Nationals fans have had plenty to be excited about to start the 2012 season. Nerve inducing one-run games, dazzling starting pitching, and players stepping up after weak 2011 performances (ex. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche). Despite all of that, the real star of Saturday’s game was off-season pick-up right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson.
Jackson went the distance in his home debut pitching a complete game, 4-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds to lead the Nats to their fifth consecutive win. To make the day even better, he got a hit. Not too bad for a back of the rotation starter.
The win secured the Nats’ position atop the National League East standings.
There was just a slight blemish on an otherwise seamless afternoon of pitching and it came in the second inning. Jackson gave up a one-out double to Miguel Cairo, hit Chris Heisey with a pitch, and then served up a RBI-single for Drew Stubbs. That put the Nats in a 1-0 hole early on but they were able to get the offense going in response.
Run support was soon to follow and the Nats offense spawned a collection of hits from first baseman Adam LaRoche, outfielder Jayson Werth, and catcher Jesus Flores. Werth (2-for-4) scored Washington’s first run of the game in the second off the Reds’ right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey. LaRoche went 2-for-4 after hitting double bringing in a couple of insurance runs in the third inning. Flores had a spectacular day hitting three singles, drawing a walk, and finished the day with a .600 batting average.
“It’s a luxury having two number one catchers,” Manager Davey Johnson said after the game. Flores continues to prove that to be true when in the lineup.
Washington goes for a series sweep Sunday afternoon, aiming to end the day 8-2.