the season.

Washington’s bullpen was surprisingly effective, particularly given the new faces that now populate it. Fernando Abad, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Rafael Soriano, Erik Davis and Ian Krol all contributed on Saturday, holding the Twins scoreless in four complete innings of work.

Washington’s line-up, meanwhile, was again ineffective against a starter that they should have hit — but couldn’t. Minnesota’s Kevin Correia threw into the 7th inning, while registering seven strikeouts. “We got some hits, but didn’t string them together,” Washington first sacker Adam LaRoche said following the loss. “We need to start getting three and four in an inning, pushing some guys across.”

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A San Francisco Treat: Nats Snatch A Victory In Extras

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Nats southpaw Gio Gonzalez pitched brilliantly in San Francisco on Wednesday, and the Nationals denied the Giants a sweep of their series, winning in ten innings off of an Ian Desmond single. The team needed a pick-up after Tuesday night’s now-controversial debacle, and Gonzalez provided it.

Gonzalez gave up only four hits and struck out five, limiting the McCoveys to a single run in almost eight complete innings of work before being relieved by Drew Storen. The suddenly unsteady righty then proceeded to give up the tying run to San Francisco, and the Nationals went into extra innings knotted at a run apiece.

But in the 10th inning, with Bryce Harper on second and Ryan Zimmerman on first, shortstop Ian Desmond guided a Jeremy Affeldt offering into right field, scoring the go-ahead run. Rafael Soriano came on in the bottom of the 10th, setting down the Giants in order — and preserving the win.

The Ian Desmond single came after Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy decided that Affeldt should intentionally walk Ryan Zimmerman and pitch to Desmond, who’s been slumping lately. “Numbers may have indicated that was the right move to do,” Desmond said after the win. “But I was 100 percent confident I was going to get the job done right there.”

The Nationals win was only their fourth in the last ten games and came during a classic pitching duel that pitted Gonzalez against an as-effective Madison Bumgarner, who matched Gonzalez pitch-for-pitch. Their pitching lines were exactly the same — except for Harper’s home run.

“He’s one of the best guys I face all year. He knows what he’s doing out there, and the Giants are very lucky to have him,” Harper said of the San Francisco southpaw. “Going out there and facing a guy like Bumgarner is a lot of fun. I look forward to those matchups for hopefully the rest of our careers.”

The big stories of the game were Gio’s mound performance, Desmond’s go-ahead single — and Bryce Harper’s day at the plate. The Nats’ right fielder was 2-5 on the day and hit his 12th home run.

The victory lifted the teams’ spirits as the Nationals boarded a flight for their return to Washington, where they will face the Phillies, Orioles and the surging Braves (they beat the Twins today, their sixth in a row) in a ten game home stand. “It’s going to be a good flight back home,” Gonzalez said.

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