Last night’s game was one that could’ve gone either way. It was either going to be one of those shake-your-head lost chances sort of games, or it was the kind that made you grin a bit on the way home. It didn’t look so good to begin with. Adam Dunn was thrown out in the bottom of the first for jawing at 3B umpire Andy Fletcher over balls and strikes, and probably will get a nice fine for tossing his helmet as part of the affair. The Nats stranded runners at third twice in the first five innings, and it looked that, despite Johnny Lannan’s first good outing, the team was in a bit of a bind.
The Nats took advantage of LaTroy Hawkins in the 8th, though, when Gonzalez would beat out an infield single, and would hit Willingham, to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Ian Desmond proved to be ahead of the curve with a perfect “dead ball” bunt that just screwed itself into the infield grass about ten feet from home plate. He’d be thrown out, but there was no chance to get either Willy Taveras (running for Gonzaelz) or Willingham as they advanced on his sacrifice.
When the Nats picked up Adam Kennedy, they did it for this exact moment. Kennedy lined a fastball from Hawkins under the glove of a stumbling Prince Fielder and down the first base line, letting Taveras and Willingham sprint home through a light rain at Nats Park. That would put the Nats up by 1, and Adam Kennedy would come round to score on a Wil Nieves (who? Wil Nieves!) single, after stealing second.
Better news still for Nats fans would be seeing Ryan Zimmerman run hard down the first base line to try to beat out a ground ball. He’d come up short, but Zim still looked strong in his running, signaling a decent chance for him to return to the lineup after some hamstring tenderness. After the game, Manager Jim Riggleman said that if the weather permitted, Zim would be doing some baserunning drills before the game today and could return to the lineup as early as today against the Brewers. Zim’s 3 for 9, career, against Randy Wolf.
Notes: Today’s game, for which there are many tickets still available, starts at 1:05 at Nats Park, ¡Livan! vs. Randy Wolf. The Nats finished their first ten games, notching a 5-5 record. Since arriving in DC, the Nats have finished at 5-5 or better just one other time, in their inaugural season in 2005. The Nats finished just half a game behind the Braves and Marlins, and two games ahead of the Mets.