Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Yovani Gallado in Game 1 of today's doubleheader.
We've got an old-fashioned, Sunday doubleheader here in the District. A reminder to those of you coming to the park: If you have a ticket for today's game, it's good for both games. If you had a ticket to yesterday's game, you can exchange it for a seat of equal value at both of today's games.
Game 1 features Jason Marquis vs. Yovani Gallardo. Jim Riggleman is fielding the lineup he planned to use yesterday before the rains came, with Danny Espinosa leading off, Ian Desmond sixth, Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate and Alex Cora at third base.
If you didn't see the earlier news, Todd Coffey has been placed on the DL with a left calf strain and Collin Balester has been recalled from Syracuse. More to come on that, and obviously plenty of updates to come from both of today's games...
BREWERS at NATIONALS (Game 1)
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS12:56 p.m. -- Before we get going here, be sure to check out my updated story on the Coffey-Balester roster move, with quotes from both pitchers.
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alex Cora
P Jason Marquis
2B Rickie Weeks
SS Craig Counsell
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Mark Kotsay
C Jonathan Lucroy
CF Carlos Gomez
P Yovani Gallardo
1:37 p.m. -- And we're underway with a foul ball off Rickie Weeks' bat. A very comfortable 57 degrees at first pitch, hardly a cloud in the sky.
1:46 p.m. -- On the bright side, Jason Marquis has recorded an out against the Brewers. Three of them, actually. Which is three more than he recorded the last time he faced them (April 18, 2010, when he was tagged for seven runs without retiring a batter). On the not-so-bright side, he still gave up three singles in the top of the first, including an RBI base hit to Casey McGehee that put Milwaukee up 1-0.
1:58 p.m. -- Rick Ankiel took advantage of the Brewers' exaggerated infield shift by slapping a single past what would normally be the shortstop's position. He was the only Nat able to take advantage in the bottom of the first, though. Jayson Werth struck out looking at a borderline pitch from Yovani Gallardo. Adam LaRoche then struck out swinging to end the inning and leave Ankiel stranded at second.
2:10 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats at the plate so far against Gallardo, who has notched four strikeouts in two innings. By the way, for those of you wondering about Nyjer Morgan: He's got a deep thigh bruise, a result of his collision at the plate earlier this week. He has only served as a pinch-hitter since, and he won't be starting Game 2 today.
2:20 p.m. -- Fantastic play at first base by LaRoche, who made a hockey goalie style glove save of Bruan's hot smash. Unfortunately, it was obvious LaRoche's shoulder wouldn't allow him to make a strong throw to second. That prevented the Nats from turning a 3-6-3 double play. No worries, though, because Marquis pitched out of it. He's got four strikeouts through three innings, this after striking out nine last weekend in New York. Brewers still lead 1-0 in the bottom of the third.
2:27 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Gallardo, who has retired nine of 10 batters faced so far today. OK, so the Nats' lineup pretty much stinks right now. But it could always be worse. Within the last week, the Mariners fielded lineups that Ryan Langerhans batting third and Adam Kennedy hitting cleanup!
2:40 p.m. -- The Brewers are dinking and dunking Marquis to death right now. They've already amassed eight hits in four innings, all singles. Somehow, he's managed to limit the damage to two runs. Milwaukee now up 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
2:51 p.m. -- It wasn't exactly a clutch hit from Morse, but it'll have to do for now. With runners on the corners and one out in the fourth, he lofted a sacrifice fly to right. Morse was clearly trying to go to the opposite field in that at-bat, which is an encouraging sign. He's still hitting under .200, but he's now got four RBI. And the Nats have trimmed the lead to 2-1.
3:08 p.m. -- I really try not to toot my own horn too much, but I sort of feel obligated to share this one. With two on, one out and Danny Espinosa at the plate, I turned to Adam Kilgore of the Post and asked him what the Nats' current slugging percentage is. He's been keeping track of this all day and said it was currently sitting at .301, not having been helped by the Nats' six singles so far today. To which I replied: "Well, that'll go up when Espinosa hits this one into the right-field bullpen." Oh, if only I had put some money down before making that call. Three-run homer. Right-field bullpen. Nats lead 4-2.
3:30 p.m. -- Boy did Gallardo fade fast. After allowing those four hits in the fifth, he allowed a one-out single to Morse followed by a double to Desmond (both who sorely needed those hits). Sitting on 105 pitches and clearly fading, you'd have thought he'd be pulled. Instead, Ron Roenicke left his starter in and paid the price, because Ivan Rodriguez just clubbed a three-run homer to right-center. Yes, you read that correctly. Just like that, the Nats have stormed out to a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, and Gallardo has finally gotten the hook.
3:37 p.m. -- Nyjer Morgan just made his first appearance at Nationals Park since the trade, pinch-hitting to open the seventh. There were some strong boos from the crowd, also some polite applause. Honestly, the boos earlier this week for Jayson Werth against the Phillies were louder. Nyjer grounded out to second, by the way.
3:41 p.m. -- Another nice outing by Jason Marquis. He's retired 10 of the last 11 he's faced, with only one ball getting out of the infield since the fourth. Of course, it's always easier to pitch with a 5-run lead. Still 7-2 at the stretch.
3:52 p.m. -- And Marquis will return for the top of the eighth. He's sitting on 92 pitches.
3:58 p.m. -- And Marquis is done after walking Ryan Braun to lead off the eighth. Gets a nice ovation as he departs the field in favor of Doug Slaten. So Nats starting pitchers have now allowed three or fewer earned runs in 12 of 14 games this season. That's impressive.
4:14 p.m. -- Apparently Ian Desmond's 0-fer-home slump is over. He's doubled and now homered in his last two at-bats, giving the Nats a comfortable 8-2 lead as we head to the ninth. Chad Gaudin, who recorded the final out of the eighth, will attempt to notch three more and end this game.
4:34 p.m. -- It's not over yet. The Brewers have scored twice in the ninth, and Tyler Clippard has entered. 8-4 now.
4:37 p.m. -- Now it's over. Nats win 8-4 and improve to .500 for the season. Livan Hernandez will face Marco Estrada in about 30 minutes. I'll have a new game thread up shortly.