Game #71 Recap: Nats win 6-2 on 11th inning Grand Slam

IanDesmond earned his first career Grand Slam in the eleventh inning to win the game 6-2 over the Phillies, stopping the sweep. Gio Gonzalez pitched a stellar seven innings with 11 strike outs, 2 walks, and allowed only 2 hits. However, those two hits, which came in the first inning, became the only two runs scored—a lead-off single from Ben Revere quickly followed by Michael Young’s homer which batted them both in.

It wasn’t until the seventh inning that the Nationals retaliated with their own run. Phillies’ starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick struck out 6, walked 2 and allowed only 2 hits, a single from Adam LaRoche in the second where he was left stranded and an RBI single from Werth who batted in Zimmerman’s walk in the seventh. Desmond struck out to end the inning.

Tyler Clippard came in in the eighth to relieve Gonzalez and went 1-2-3 that inning with two fly balls to the outfield and a strike out for former National Laynce Nix who was pinch hitting.

Phillies were still up 2-1 in the ninth as Jonathan Papelbon came in to “close”. Denard Span single and LaRoche walked before Werth hit another RBI single that brought in Span and tied the game. Although Papelbon’s save was blown, the Nationals winning rally would then be postponed for another inning as Desmond strikes out ending the ninth and leaving LaRoche and Werth on base. Tied 2-2

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Clippard walked Jimmy Rollins which brought Davey out on the field. Pitching change: enter Ian Krol, Krol walked Ryan Howard, pushing Rollins into scoring position, but thankfully Dominic brown hit a blooper to Ian Desmond ending the half and pushing the game into extra innings.

The bottom of the order is up for the tenth and Nationals can’t seem to cash in on Kurt Suzuki’s one-out double, even when he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Rookie pinch hitter Jeff Kobernus grounded out to the second baseman and Denard Span popped out on a foul ball.

Drew Storen arrived on the mound in the tenth in proper form. His beautiful, ever-improving change-up was the third swinging strike for both John Mayberry and Freddy Galvis. Carlos Ruiz singled next, but to no avail as pinch hitter Michael Martinez flied out to Werth ending the inning.

 Still tied at the top of the eleventh, Michael Stutes came in to pitch. Ryan Zimmerman got the inning rolling with a one-out double. LaRoche was intentionally walked followed by Werth’s unintentional walk, all of which loaded the bases, still with only one out. Ian Desmond came up to the plate, he was 0 for 4 with 3 stike outs and a ground out until this at bat. With two balls and two strikes, Desmond hit an off-speed pitch way out to left centerfield. Going, going, it went! “See you later!” Nationals led 6-2 on a grand slam from a hitter who also pulled a hat trick in the same night.

In the bottom of the eleventh Rafael Soriano closed. Soriano allowed only one hit (from Michael Young). After two batters flied out, Soriano struck out Phillies’ clean-up man Ryan Howard ending the game.

This was a tremendous win for the Nationals as they dipped below .500 earlier this week. Although still in second place in the NL East division, the Nats are 7 games behind the Atlanta Braves and only one game ahead of the Phillies. They return from their road trip Thursday night to play the Rockies at Nats Park, 7:05pm.

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