Game #60 Wrap Up: "If it's all the same to you, I'll drive that tanker."
The Nationals continued their series Tuesday night in Toronto for the 5th game of road trip and would pick up their 5th win of the trip with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Chien-Ming Wang would be on the mound for the Nationals, and Wang would hope to have the good sinker going so he could have a better performance than he'd had in his previous game. Toronto would send Henderson Alvarez to the mound to make it a sinkerballer - sinkerballer matchup.
Henderson Alvarez was not horrible tonight, but he did seem to have some difficulty with location early and threw a lot of pitches. He would settle down for the most part as the game went on, but in the 3rd inning the Nationals would strike early to take the lead. With 2 out in the 2rd, Bryce Harper turned on a pitch from Alverez to launch a home run that was simply killed to center field. For the second time in the series, when the Nationals grabbed the lead, it would not be relinquished. In the very next inning, the Nationals would get a leadoff double from Adam LaRoche, but Alvarez would get 2 quick outs afterward. With 2 outs, Danny Espinosa would make it a 3-0 game after drilling a home run to left field to bring LaRoche and himself home.
Chien-Ming Wang was not at his best today, but he was able to squeeze out of all the tough situations he would get himself into. Wang had a long 1st inning, he would give up a leadoff single to Brett Lawrie. Lawrie would make the first out of the game for the Blue Jays however, as he would steal 2nd base, but come off the bag long enough for Desmond to tag him out. After getting Colby Rasmus to fly out, Jose Bautista would draw a walk. A wild pitch by Wang would allow Bautista to 2nd, then Bautista stole 3rd base. Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to end the threat. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Wang would get 2 quick outs and then allow the bases to get loaded on a hit batter, a hit, and a walk. Wang would get out of the inning, but do a similar tight rope act in the bottom of the 4th inning. The Blue Jays would finally break through when Jose Bautista launched a home run to left field to make the score 3-2.
Wang would end his night after the 5th to make his final line 5 Innings Pitched, 2 Earned Runs on 4 Hits, with 5 Strikeouts and 5 walks. Alvarez would have a good game, and would pitch 7 innings. In the 7th inning Jhonatan Solano would hit a home run to put the Nationals up 4-2. It was the first home run of Solano's young career and he would get the silent treatment as he came back to the dugout, but many of the Nationals players could not contain themselves for too long and would eventually start to high five and congratulate Solano on his first Major League home run. Alvarez would finish his night to the tune of 7 Innings Pitched, allow 4 Earned Runs on 9 Hits, Striking out 3 and walking none. Alvarez did, however, allow 3 home runs to the Nationals (Harper, Espinosa, and Solano) which accounted for all of the Nationals runs.
Having picked up the win Tuesday night, the Nationals maintain their lead in the National League East and make it to 5 straight wins on the road trip. In 2012, the Nationals are picking up road wins that at a rate thought unachievable in the past. It is as if the Nationals have become warriors of the road. Road Warriors if you will. The New York Mets are the only other team in the NL East to pick up a win Tuesday night and the Nationals are now 4 games ahead of the 2nd place Braves. With the win, the Nationals are now 14 games over the .500 mark and line up a chance for their second straight sweep on Wednesday.