Game #8 Recap: On the Verge

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After a nail biter last night, the Nats were back at it this evening with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound facing Gavin Floyd. Zimmermann began the evening throwing free and easy, but just as last night, the White Sox took an early 1-0 lead on a Keppinger single, Rios double and a Dunn groundout brought Keppinger home. Jordan limited the damage by getting Konerko swinging to end the top half of the inning. Floyd looked sharp in the bottom, needing only 11 pitches to get Span and Werth swinging and getting Harper to ground out to end the 1st.  After the run Zimmermann wouldn’t allow another base-runner until the 4th inning.

Floyd was sharp through three innings, riding a biting curve to 4 K’s while only allowing one walk and one hit. That one hit being a double by Ian Desmond who extended his streak of extra-base hits to 5 games.

The narrative changed when the Nats bats came alive in the 4th, starting with a Harper solo home run, that landed easily ten rows deep in the second deck of the right field stands, tied the game at 1. Another Ian Desmond double, followed by an Espinosa single gave the Nats a 2-1 edge entering the 5th. 

The Nats had an opportunity to break the game open a bit in the 5th when, after a 26-pitch 4th inning, Floyd surrendered three straight singles extended the Nats lead to 3-1 and left runners at the corners for Adam LaRoche with only one out. A quick 4-6-3 double play ended that threat.

The Nats gave back a run in the top of the 6th when a De Aza double and two subsequent groundouts brought the run home. In the bottom half of the inning Desmond was once again a scoring catalyst with a leadoff triple followed by an Espinosa double extending the lead to 4-2. A Suzuki walk and a Zimmermann sacrifice bunt ended Gavin Floyd’s night with a line of 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.

Donnie Veal came in to the game in relief, failed to retire the only batter he would face, Denard Span, and allowed the Nats to further their lead to 5-2. Once again, with runners on the corners and the Nats on the verge of breaking the game open, a double play ended the threat. The Nats would only garner one more hit in the final two innings of the game while striking out four times.

Zimmermann went on to finish the 7th, leaving the game with a line of 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 4 K. Storen came in and threw one solid inning of one-hit ball while Soriano got the save in an uneventful 9th, only surrendering one hit.

Wednesday marked the return of Adam Dunn to Nationals Park for the first time since he left the team via free agency in 2010, after coming one batter shy of making his appearance last night. The crowd gave the former fan favorite a warm welcome in his first at bat. The Nats can sweep the series tomorrow at 7:05 when Dan Haren takes the hill looking to atone for his part of the debacle in Cincinnati last Friday night.

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