Saturday, June 18, 2011

Game 71: Orioles at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look to make it eight in a row today at Nationals Park.
How do you keep a winning streak going? By not tinkering with success. Jim Riggleman never intended to make his pitcher-hitting-eighth idea a permanent one. But the Nationals haven't lost since the manager used the unconventional lineup for the first time last weekend in San Diego.

So, no reason to start making tweaks now. Jayson Werth remains in the leadoff spot today against the Orioles, and Jordan Zimmermann will bat eighth. Only change from last night is a swap of catchers, with Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate.

Brian Matusz, who has struggled since returning from the DL, starts for Baltimore. He'll face a stiff challenge in baseball's hottest team. With a victory today, the Nats would match their second-longest winning streak since arriving in the District.

Plenty of updates to come...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), WTEM (980 AM), XM 189
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 84 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Jerry Hairston
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Jordan Zimmermann
CF Roger Bernadina

ORIOLES (31-36)
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Derrek Lee
LF Luke Scott
3B Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino
P Brian Matusz
12:25 p.m. -- Couple of pregame items to pass along ... Rick Ankiel's strained ribcage muscle continues to improve, though not to the point he's ready to return to action. The Nationals need to make a roster move tomorrow morning to open a spot for Tom Gorzelanny. Ankiel to the DL is a possibility, but as Jim Riggleman put it: "I don't want to do that." ... Gorzelanny, by the way, will probably be limited to five or six innings and about 90 pitches in his first start in three weeks. ... Though Ian Desmond is 20-for-23 in stolen base attempts this season, he's still hampered by a nagging thigh injury. Riggleman said he plans to give Desmond tomorrow off, which coupled with Monday's team off-day should give the shortstop a chance to rest a bit. ... I mentioned last night that Wilson Ramos is having some problems receiving throws from the outfield. Well, I asked Riggleman about that this morning, and it turns out the skipper and Ivan Rodriguez discussed the same thing in the dugout during last night's game. Pudge is going to work with Ramos on it. The key point appears to be understanding who the baserunner is and whether or not you have enough time to better position yourself to receive the throw before setting up for the tag/collision. With Derrek Lee running last night, Riggleman and Rodriguez felt Ramos had enough time to make a better attempt at catching the ball before worrying about the tag.

1:05 p.m. -- All right, we are underway. Fastball from Jordan Zimmermann to J.J. Hardy for strike one. Late-arriving crowd, but it looks like it'll be another large gathering today. Probably not quite as big as last night's crowd of 35,562.

1:10 p.m. -- Hmm, don't want to be falling behind 3-0 in the count to Adam Jones there, Jordan. After taking a strike to move it to 3-1, Jones crushed a fastball from Zimmermann into the left-field bleachers. Orioles take a 1-0 lead in the first.

1:20 p.m. -- We started to see signs last night of Ryan Zimmerman's swing coming together, and it just really came all together in his first at-bat today. Murdered an 88-mph fastball from Brian Matusz way back into the left-field bleachers. That's Zim's second homer of the season (first since April 5) and it ties this game 1-1 after one.

1:30 p.m. -- Another would-be basestealer gunned down by a Nats catcher. This time, Ivan Rodriguez gets Derrek Lee. Pudge and Ramos are now 21-for-43 at throwing guys out, a 49 percent rate that is far and away baseball's best. Next closest is the Rangers, at a mere 36 percent. In other words, the Nats could fail to throw out the next 13 guys trying to steal off them, and they'd STILL lead the majors in this department!

1:43 p.m. -- In other Pudge news, he lined into a 4-3 double play to end the bottom of the second. That does not, however, count against his pursuit of the all-time double play record. Those are only "grounded into double plays," not "lined into double plays." So Pudge remains 14 behind Cal Ripken's record of 350.

2:00 p.m. -- Hmm, Jayson Werth takes off for second with two outs in the third, stops as he sees Ian Desmond sky a fly ball to right, then runs back to first base even though the inning was over.

2:05 p.m. -- Zimmermann doesn't appear to have his best stuff today, but he's coming up big when he needs to. After Derrek Lee doubled in the fourth (amazingly, his seventh hit in as many at-bats this series) and Felix Pie added a single to put runners on the corners with one out, Jordan struck out Mark Reynolds and then got Robert Andino to ground out to first. Nice job, keeping this a 1-1 game in the middle of the fourth.

2:28 p.m. -- Still 1-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth. Something's gotta give here soon. Both teams have had chances, just haven't been able to convert.

2:39 p.m. -- Six innings in the books for Zimmermann, and he's allowed only the one early run on five hits. He's at 87 pitches, and there's no bullpen action yet. So it looks like he'll be back out for the seventh. He'll need his teammates to score a run, though, to give him a shot at the win.

2:46 p.m. -- And there it is: Ryan Zimmerman doubles off the right-field wall, then Michael Morse puts one into the right-field bullpen. Nats take a 3-1 lead, and Morse has now established a new career high with 42 RBI (and it's only Game No. 71).

2:57 p.m. -- Here's an interesting way to look at Mr. Morse. Over the last 365 days, these are his offensive numbers: 26 homers, 79 RBI, .290 average, .345 OBP, .513 slugging percentage, .858 OPS. This isn't just a nice hot streak. This is legit.

3:04 p.m. -- Uh-oh, trainer out to look at Jordan Zimmermann in the top of the seventh. Zimmermann tried to wave him off at first, but the trainer insisted on looking at him. He's staying in the game, so all appears fine for now.

3:08 p.m. -- And now Zimmermann allows back-to-back singles to Nolan Reimold and J.J. Hardy, the latter scoring a run. It's 4-2 with one out in the seventh, Zimmermann is being lifted and Henry Rodriguez is entering from the bullpen to face Nick Markakis. Hang on tight, folks.

3:15 p.m. -- Wow, did Rodriguez just come up big, or what? Fell behind Nick Markakis but battled back to get a flyball to left. Then blew away Adam Jones, finishing him off with a back-to-back combo of a 101-mph fastball and an 83-mph slider. That's just not fair. Nats still up 4-2 at the seventh-inning stretch.

3:19 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 36,614. That's slightly more than 1,000 more than they drew last night. Looks like the combination of a winning streak and the Orioles is bringing 'em out to the park.

3:35 p.m. -- Henry does it again. With Tyler Clippard apparently unavailable after pitching five of the last seven days, Rodriguez got to return for the eighth. He did issue a two-out walk to Felix Pie but bounced back to strike Mark Reynolds out looking at an 85-mph slider. We go to the bottom of the eighth, still 4-2.

3:43 p.m. -- We go to the ninth. Drew Storen will face Andino, a pinch-hitter (probably Vladimir Guerrero) and Hardy in search of his 17th save.

3:51 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win 4-2 and the streak is now up to eight. Jordan Zimmermann gets the win and is now 5-6 with a 3.07 ERA. Storen gets his 17th save in 19 tries. Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse each homer. They'll go for their second straight sweep, ninth straight win and a .500 record tomorrow afternoon.


Anonymous said...'ve got Marquis, not JZimm, in there as the pitcher.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

We all know Marquis is an animal...but two starts within 16 hours? Man, we never knew.


natsfan1a said...

Guys, it's okay. Jason is just going into Beast Mode.

Let's go NATS!!!!!!!

Doc said...

The way these guys are going, any pitcher you throw in should get the job done. Marquis needs to make up time for his 5 day suspension.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Sorry, guys. Quick turnaround from last night, and I clearly don't have all my faculties yet today. Hopefully the Nats got more sleep than I did!

JaneB said...

Just went to the Inside Pitch interview with Ian Desmond and got to say how much we appreciate his generosity with little kids. I know they are supposed to play ball, but few of these guys are as openly appreciative of the younger fans as he is. What a nice and unexpected early gift of being here!

Sean Kelly said...

haha love the smell of snarkiness in the mid to late morning. Hopefully with this win streak people in Greensboro NC will stop asking if I got my hat from Wallgreens... Even had one elderly Wallgreens employee offer to buy it from me to wear at work. This might be a flash in the pan, but the feel of this team has completely changed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional pregame points. Great info about Pudge working with Ramos on taking throws from the outfield. Really shows the team has the winning spirit, and the value that Pudge brings.

LoveDaNats said...

Had fun at the park yesterday. Love it when the crowd is into it. I was a little nervous that I'd mess up the streak since last year I went to over 15 games and only saw one win. But this seems like a new group of attitude of defeat and going for the win.
On the couch today but looking forward to watching JZimm get our 8th win!
Yeah, Nats!

Tim said...

Jane... We went to the Cards/Nats opening game and was amazed to see Desi signing autographs up until about three minutes before the National Anthem.

You just don't see that from the pros.


FS said...

Jayson is not into the game today? LOL

Anyways, JZ just saved himself from big trouble. Runners at the corner and one out, nice SO of Reynolds. Good job. let's get the bats going.

Drew8 said...

That K by Zim with one out and a man on third was a great example of Rizzo's philosophy.

In the last two drafts he's put an emphasis on big guys who can bring it in the 90s.

Guys like Strassy, Zimm, Cole and Meyer can turn up the gas to get themselves out of a jam.

CBinDC said...

This plate ump is crap ....why did this guy become the plate ump today ....his strike zone is tight with us and loose with Baltimore...Angelos pay him off or threaten his family with a law suit ???

FS said...

Can someone please describe Markakis' single? Was it Espy's range, fault or Nick's dribbler to 2B? How was that a hit?


Drew8 said...

I'm sick to death of listening to the AngelO's announcing crew.

"It's good to see Matusz doing so well."

Not to me, pal.

And I'm sure Flanny is a nice guy, but could his New Hampshire monotone be more cadaverous?

Get the paddles. Clear!

1. Kick their Baltimore butts.
2. Take their lunch money.
3. Send them home crying.

Mark Zuckerman said...

FS: It was a slow roller up the middle. Espinosa had to slide to get to it, well behind second base. And he still almost got the throw there in time. Absolutely a legit base hit.

CBinDC said...

I so hate this balto-centric broadcast I am listening to the radio but the radio is about 45 seconds ahead so I hear then see the results

Drew8 said...

Gorse hackage!!!!!!!

CBinDC said...


LoveDaNats said...


FS said...

Thanks Mark. You are awesome.

Love the Beast Mode. Pudge with a double now. This is brilliant. Should be 5-1, but that's okay.

FS said...

HRod in? I can understand bringing in K pitcher, but this guy could make it worse by walking a batter.

Drew8 said...

Gotta love Nuke when his eyelids aren't jammed.

FS said...

I think it is safe to say that most of NI followers are at the game.

Three more outs and I can relax.

What's up doc? said...

Is anyone covering what's happening with Zimmerman's arm? He's bounced a couple throws to first this week, lobbed a few, and just pulled Morse off the bag in the 9th. He looks bad. Fielding and hitting are spot on, but something is wrong with the throws. Is he fully recovered?

FS said...

Storen also has a heavy workload, 6 appearances (including today's)in past ten days.

Nats Outsider said...

8 is GR8, GR8, GR8 !!!

. . . but 9 would be extra fine

Smatt1001 said...

Eight in a row!!

Drew8 said...

Bang! Zoom!

Take THAT, Hon.

(The Insiders who show up at 7:05 are in for a pleasant surprise.)

Nats Outsider said...

Hey guys, I just realized that the Nats won this game by only 2 runs. Yesterday, it was 4 runs. The day before it was 10 runs. Obviously, the team is heading downhill. Must be time to charge up the fire-Riggleman guys.

Doc said...

IMO as good as Ramos is/will be, Pudge adds a little more behind the plate in handling pitchers.

It's good to see him in there.

FS said...

Really? Some fans thought the game was at 7? LOL

Anyways, not the most convincing win, especially when JZ was on the mound, but a win nonetheless. Good to know that we have ran up the streak to 8. Let us sweep them tomorrow. Go Gorzo and Go Nats.

dj in Fl. said...

Do not worry FS and Drew8

Insiders are never late to a party.
Sometimes it requires a bit more effort to pull out a win, so no time to type.

Is it time for our next game yet?

FS said...

Nats Outsider, we won before that 10 run win, by a margin of 2. Does that mean we are due for another 10 run win tomorrow since we won by 2 today?

Nats Outsider said...

FS, I like the way you think.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, the Nats have now won another series. Does anyone have the stats handy about how many series they've won and lost so far this year?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Let that foghorn boom! Gorzy gets to sweep these bums back to Ball-mer tomorrow!.


Gonat said...

I was a little concerned about wearing the red jerseys and luckily no problema.

Loved how the O's again tried to run on the Nats catchers!

Jordan Z. didn't have his A+ game but got a Win and a Quality start and drove his ERA down to 3.08. With 2 more wins like this, he solidly puts his name in there for the All Star game.

HenRod with a stressful but best outing of the season in Clippard's role and then Zim and Morse with the big bats!!!!

Total Beast Mode!!!!!!!!

Drew8 said...

Outsider: Here's what I've got on the series. Note that it's a bit skewed by the multiple rainouts.

1. Split with Braves.
2. Lost to Marlins.
3. Beat Mets.
4. Lost to Phils.
5. Beat Brewers.
6. Lost (one game) to Cardinals.
7. Lost to Pirates.
8. Lost to Mets.
9. Beat Giants.
10. Lost to Phils.
11. Beat Marlins.
12. Beat Braves.
13. Lost to Marlins.
14. Beat Pirates (one game).
15. Lost to Mets.
16. Lost to Orioles. (Attila the Hons.)
17. Lost to Brewers.
18. Lost to Padres.
19. Beat Phils.
20. Lost to DBacks.
21. Lost to Giants.
22. Beat the Pads.
23. Beat the Cards.
24. Beat the Orioles.

natsfan1a said...

Wooooo! Those are some tasty toasted O's, eh? Wasn't at the game but watching on tv. Will be there tomorrow, though. Number nine would be just fine. Oh, yeah...

David Moore said...

At the game today. Fun crowd great game. This team is fun to watch. Go Nats!!!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

It's a klaxon, not a foghorn (that's SF's thing), but it is starting to grow on me.
And did anyone else catch last nite's postgame interview? Apparently, they call Ramos "the buffalo." That's a cool nickname...

Anonymous said...

We split the Dbacks series...

FS said...

I think you have couple of mistakes Drew8.

1. Split with Braves. (Lost)
2. Lost to Marlins.
3. Beat Mets.
4. Lost to Phils.
5. Swept Brewers.
6. Lost to Cardinals.
7. Lost to Pirates.
8. Lost to Mets.
9. Beat Giants.
10. Lost to Phils.
11. Beat Marlins.
12. Beat Braves.
13. Lost to Marlins.
14. Beat Pirates (one game).
15. Swept by Mets (two games).
16. Lost to Orioles. (Attila the Hons.)
17. Swept by Brewers.
18. Lost to Padres.
19. Beat Phils.
20. Lost to DBacks. (Tied)
21. Lost to Giants.
22. Beat the Pads.
23. Beat the Cards.
24. Beat the Orioles.

Most interesting fact: Fifth concluding season series that we have not lost yet.

Anonymous said...

Eight in a row!!! Can they make it NINE?

Its a faint hope but t'would be nice if Espinosa could be given the starting nod at shortstop in Riggleman's lineup. But I guess its probably going to be Cora.

Andrew said...

Sec 3, My Sofa said... And did anyone else catch last nite's postgame interview? Apparently, they call Ramos "the buffalo." That's a cool nickname...

June 18, 2011 4:36 PM

I suggested to Wilson Ramos that his nickname should be "big thunder" based on the sound he makes when he hits the ball. He seemed to like that although he did laugh at me.

How many think his bat looks like a toothpick in his hands?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@Sec3, My Sofa:

I stand duly corrected. It's a klaxon. Ring that damn thing! All hands on deck for the Father's Day sweeperino tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Must be time to charge up the fire-Riggleman guys.

The fact that Riggleman has stuck with the Sabermetric lineup and not screwed around with it too much shows that he might be flexible enough. He still has his thing about Ankiel and playing that guy is a way to squelch the offense. And in fact initially, they weren't scoring a lot of runs but players in this lineup are slotted to have the greatest impact. And so they were able to succeed and win games.

Anonymous said...

It's a klaxon

As in Danny Klaxonosa.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Morse is really beating or is that feasting?

Unkyd said...

According to Baseball America, 19 draft picks signed, including: 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th, and 12th.....

natsfan1a said...

sec3, yeah, I heard JerHair use the Buffalo nickname in the postgame last night. Navy Nats Fan had a nice exposition about the submarine horn a few threads ago. Klaxonosa = niiiice...

Knoxville Nat said...

Anon 4:49, why would you want to move Espi to SS tomorrow when he has played second base all season long? Cora is a good substitute at that position coming off the bench, plays solid defense and has contributed several times with his bat this season.

BTW, anyone hear Bowden on one of the MLB radio shows yesterday discussing the Nats? If I remember correctly he was saying that it was inevitable that Rendon would be at second base next season and Espi moved to SS. Bowden also said if he was in charge he would have already moved Danny to SS and sent Desmond to Syracuse to learn how to play CF. Keep up that radio gig Jimbo!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

BTW, anyone hear Bowden on one of the MLB radio shows yesterday discussing the Nats? If I remember correctly he was saying that it was inevitable that Rendon would be at second base next season and Espi moved to SS. Bowden also said if he was in charge he would have already moved Danny to SS and sent Desmond to Syracuse to learn how to play CF. Keep up that radio gig Jimbo!
June 18, 2011 5:30 PM

Why LeatherPants is on the radio and not in charge of anything any more.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Glad to see we won; for some reason, I had had a bad feeling about the game. Had to miss watching because of my daughter's track meet (what can I say, it's 'Track Town USA'?) -- in the rain (it's Oregon). Rather than go directly to the scores, I opted to come here and read through Mark's updates. They gave a nice feel to the progression of the game, which added to the pleasure of seeing the final results. The read through the comments -- ditto. Go Nats!

Grandstander said...

Lots of "new fans" at the ballpark. Been asked a lot about where certain things are, where the best food is, when to get autographs, etc. So, hey, what do you know? You win some games, more people come to the park. Someone alert the Lerners that winning makes them more money! (I kid, kinda).

Ryan Zimmerman hasn't been the hottest hitter since coming back, batting .250 including today's 2 for 4 performance, but he's been effective. It seems like every time he gets a hit, it sparks the offense. He's got 4 runs to show for his 7 times on base. Nice.

Also, what was the deal with the umpire today? I'll admit I don't have the best view depth-wise but some of those "balls" from Zimmerman looked like they were right down the middle. Me and another behind me kept throwing up our hands in disbelief at what he was calling.

I showed up early today to try out Shake Shack, since I'm too selfish and pompous to take off early from work. Meh. Pretty underwhelming considering the hype. The meat was very greasy but decent. But the cheese on it was disgusting. The sauce was pretty good though, as was the bun and the lettuce and tomato tasted very fresh. It's like a pitcher with great peripherals who just can't get it done. It's the Matt Garza of burgers. I'll continue to buy a burger from Five Guys and bring it in when I'm really in the mood for that sort of thing.

natsfan1a said...

Carpenter said at the beginning of the show (before they locked him in the closet) that it was a rookie ump whom he'd not seen before.

sjm308 said...

The red hat will remain for yet another game! This was my 2nd game in 3 days and I was worried about jinxing them but after Danny's walk-off on Thursday I actually felt pretty good about #8.

Was very impressed with HRod and if he keeps that up how tough will we be with Burnett, Coffey, HRod, Clippard and Storen?? Storen was throwing 95/96 after pitching 5 of the last 6 but HRod hit 101 and then came back with an 83mph slider (or something, how would I know) and that seems almost unfair. I look at Baltimore's bullpen and their numbers and then I look at ours and its night and day. We really just might keep this up, not winning 8 in a row, but with good pitching, fielding (and man do our catchers look great as well) and timely hitting we have a shot at absolutely being the best team in this young franchises brief history.

Go Nats

VP81955 said...

Moved to Lynchburg last year and haven't been able to make it up to Nationals Park since. How is the neighborhood development coming along? I'm guessing the recent economic doldrums haven't helped. But it sure would be nice to see some more eating options nearby (e.g. Ledo Pizza).

A nice win today. If the Nats somehow finish over .500 this year (suddenly not so wild a dream), perhaps Comcast in Lynchburg will finally add MASN to its lineup (which is why I've had DirectTV since I moved here).

Grandstander said...

The development around Nats Park is booming! The amount of restaurants/bars on Half Street doubled this season because The Bullpen, the lone bar on the strip, added another bar closer to the metro which I think is the same thing but with a different beer selection?

Your eating options are basically restricted to the hot dogs carts that roam out there before the game. I pack lunch/dinner most days I go.

Some other thoughts. HRod has been looking better and better. Couple of 101MPH heaters in the dirt, but combined with that slider, he's just nasty. If he can learn to hit his spots, he'll be absolutely filthy. Probably unhittable. The entire back of the bullpen has really been stepping it up. If you look at the guys not named Clippard and Storen, this is the line they've posted on this win streak:

10 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 4BB, 7K

That's not bad considered our only reliable guys to date aren't included in that.

Jim Webster said...

Grandstander... re your comment on Shake Shack: Last night line was way too long so I got a taco combo for $10.25 at the new Taqueria next door. Would have preferred Taco Bell at a third the price but better quality.

SonnyG10 said...

Rats! I forgot today's game was at 1 and I missed it. I'll be watching the replay at 8 though. It will be fun knowing we're going to win.

Nats Outsider said...


I work two blocks from Nationals Stadium, and I have to agree that the eating options are very limited in the immediate area. However, if you go up to 8th Street, up from the main entrance to the Navy Yard, there are tons of restaurants and bars, with all kinds of food: burgers/pub food, Mexican, Indian, you name it. There are little shuttle carts -- they are too small to call taxis -- that will take you there for "free." (A tip is expected.)

But there are only a handful of places within walking distance. On a nice night, the Dugout Bar at the Marriott on NJ Ave is decent.

sjm308 said...

I like Justin's Cafe which is about a block from the stadium in the bottom of Velocity (high end condo's). Nice draft beer selection of quality high end craft brews and decent sandwiches and soups. They also have Pizza and other stuff but I have stuck with the sandwiches and beer. Its not large but I have always found a seat. Also agree that if you don't mind the walk 8th street is outstanding - Matchbox, Cava, Teds Bulletin, a Belgian place etc etc. There are options if you know where to go. Also Bullfeathers and the Mexican Place right next to it are a little closer.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of the broadcast was the forced agreement between the Nats and Orioles broadcasters. It was like they were broadcasting a meaningless student-faculty game at an anonymous junior high in Ohio.

The Nats and O's broadcasters had a virtual competition to explain why the Nats have stolen Weiters BLIND the last two days. They agreed: It wasn't Weiter's fault, it was the PITCHERS. And the O's and Nats broadcasters, all obedient MASN employees, COMPETED to top each other in declaring how this was NOT Weiter's fault. But it WAS Weiter's fault. The Nationals stole him BLIND. We must stop these idiotic joint broadcasts. They represent the Angelos mafioso clique against city-based broadcasts.

Grandstander said...

I was at the games and thought it was the pitchers' fault. Matusz was especially not interested in checking the runner and had an awful move. I'm surprised we didn't get more. I haven't listened to one of those O's/MASN broadcasts but I will say that Wieters wasn't to blame, he did what he could.

I agree about the joint broadcasts though. They were just awful when I watched for a game at Camden. I know it's a cost-saving measure, but FFS I don't want to have to listen to how amazing the O's are for 9 innings. What's the timetable on this MASN deal? When can we get our own station?

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