Tired of playing catch-up to the Phillies, the Nationals pounced out early in tonight's 6-5 win over the reigning back-to-back National League Champs.
Nyjer Morgan got things started with his legs, leading off the home half of the first inning with a triple. Cristian Guzman, getting his first start at shortstop, hit him in with a single. A pair of sacrifices then put the Nationals up 3-0 entering the second. The lead wouldn't hold, however, as Nats number three starter Craig Stammen surrendered four runs in five innings of work.
The game entered the seventh with the two teams tied at five, but Nats third-basemen Ryan Zimmerman got the game winning hit with his second double of the evening, driving in Alberto Gonzalez to take the 6-5 lead. Tyler Clippard, Brian Bruney and Matt Capps combined to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings to close out the game, giving the Nationals their first victory of the 2010 season.
SERIES ROUND UP
The Nationals avoided the sweep by earning the one-run victory tonight. The two lopsided losses were a result of the Nationals inability to contain the top-half of the Phillies dangerous line up.
The Top Half Hit:
Rollins: .455 Polanco: .500 Utley: .417 Howard: .400 Werth: .308
Most of the damage from the top-half of the Phillies line-up came at the hand of the Nationals starting rotation who combined for 12.2 innings, 24 hits, and 15 earned runs. Not a good performance for a group that was considered much improved upon the 2009 staff. Bullpen acquisitions Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, and Tyler Walker on the other hand were very efficient, allowing no earned runs in six innings of work.
At the plate the Nationals got production from the number two slot. In game two, Ian Desmond recorded to extra-base hits and in game three Cristian Guzman went 2-4 in the number two slot, recording a double, a run, and an RBI.