Game #67 Recap: Lack of Communication Opens Door for a Nats Win

by: Andrea Borrelli 

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The Nationals power hitters came to play Saturday and supported a strong start by Jordan Zimmermann. In what has become commonplace for the Nats so far this season the lead was squandered and the Nationals had to fight to pull out a 7-6 win.

The game looked like it might be a stress-free when Ryan Zimmerman and Jason Werth hit two back-to-back home runs in the first and Ian Desmond smashed a solo shot in the second. The top of the third brought two more runs, including Zimmerman coming home on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 5-0. Indians’ starting pitcher, Scott Kazmir, ended up being pulled after two and two thirds innings and 75 pitches. 

The bottom of the third brought a run for the Indians, but that did not shake Jordan Zimmermann and the inning ended 5-1. The fourth inning saw the Indians hit two back-to-back homers of their own to bring the score to 5-3. After a quick top of the fifth and a pitching change for the Indians, Zimmermann returned to the mound to pitch the bottom of the 5th inning. He proceeded to give up four hits and three runs before getting out of the inning, giving the Indians a 6-5 lead.   

Given the offensive fireworks to this point, the sixth and seventh innings brought relatively little entertainment other than the fact that Craig Stammen managed to hold the Indians at their 6-5 lead for the sixth, with Ian Krol pitching a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. The top of the eighth brought a pitching change for the Indians and after seeing LaRoche and Desmond ground out, it looked like the offensive woes against relievers were going to continue. That was until Chad Tracy came up to pinch-hit for Chris Marrero and hit a home run to center field tying the score at 6. This was just the second pinch-hit RBI of the season for the Nats; the other being another Chad Tracy solo shot.

Ian Krol and Drew Storen held the Indians in the bottom of the eighth and the game went into the ninth inning tied 6-6. Steve Lombardozzi started the ninth with a fly out to center with Denard Span getting the second out on a ground out to first. Rendon came up and hit the first pitch foul. Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis lacked communication as they made a play on the ball and managed to let it drop between them.  Two pitches later Rendon took advantage of the gaff and hit his first big league home run giving the Nats a 7-6 lead.

Soriano came in to close for the bottom of the nineth. After a scare with a man on second as the potential tying run, a line drive to LaRoche capped the game.  

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