Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to take three of four from the Giants tonight at Nationals Park.
As a reminder to anyone who doesn't know: Any active or retired members of the military are welcome to show IDs at the First Street SE box office beginning at 5:30 p.m. and receive four complimentary tickets for themselves and their families.
As for the actual game, the Nationals will be looking to win their third game in four days against the defending World Series champs. It's a matchup of left-handers, with Tom Gorzelanny going up against Madison Bumgarner. Slumping Adam LaRoche gets the night off, with Michael Morse at first base, Jerry Hairston in left field and Brian Bixler at third base.
Updates to come throughout the evening...
GIANTS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Cloudy, 72 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS7:05 p.m. -- And we're underway with a ball from Tom Gorzelanny to Aaron Rowand.
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
1B Michael Morse
LF Jerry Hairston
3B Brian Bixler
P Tom Gorzelanny
CF Aaron Rowand
2B Freddy Sanchez
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
1B Aubrey Huff
3B Miguel Tejada
SS Mike Fontenot
RF Cody Ross
P Madison Bumgarner
7:11 p.m. -- Looked like it might be a shaky first inning for Gorzelanny when he allowed a leadoff double to Rowand off the left-field wall. Yet the lefty got out of it unscathed and needing only nine pitches. Thank you, Giants lineup. Especially Buster Posey, who with a man on third and one out grounded out on the first pitch he saw. And you thought only the Nats had those kind of rally-killers.
7:15 p.m. -- And Bumgarner is nearly as efficient in the bottom of the first. He retired the side on 12 pitches, striking out Danny Espinosa and getting both Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth to ground out.
7:20 p.m. -- Two innings, 17 pitches for Gorzelanny. Can't ask for much better than that so far.
7:35 p.m. -- Really nice work so far by Gorzelanny. Only Rowand has touched him through three innings (first-inning double, third-inning single). Otherwise, he's retired every Giant he's faced. And he remains incredibly efficient, having thrown just 31 pitches (20 strikes) through three. We're still scoreless here.
7:57 p.m. -- Hmm, four innings are complete and the Nationals have yet to put a man on base against Bumgarner. Yep, 12 up, 12 down. If only there was some way to jinx this sort of thing. I wouldn't know how to do that, though. (Oh, did I mention Bumgarner has a PERFECT GAME going here????)
8:03 p.m. -- Not that Gorzelanny has been shabby tonight. He's still allowed only those two hits to Rowand. Otherwise, he's been perfect as well, having completed five scoreless innings on only 59 pitches. Quite the pitchers' duel we've got brewing here.
8:10 p.m. -- Well, what do you know: Wilson Ramos leads off the fifth with a double to deep left. So much for that perfect game. Unfortunately, Jim Riggleman decided to play small-ball and had No. 5 hitter Ian Desmond bunt Ramos over to third. Small-ball is all well and good when your next hitters get the ball out of the infield and drive the runner in. Not so much when both guys strike out (Morse looking at an 0-2 fastball, Hairston on a check-swing). We're still scoreless after five.
8:21 p.m. -- Boy, are these two lefties dealing or what? Three total baserunners between the two teams through six innings. A couple of really nice defensive plays from both squads, including Ankiel and Hairston for the Nats and Fontenot for the Giants. Just an incredibly well-pitched and well-defended game so far.
8:42 p.m. -- You figured the only way someone would score tonight is if someone from the opposition gave them a break. Thank you, Miguel Tejada, who ole'd Ramos' grounder to his left with two outs and nobody on in the seventh. (It was inexplicably scored a base hit, though I'm sure it will be changed to an error at some point upon review.) Whatever the case, Tejada's misplay opened the floodgates for the Nats, who got three straight singles from Desmond, Morse (on the first pitch, nonetheless) and Hairston. All of a sudden, they're leading 2-0, needed six more outs from Gorzelanny and/or the bullpen to wrap this one up.
8:51 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Tom Gorzelanny. Eight innings, three hits, zero runs, zero walks, four strikeouts. 95 pitches. Drew Storen is warming in the pen if Riggleman wants to summon him. We shall see.
8:58 p.m. -- And we go to the ninth, with Storen entering from the bullpen. He'll face the top of the Giants' lineup: Rowand, Sanchez, Posey.
9:08 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win, 2-0. Gorzelanny (1-2) gets his first win as a Nat, tossing eight scoreless innings for the first time since Aug. 12, 2007 ... against the Giants. Storen gets his sixth save in as many chances. And yes, the Nats just took three of four from the defending World Series champs, and would have swept the series had they merely been able to turn nine walks and three hit batters into two runs on Saturday. How about that?