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.