Against division rival Philadelphia at Nationals Park on Friday, the Nationals’ offense finally found its footing in a four-run fifth inning, their highest single-inning output in a month. The explosion propelled Washington to a 5-2 victory. The Nationals not only put runners on against Phillies right-handed starter Kyle Kendrick, they also drove them in. Their offensive efforts supported a strong outing by Jordan Zimmermann, who battled a stiff neck on a cold night to become the first National League pitcher to reach eight wins.
And it was a cold night. Lower 50s by the time the game ended and a fairly brisk wind. I'm thankful I thought through what I was going to wear so I had enough layers to stay warm.
Zimmermann had a couple of hiccups along the way which allowed two runs to score. But he then settled down and because of that down went the Phillies.
I was surprised that weren't more people at the park. The row I sat in was essentially empty.
There was some additional drama in the 4th inning when Tyler Moore was waved home. He smashed into catcher Erik Kratz and sent him flying but Moore was still out. I have to say this made the crowd a little nervous but in the next inning Nationals' bats exploded and they scored 4 runs. Still there were other opportunities that the Nats squandered. Most notably in the 8th when they had bases loaded and couldn't bring in any runs. This is a problem when the Nats are bad have. They get runners in scoring position but have two outs and don't get anything for the effort.
The other surprise, a very nice one at that, was Steve Lombardozzi who was playing for the injured Danny Espinosa. Lombardozzi was named player of the game. As Nats Insider commented:
Lombardozzi couldn't have picked a better night to get hot at the plate. With Danny Espinosa now sidelined with a fracture in his right wrist, Lombardozzi knows he's going to get at least a couple consecutive starts at second base. If he keeps doing what he did tonight, he could get more than that. He singled in the second, singled in the fourth and then delivered a two-out, two-run double in the fifth for his third hit in as many at-bats. The Nationals have been waiting for Lombardozzi (and others on their bench) to heat up. Perhaps this was the start of a nice run for the backup second baseman.
In all a great night.
|A rather gloomy night at Nats' Park|
|Jordan winds up for the pitch|
|And there it goes|
|Ian Desmond reacts to a called third strike|