courtesy of ameschen
After two days off due to rain in DC, the Washington Nationals fell 4-3 in the eleventh inning to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. The Nats failed to rally late in the game and their lackluster, inconsistent offense continued to haunt the team’s lineup.
Saturday’s contest was the first time in team history that the modern-day Washington Nationals faced the original Washington Nationals/Senators (aka the Twins) in DC. It was also the first game played by the Twins in DC since July 19, 1971 at RFK Stadium.
Outfielder Jayson Werth put the Nats on the scoreboard early with a two-out two-run homer in the third inning off Twins starting pitcher Kevin Correia, but Minnesota tied the game up in the top of the fourth. Ex-Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham hit a one-out single to left-center field off Nats left-handed starter Gio Gonazlez to give the Twins a base runner and an opportunity to score.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau followed suit by reaching first on a fielding error made by Nats first baseman Adam LaRoche giving Minnesota two men on with one out. Gonzalez continued to struggle in the fourth inning which is how and why Minnesota tied the game up. Gonzalez walked outfielder Aaron Hicks and gave up a RBI game-tying single to second baseman Brian Dozier to make it a 2-2 ballgame.
The afternoon’s game was not Gonzalez’s strongest start of the season. He threw six innings and gave up five hits, three runs (two earned), four walks (one intentional), and one home run while striking out seven batters on 114 pitches, 75 for strikes.
Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer crushed a solo home run – the 100th of his career – to left-center field on a 2-2 pitch off Gonzalez to give the Twins a short-lived 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. But Washington answered back in the seventh inning when second baseman Anthony Rendon scored on a double hit by catcher Kurt Suzuki through the hole at short tying the game back up at 3 apiece.
Washington used all but one pitcher, Xavier Cedeno, in their bullpen on Saturday. They collectively gave up six hits in five innings of work and issued three walks (one intentional) while striking out two. Right-handed reliever Craig Stammen was charged with the loss after giving up the Twins’ winning run. Pinch hitter Chris Herrmann scored on a single hit by outfielder Ryan Doumit to center field to beat the Nationals 4-3 in extra innings.
The Nationals are now 3-4 in extra inning games in 2013.