- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Nationals happy with split after ragged start to series with Braves
Just before 3 p.m. Sunday, after a weekend barrage of rain that accompanied the better part of the Washington Nationals’ four-game series against the Atlanta Braves, the sun began to come out over Nationals Park.
It was, while perhaps hackneyed in it’s simplicity, a fitting metaphor for the Nationals’ weekend. From the brink of losing their grip on first place in the National League East just 24 hours before, the Nationals beat the Braves 9-2 in front of a packed stadium to salvage a split of the series and return to 3½ games up on them in the division standings.
They went from living through the largest blown lead in franchise history to being showered with cheers as they wrapped up a 4-3 homestand.
“We didn’t want them to come into our house and leaving feeling that good,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I gave them the one Friday. They nipped us on Saturday morning, but I wasn’t worried about the club. There is no letdown on this ballclub.
“I think if I was them I’d feel deflated because you want to pick up some ground when you’re playing good. It’s just a grind. Sometimes just to split is like picking up ground, it’s like maintaining your momentum.”
For the Nationals, this was one of those times.
On a day in which they rapped out 18 hits — a record inside Nationals Park — saw their cornerstone third baseman club two home runs and got a second consecutive sterling pitching performance from Ross Detwiler, heading to New York with a split against the Braves that felt more like a series victory.
“To be down [the first] two games in a four-game series, come back and win the last two and kind of stay where you’re at as far as the division, it’s a good feeling for us,” said Danny Espinosa, who was 3 for 4 to continue his offensive surge.
“It’s a tough challenge right there. We don’t give up, but it’s tough not to almost fold. We just played well and continued to battle, and we got our last two wins.”
Every member of the Nationals’ starting lineup got a hit, five had multihit games and four registered three-hit afternoons.
But none was with as much fanfare as Ryan Zimmerman, who picked up the 10th multihomer game of his career when he sent one to right field in his first at-bat and cranked another to left in his second. Since receiving a cortisone shot in his right shoulder June 24, Zimmerman is hitting .392 with nine doubles, 11 home runs and 28 RBI.
“He is swinging the bat so good it’s scary,” Johnson said. “You feel like every time up there he’s going to hit a rocket. As tired as we were, offense getting 18 hits, scoring nine runs, that’s a pretty good [Braves] pitching staff. That says something.”
Detwiler (5-3), coming off his best start of the season and following a superb outing by John Lannan on Saturday night, was touched for two runs in seven innings, one earned.
He pounded the strike zone, going to a three-ball count only five times, and worked quickly. He used his curveball with significant efficiency but was relentless with his fastball and saved a beleaguered bullpen.
When he walked off the field following the seventh inning, he shook Johnson’s hand and then gave his manager a pat on the back.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.