Posts Tagged ‘Sean Burnett’

The Cards Stun The Nats, 12-4

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

During the regular season, this would have been one of those forgettable games — with a young pitcher having an off day, and the Nationals hoping to bounce back from a poor performance. But in the playoffs, a 12-4 loss at the hands of a rejuvenated line-up is a sign of a knock-down series where both teams will fight to the very last. And the loser will go home.

The Cardinals, the best hitting team in the N.L., banged out thirteen hits, including homes runs from Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and Carlos Beltran, and notched a must-win victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to knot their five game series against the Nationals in the N.L.D.S. at one game each.

The Cardinals victimized seven Nationals pitchers while rolling to victory, including young starter Jordan Zimmermann, who lasted only three innings while giving up seven hits and five earned runs — one of his worst outings of the year. “It’s definitely tough. I wanted to go out there and go deep into the game and try to get out of here with two wins. I didn’t do my part,” Zimmermann said of the loss.

This was, by all measures, a debacle: Zimmermann’s breakdown is unusual for him, except when he pitches against the Cardinals. The young Auburndale ace has a snappy ERA against the rest of the National League, but when it comes to St. Louis, he seems to freeze up. The Post’s Tom Boswell points to his his 9.76 ERA against the Redbirds in his six career starts against them.

Washington’s relievers, a normally steady presence during the regular season, were also ineffective on Monday. Craig Stammen, Christian Garcia, Michael Gonzalez, Ryan Mattheus, Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny combined to give up six hits and six earned runs in just five innings of work.

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Nats Finish As The Best In Baseball

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

No one, but no one, would have thought this back in 2005 — when the Nationals arrived in Washington, D.C.. And only a handful (and maybe not even that) would have thought this at the beginning of this year.

But today the Washington Nationals closed out the 2012 campaign with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to seal the best record in the major leagues. It’s now official: the Nationals are the best team in baseball. This was their 98th victory.

The Nationals are not only the best team in baseball, they’re the team to beat in the playoffs. Today showed why. The Phillies (who used to be called the reigning N.L. East Champs, until the Nats snatched the title away) were tamed handily by Edwin Jackson, who threw 6.2 convincing innings, giving up a single run with six strikeouts.

The Nationals played their subs, or at least many of them, but it didn’t matter. The D.C. Nine boasted home runs from Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse, while Washington stroked eleven hits. Even Jonathan Papelbon, hoping to end his season on a high note, was victimized for two runs in the Nationals’ 8th.

Relievers Christian Garcia, Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez finished off what Jackson started, blanking Phillie in just over two innings of work: they made it look easy. This was a historic season for the Nationals: they not only locked up the top seed in the post-season, their 98 wins were 18 more than last year — nearly unheard of in baseball.

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Suzuki, Stammen Save The Nats In St. Louis

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

The September roller coaster continues. The Nationals were nine outs away from a 4-0 victory, then three outs away from a 4-3 victory, but in neither instance could they hold the lead — and it took a heroic 10th inning that included a two RBI double from Kurt Suzuki and a lights-out relief performance from Craig Stammen for the team to come away with a 6-4 victory in St. Louis.

The extra inning triumph shaved the Nationals magic number to clinch the N.L. East flag to one, which could come today when they close out their series against the Cardinals. “We’re going to be ready, lace it up and let’s get it done,” Washington closer Drew Storen said after last night’s win.”

The Nationals were staked to an early lead from left fielder Michael Morse, whose line drive grand slam home run in the first inning provided a strange start for the game: after the umpires retreated to the clubhouse to determine whether the ball had actually left the field, they required Morse and his teammates to rerun the bases.

While at the plate, Morse added his own touch — swinging a phantom bat, complete with a phantom swing. “I guess I didn’t have to do that,” he admitted, following the victory, “but if I didn’t do it and they were like, ‘No! You’re out!’ I would never sleep again.”

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Nats Take The First Of Two From L.A.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

After suffering through a three game funk in Atlanta, it appears that the playoff bound Washington Nationals have finally broken out, with a 3-1 victory over the up-and-down Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a double header on Wednesday at Nationals Park. The much needed victory gave Jordan Zimmermann his 11th victory on the year.

Kurt Suzuki and Ryan Zimmerman — and starter JZ, of course — were the heroes of Wednesday’s match-up, a postponed make-up game from Tuesday’s wash-out. Catcher Suzuki accounted for Washington’s first run, on a sacrifice fly that scored Michael Morse in the bottom of the second, while Ryan Zimmerman scored Bryce Harper on a ground out to the right side in the bottom of the 5th.

The Nationals stroked ten hits off of L.A. starter Aaron Harang, who registered his tenth loss on the season. But this was a tough and close game for the Nationals and for starter Zimmermann, and the Dodgers have always played the hometown nine tough.

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Nats Nip Cards To Take Series Win

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

“All these games are big games,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said on Sunday. And that is assuredly true. But after Saturday night’s 10-9 slugfest loss to the Cardinals, Nats fans were hoping their team could come back strong, not only keeping pressure on the trailing Atlanta Braves, but showing they can play tough against the National League’s best hitting team.

And that’s exactly what happened, as starter Stephen Strasburg held the Cardinals to just two hits in six innings, while striking out nine. But, despite Strasburg’s brilliance, the player of the game for the Nationals was undoubtedly Kurt Suzuki, the former A’s catcher who was 2-3 with two RBIs, including a fourth inning dinger off of Cardinals’ starter Jake Westbrook.

In addition to his heroics in the batters’s box, Suzuki swiped Allen Craig at the plate in the 3rd on a single-bounce throw from center fielder Bryce Harper. The play at the plate, and Suzuki’s swipe out, brought the 31,000-plus fans at Nationals Park to their feet, and gave the Nationals the tenacious nudge they needed in hanging on for the win. Suzuki was 2-3 on the day, with two RBIs.

“Just outstanding,” Johnson said of Suzuki’s play. “Just outstanding.” And he added that Harper’s throw from right was “the kind that a veteran makes.” Yet, and in spite of Sunday’s Strasburg-Harper-Suzuki show, the Cardinals were able to get themselves back in the game.

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Nats Can’t Hold Cards, 10-9

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Jordan Zimmermann had his worst day as a starting pitcher, and a barrage of hits and runs from Nationals’ batters could not save the D.C. Nine from a loss, as the Nationals went down to defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, 10-9.

Saturday’s loss was unusual for the home towners. The usually steady Jordan Zimmermann, trying to bounce back from two early poor outings, was inconsistent — and the usually lights out and even brilliant back of the bullpen of Sean Burnett and Drew Storen handed the Cardinals the win.

Saturday’s loss was a slugfest from nearly the very first pitch. Aided by two St. Louis errors, the Nationals scored four runs in the first inning, then tacked on two runs in each of the next two frames: leading Nats’ fans to hope that this game would result in another “laugher” over the reeling Cardinals, who’d scored only one unearned run in each of the last two Nats’ wins.

But St. Louis matched Washington’s output, fighting back with eight runs, including four in the fourth inning to take an 8-6 lead. The Cardinals early game rally came against a struggling Jordan Zimmermann, who gave up eight hits and eight earned runs on the day. This was the third straight shaky outing for Washington’s young righty.

“I left a few balls over the middle,” Zimmermann said after the loss. “They hit a couple of home runs. I tried to throw a back-foot slider and I let it up a little bit and it was a double [to Carpenter] and that sums up my day.” But the contest was decided long after Zimmermann’s departure.

In the top of the 9th, reliever Drew Storen gave up a single to Allen Craig, who then easily took second on a stolen base. Storen was so slow to the plate that it looked almost as if the Nationals had decided to let him take the base. David Freese then singled to score Craig, one the league’s slower runners. That was the difference in the game.

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Strasburg, Flores Hand The Braves Another Defeat

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Stephen Strasburg struck out ten and Jesus Flores hit a three run home run to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. The victory put the Nationals up by seven games against their N.L. East rivals.

Strasburg was dominating in his outing: in addition to the ten strikeouts, he threw six complete innings while giving up only four hits. “He was on with everything, fastball, and he threw some change ups that had almost split-finger-type, forkball type action on it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the loss. “He was good. He was difficult to try and square up.”

The big blow of the game came in the fifth inning, when Washington catcher Jesus Flores put a Paul Maholm offering off the railing in left field. The home run, Flores’ fourth of the year, came with Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond on base. “I knew going in that Flores hits [Maholm] pretty good,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said. “I think he had two home runs in six at-bats and was hitting .500.”

Strasburg pitched despite a 51 minute rain delay after 2.2 innings. Davey Johnson said that if the delay had reached a full hour that Strasburg would have come out of the game. The delay seemed to have little impact on Strasburg, however, who picked up where he left off against Atlanta hitters.

“He was throwing the heck out of the ball,” Johnson said in recounting his decision to leave Strasburg in the game. “He had the luxury of being able to throw a couple of times in our batting cage, so I felt like he was still pretty hot.”

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