|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
His team having won three straight at home against the Mets, Davey Johnson is sticking with the same lineup tonight against Anibal Sanchez. There is, of course, one twist: Since we're in an American League park, the DH is in effect. So tonight it'll be Chad Tracy, batting ninth behind all the other regulars.
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WASHINGTON NATIONALS at DETROIT TIGERS
Where: Comerica Park
Gametime: 7:08 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 179
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from LF
LF Bryce Harper
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
CF Denard Span
C Wilson Ramos
DH Chad Tracy
(RHP Stephen Strasburg)
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
SS Jhonny Peralta
LF Andy Dirks
C Alex Avila
2B Ramon Santiago
(RHP Anibal Sanchez)
HP Larry Vanover
1B Brian Gorman (cc)
2B Manny Gonzalez
3B Tony Randazzo
7:08 p.m. — And we're underway with a strike from Anibal Sanchez to Bryce Harper. A gorgeous, 73-degree evening in late July. Can't complain about that.
7:19 p.m. — And the Nats jump right on the board, thanks to a leadoff triple from Harper. Actually, Harper came within a couple of inches of a home run, striking the top of the wall down in the right-field corner, the ball caroming way back toward center field. He raced around, helmet-less, and cruised into third base, putting the Nats in business early. Ryan Zimmerman then delivered an RBI single up the middle, putting the Nats up 1-0 as Stephen Strasburg takes the mound.
7:30 p.m. — Strasburg got himself into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first, though he's certainly not the first pitcher to put Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder on base back-to-back. Truth be told, he was probably fortunate to hold Cabrera to a sharp single up the middle on a 2-0 fastball right down Broadway. But after that hit and a walk to Fielder, Strasburg got Victor Martinez to line out to center, ending the inning and preserving the Nats' 1-0 lead after one.
7:39 p.m. — It took Strasburg only seven pitches to retire the side in the bottom of the second. Good stuff there, including a strikeout of Jhonny Peralta. Still 1-0 heading to the third.
8:12 p.m. — Four innings in the books now, but the game is tied 1-1. The Tigers strung together a couple of two-outs hits off Strasburg in the bottom of the fourth, with Andy Dirks' double just inside the third-base line bringing home Fielder with Detroit' first run of the night. The Tigers actually wanted another, but the ball was touched by a fan, so Peralta was forced to go back to third base. Strasburg then escaped the jam by getting Alex Avila to fly out. So it's 1-1 as we move to the fifth.
8:26 p.m. — Strasburg cruises through the fifth. He's thrown only 59 pitches (40 strikes), as efficient as you'll ever see him. Looks like the Tigers are trying to be aggressive against him, and it's not necessarily working. Still 1-1 moving to the sixth.
8:36 p.m. — Meanwhile, the Nats haven't been able to make another dent into Sanchez since the top of the first. They got a couple of men on base in the sixth, with an Adam LaRoche, one-out double and an Ian Desmond, two-out walk. But Denard Span grounded out to end the inning, so this remains a 1-1 pitchers' duel, with no margin for error for Strasburg.
8:52 p.m. — So much for that pitchers' duel. Strasburg put himself in a real pickle in the bottom of the sixth and couldn't get out if it. Fielder laced a one-out single, Martinez followed with a double and then Peralta drew a walk to load the bases. Strasburg came up big-time to strike out Dirks on a 3-2 curveball, but he couldn't finish. Avila crushed a 2-1 fastball down and in, sending the ball flying to the right-field bleachers. Grand slam, and incredibly the first homer Strasburg has ever given up with more than one man on base. Just like that, the Nats trail 5-1 after six.
9:02 p.m. — A spectacular play by Zimmerman to rob Cabrera of extra bases and end the seventh inning, but it's not going to mean much if the Nats don't do something at the plate, and soon. They're down to their final six outs, though they've knocked Sanchez from the game. It'll be Jose Veras (just acquired from Houston) in from the bullpen for the eighth, the Nats still down by 4.
9:13 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 eighth against Veras. So now the Nats are down to their last three outs. Not looking good.
9:31 p.m. — It's over. Nats lose 5-1. The 3-game winning streak ends. And with the Braves up big late against the Rockies, the Nats are on the verge of falling 10 games back in the NL East.