Friday, August 22, 2014

Game of the Day (8/21/14)

Nationals 1, Diamondbacks 0. Arizona's Wade Miley, who looks as though he may have peaked in 2012, faced Washington's Gio Gonzalez, who... looks as though he may have peaked in 2012.

Gonzalez retired Arizona's hitters in order in the first; Miley allowed a Denard Span single and walked Jayson Werth, but Adam LaRoche ended the inning by hitting into a double play. Gonzalez allowed a hit to Aaron Hill in the second, but erased him on a DP grounder. Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper singled to start the bottom of the inning, and Miley then retired the next three Nationals to leave both men on. In the top of the third, Alfredo Marte (whose listing as A. Marte in the play-by-play always makes me momentarily think that Andy has made an improbable comeback) walked, Tuffy Gosewich singled, and Miley bunted them to second and third; Ender Inciarte then lined out, and Cliff Pennington grounded out to strand both runners. Span walked and Anthony Rendon singled in the bottom of the inning, and Miley once again worked out of the jam.

The starters managed a sedate fourth, as all six hitters to bat in the inning were retired. The respite ended quickly in the fifth, when Marte singled with one out, and Miley's two-out single brought on an error that put the runners at second and third. Inciarte walked to load the bases, and Pennington popped up to end the threat. Danny Espinosa led off the bottom of the inning with a single, and Gonzalez bunted him to second; one out later, Rendon was intentionally walked, and Werth drew an unintentional walk to load the bases before LaRoche struck out to strand all three runners.

Gonzalez worked around a Mark Trumbo walk in the sixth, while Miley once again allowed Ramos and Harper to single before closing out the inning with no scoring. Gonzalez was spotless in the top of the seventh. Pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen led off the bottom of the inning with a single, and two outs later, Werth and LaRoche drew walks to load the bases. Matt Stites relieved Miley and drew a flyout from Ramos to end the inning.

Matt Thornton and Oliver Perez were both flawless in the eighth. Rafael Soriano walked Trumbo, then induced a double play from Hill in the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, Span's one-out hit chased Perez in favor of Evan Marshall; Span stole second, and Rendon grounded to third, at which point Jordan Pacheco threw the ball into the camera well, allowing Span to trot home with the winning run.

Through eight and a half innings, this game was a scoreless tie in which the two teams had combined to go 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position and leave the bases loaded thrice. In the ninth, it added a walkoff error. And as a bonus, it was Washington's tenth consecutive victory, a stretch that has given the Nats a 2.5 game lead in the race for the NL's best record.

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