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Friday, July 06, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-6-2012

New York Tribune, July 6, 1912:

The dreams of Charles H. Ebbets, president and chief owner of the Brooklyn Baseball Club, will be realized this morning, when the cornerstone is laid for the new home of the Superbas in the Flatbush section.
...

Among those who have been invited are President Taft, Governor [Woodrow] Wilson of New Jersey, Governor Dix and Mayor Gaynor.

Two years later, Taft’s brother bought the Chicago Cubs.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 06, 2012 at 05:00 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ballparks, brooklyn, dodgers, dugout, ebbets field, history

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   1. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 06, 2012 at 05:08 AM (#4174283)
A pretty blah Birthday Team. One Dog will hit his triples, Randolph will be consistently very good but never spectacular, and Icicle Fisler will have a supercool nickname.

C/Manager: Steve O'Neill
1B: Jason Thompson
2B: Willie Randolph
3B: Greg Norton
SS: Ed Holly
LF: Wes Fisler
CF: Lance Johnson
RF: Roy Hartzell

SP: Cy Blanton
SP: Omar Olivares
SP: George Derby
SP: Bill Magee
SP: Todd Burns
RP: Jeremy Hernandez

Umpire: Dale Ford
Cool Name: Shovel Hodge
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: July 06, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4174302)
Good a place as any to mention - did anyone watch the TOR-KC series? I hope the fact that he's shifting so much to inflate his defensive bWAR doesn't obscure the fact that Brett Lawrie is still the best defensive 3b in the majors, because he deserves the Gold Glove this year and I don't think its close. He made four or five ridiculous barehand plays in this series alone. I've never seen a 3b (no, I didn't see Brooks Robinson) cover so much ground, and he's equally good to his left, right and charging.

   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4174310)
I didn't see it but he is excellent defensively. The thing that strikes me when I've seen him play is for a guy with a strong arm he doesn't overdo it. A lot of times young kids come up and they want to show off their arm strength and start airmailing throws. It seems like every throw Lawrie makes hits the 1st baseman in the chest.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4174313)
Adam Dunn is currently tied with Willie Stargell at #7 on the career strikeout list (with 1936). By the end of the season he should pass Jose Canseco (1942) and Andres Galarraga (2003) and be either 4th or 5th, depending on how Alex Rodriguez (1990) does. In later seasons getting past Sammy Sosa (2306) into 3rd seems likely but not guaranteed.

And he's played at least 5 fewer seasons than any of those other people.
   5. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4174318)
Heh, I never thought that I'd see Cy and Blanton in the same sentence.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4174323)
cold

lawrie is legitimately excellent. it's so obvious he should begin winning the gold glove as early as next year.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4174325)
by the way, kudos to ron washington for pulling a torre and getting 8 rangers on the all star team by hook or by crook.

   8. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4174345)
Meanwhile, Albert Pujols, who is only one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game and still really damn good even in a down year, has somehow been left off the roster for a second year in a row.

I guess the millions and millions of people in the huge L.A/Orange County metro area have better things to do with their time than spend hours and hours banging on the "Vote" button.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: July 06, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4174380)
I hope the fact that he's shifting so much to inflate his defensive bWAR doesn't obscure the fact that Brett Lawrie is still the best defensive 3b in the majors, because he deserves the Gold Glove this year and I don't think its close. He made four or five ridiculous barehand plays in this series alone. I've never seen a 3b (no, I didn't see Brooks Robinson) cover so much ground, and he's equally good to his left, right and charging.
This was pretty much Bill James' response when our own Justin Zeth asked him about the subject.

I didn't know, until you asked, that he had good defensive statistics. (I've probably seen the same charts that you have, but at my age, things like that don't stick in your head.)

Based on how he has played against the Red Sox, I would readily believe that he's the best defensive third baseman in baseball. He's just made play after play after play against us. I would guess that he has made 8 to 10 seemingly impossible defensive plays against the Red Sox in the space of maybe 20 games.
Of course, if Lawrie is really 20 runs above average but he's showing as 50, it's still a huge problem even though 20 runs is great. Also, Bill James totally loves Brett Lawrie :-)
   10. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4174869)
Had practice last night for my 11 year old Cal Ripken League travel team. While we were taking BP I wound up chatting with one of the other coach's 14 year old son about my trip to Minnesota for the SABR convention. A random chat wound up becoming a lengthy discussion about Moe Berg. The kid (who loves history and loves baseball) was fascinated and I just heard from my friend that the kid got a book at the library about Berg and is very excited to read it.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 06, 2012 at 10:16 PM (#4175232)
Game of the day (yesterday): Mets 6, Phillies 5. And here you'd expect an RA Dickey-Cole Hamels matchup to be a pitcher's duel.

Dickey started the day by walking Jimmy Rollins. Two outs later, he hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch, and then gave up a single to Shane Victorino on a full count, which guaranteed that Rollins would score the game's first run from second. Hamels worked a 1-2-3 first, and the Phils went back to work in the top of the second, starting with a hit by Placido Polanco. One out later, Hamels bunted; I assume it was intended as a sacrifice, but Hamels actually reached, putting two on with one away. Rollins followed that with a double, driving in the game's second run. Dickey rallied from there, retiring Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence to keep the deficit to two runs.

In the bottom of the second, Lefty Killer Scott Hairson (can we get that legally added to his name?) led off with a solo homer, cutting the deficit in half. Dickey worked around a leadoff double from Ruiz in the third, and the Mets struck again in the bottom half. Dickey singled with one out, moved to second on a two-out hit by Daniel Murphy, and scored on one by David Wright to tie the game. Hairston walked to load the bases, and Lucas Duda grounded out to leave them that way.

The tie didn't last long. Mike Fontenot led off the top of the fourth with a single; Hamels struck out on a foul bunt, but Rollins made up for it by moving Fontenot to second on a single of his own. After Pierre struck out, Pence grounded the ball up the middle to bring in the third Philadelphia run of the day. Hamels was spotless in the fourth, and Dickey gave up a hit in the fifth, but erased it on a line drive double play. In the bottom of the inning, Ruben Tejada singled with one out, and after the second, Wright drove a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall, giving New York its first lead of the day at 4-3.

It was fun while it lasted. With one out in the sixth, Hamels singled, marking the third hit of the day by a pitcher. Rollins followed with a triple, tying the game and putting him a homer shy of the cycle, and Juan Pierre executed a squeeze bunt to bring him home with the go-ahead run. Hamels allowed only a two-out single in the bottom of the inning, and he and Dickey traded spotless sevenths before giving way to the bullpens.

Jon Rauch worked the eighth for New York. He allowed a one-out double to Fontenot, then a single to pinch hitter Chase Utley; Fontenot was thrown out trying to score, but Utley took second on the throw, making this play one of the more complicated ways any team could turn a runner on second with one out into a runner on second with two outs. After Rollins was passed intentionally, pinch hitter John Mayberry Jr. grounded out. Antonio Bastardo was immaculate in the eighth, as was Bobby Parnell in the ninth.

Philly closer Jonathan Papelbon could not say the same. Ike Davis started the inning with a double, and was pulled for pinch runner Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno moved to third on a sac bunt, and stayed there on a strikeout. Pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin worked a full count, and then was hit by a pitch; Tejada also stretched his at bat to 3-2, and then walked to load the bases. Murphy then nubbed an infield single back to the mound to tie the game, also with two strikes, and then Wright dropped the first pitch he saw into shallow right to bring home the winning run.

Ninth inning, two outs, two strikes, down a run, tying run on third. The Mets faced that three times in a row, and stayed alive every time. That, friends, is how you build an exciting ninth inning rally. When you combine that with a game that goes from 2-0 to 2-2 to 3-2 to 4-3 to 5-4 before that ninth inning, you've very much gotten your money's worth. Especially when you're not paying anything, just looking at a free PBP account the next day.
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 06, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4175252)
Game of the day (last year): Royals 5, White Sox 3. Chicago's Jake Peavy and Kansas City's Felipe Paulino combined on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 first inning. In the second, Peavy gave up a run without allowing a hit - he walked Billy Buler and Eric Hosmer, Jeff Francoeur hit into a force at second to move Butler to third, and Mike Moustakas brought him home with a sac fly. Matt Treanor was then hit by a pitch, putting two on with two outs... and then Peavy gave up a hit, namely an Alcides Escobar triple that brought in two more runs.

Paul Konerko led off the bottom of the second with a solo homer, closing the margin to 3-1. After a perfect third by Peavy, the Sox got a pair of one-out singles from Juan Pierre and Brent Morel, followed by two-out RBI singles from Konerko and Carlos Quentin that tied the score. Peavy and Paulino worked into and out of trouble for the next two innings, with Peavy stranding a runner at second in the fourth, Paulino leaving a pair in scoring position in the fourth and two more on first and second in the fifth. But the tie remained intact until the sixth, when Butler led off with a single, Francoeur singled him to second with one out, both runners moved up on a a wild pitch that doubled as strike 3 to Mike Moustakas, and Matt Treanor grounded a two-run single into left.

The Sox left runners on second in the sixth and seventh innings, with the Royals leaving a pair of their own in the seventh. Chicago also wasted a leadoff hit in the eighth; Kansas City loaded the bases without scoring in the ninth, leaving the Sox with one last chance. Konerko singled with one out, and AJ Pierzynski did the same with two, putting the tying run on base. Alexei Ramirez entered as a pinch hitter, but Joakim Soria induced a groundout to end the game.

The Royals scored 5 runs in this one. One of the runs was driven in by the #7 hitter, two by the #8 hitter, and two by the #9 hitter.
   13. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 07, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4175535)
Jonathan Bernstein, rsbb-er turned political blogger, points out that the Giants are currently playing their fourth straight series against a first-place team: Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Pirates, with the Pirates having displaced the Reds atop the NL Central in the middle of it all.

He asks if this has ever happened before (which I doubt), and I figured you guys would know better than the crowd over at his blog.
   14. The District Attorney Posted: July 07, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4175578)
Nah, not really. Have they got any questions about mayonnaise?
   15. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4175612)
The kid (who loves history and loves baseball) was fascinated and I just heard from my friend that the kid got a book at the library about Berg and is very excited to read it.

Good work, kid.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4175622)
Murphy then nubbed an infield single back to the mound to tie the game, also with two strikes,


The PBP failed you here. Murphy stroked a liner up the middle. It would have been either a game-winning 2 RBI single or a game-ending 6-3, but Papelbon took it off his leg. The ball bounced back to the basepath towards Murphy. Papelbon ran, scooped it up, and just when it looked like he had a tiny prayer of throwing Murphy out, he fell flat on his butt.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: July 07, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4175677)
He asks if this has ever happened before (which I doubt), and I figured you guys would know better than the crowd over at his blog.


I'm guessing it has happened before, especially if you count instances in which the 2 of the series had the same first-place opponent
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4175683)
It's much more likely to happen now that there are three division leaders in each league... but it was certainly always possible.
   19. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4175704)
The PBP failed you here.

That's what I get for trying to be descriptive without actually doing my homework properly. Totally worth it for the chance to read your recap of the play, though.
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 07, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4175719)
Game of the day (yesterday): Yankees 10, Red Sox 8. Yes, sometimes it is exactly what you think.

The Yankees scored five runs in the first inning. It went: Jeter single, Granderson single, A-Rod HBP, Cano bases-loaded walk, Teixeira 2-run single, Swisher sac fly, Ibanez single, Chavez sac fly, Martin groundout to end the inning and complete the bat-around.

The Red Sox scored five runs in the first inning. It went: Nava double, wild pitch moving him to third, Kalish sac fly, Ortiz single, Ross ROE, Gonzalez RBI double, Saltalamacchia 3-run homer to tie the game. One of the next three hitters reached before the end of the inning, which means that the Sox batted around exactly also.

Granderson tripled against Josh Beckett with one out in the second, and scored on A-Rod's groundout. The Sox countered again against Hiroki Kuroda in the bottom of the inning, with Nava getting hit by a pitch and Kalish and Ortiz singling to bring him around.

In the third, naturally, both pitchers worked 1-2-3 innings. Kuroda allowed a runner to third with one out in the fourth, but kept him from scoring; Beckett allowed them to second and third with one away in the fifth, but escaped largely thanks to A-Rod getting thrown out at home on Swisher's grounder to second.

The bottom of the fifth saw Boston take its first lead of the day. Gonzalez singled and took second on a wild pitch; one out later, Mauro Gomez singled him home. Kuroda, who was somehow still pitching, retired the next two hitters. Matt Albers pitched the sixth for Boston; he gave up a hit and a walk and still only faced three batters (Chavez was thrown out trying to stretch his single, and Jeter hit into a double play to remove Martin from the bases). Kuroda and Boone Logan combined to face the minimum more conventionally in the bottom of the inning.

Then came the seventh. Andrew Miller walked Granderson to start the inning. A-Rod followed with a single, and Cano struck out looking. Miller was then lifted for Vicente Padilla, who worked to a full count on Teixeira before giving up a go-ahead two-run triple. Swisher looked at strike 3 as well, but Ibanez doubled Teixeira in, and Chavez followed with a single to score Ibanez and make it a 10-7 game.

Cody Ross led off the bottom of the seventh with a homer to close the margin to 10-8. The Sox would add two singles, one against Logan and the second against Cody Eppley, but the Yanks retired the side when Eppley induced a force and David Robertson fanned Nick Punto. Boston put two more runners on against Robertson in the eighth, but Rafael Soriano came on to get Gonzalez out and escape the jam, then worked a perfect ninth to end the game.

Ten runs in the first inning, and the game was tied. That's mostly what you need to know, but the game was also decided on a seventh-inning rally, and the losing team did put the tying runs on in both the seventh and eighth innings. For a nine-inning game that didn't have a single baserunner in the ninth, that's going to be tough to beat.
   21. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4175732)
Game of the day (last year): Giants 6, Padres 5 (14). San Diego took an early lead against Madison Bumgarner, with Jason Bartlett and Chase Headley singling and Ryan Ludwick bringing them both home on a one-out double. The Giants spent the rest of regulation trying to catch up.

They quickly cut the margin in half in the bottom of the first. Andres Torres led off with a double, and Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval both grounded out, with Torres moving to third on the first of them and scoring on the second. Orlando Hudson led off the second with a single for the Pads; Rob Johnson struck out, but Hudson stole second on strike 3, and took third on the resultant throwing error. And then the Padres ordered an apparent suicide squeeze bunt by pitcher Dustin Moseley; he popped it up in foul ground, and Aubrey Huff raced in to make the catch and doubled Hudson off of third. Moseley rallied to work a scoreless second, and San Diego padded their advantage by a run in each of the next two innings, with a Chris Denorfia double and a pair of productive outs in the third and a Cameron Maybin triple/Jesus Guzman double combo in the fourth.

San Francisco went back to work against Moseley in the bottom of the fourth, which started with a walk to Sandoval. Two outs later, Nate Schierholtz homered on a 3-1 pitch to bring his team back within a run. Both teams allowed a two-out baserunner in the fifth (a Headley walk and a Torres double, respectively), but the scoring didn't resume until the sixth. Hudson singled with two outs, and then (stop me if you've heard this before) stole second and moved on to third thanks to a Chris Stewart throwing error from behind the plate. Rob Johnson then singled to bring him home and stretch the lead to 5-3. Moseley worked a perfect sixth; the Padres managed two walks and two steals to put runners on the corners against Ramon Ramirez in the seventh, but didn't score. Moseley was spotless again in the bottom of the inning, and Guillermo Mota matched him in the eighth. Moseley recorded the first out in the eighth, then gave up a single to Torres (his third hit of the game) and was pulled for Mike Adams. Adams's appearance did not improve the situation, as he gave up a single to Crawford, followed by a first-pitch double to Sandoval that brought in both runners to tie the game at 5, the first tie the Giants had managed since before they batted for the first time.

Facing closer Brian Wilson in the ninth, San Diego got back-to-back one-out singles from Denorfia and Bartlett to put runners on the corners, but Headley struck out and Ludwick grounded out to leave them there. They represented the first drops in a veritable torrent of outs: Luke Gregerson was perfect in the ninth and tenth for the Padres, and Wilson matched him in the latter inning; Sergio Romo worked a spotless eleventh for San Francisco, while Josh Spence gave up a one-out hit to Huff (the first batter to reach after 15 consecutive outs), but induced a double play from Emmanuel Burriss. Romo was immaculate again in the twelfth; San Diego's Ernesto Frieri gave up a leadoff double to Scheirholtz, who moved to third on a flyout but couldn't advance any further. Javier Lopez worked a 1-2-3 thirteenth; Frieri allowed a pair of singles in the bottom of the inning, but no runs, and Lopez was flawless again in the fourteenth.

Finally, Schierholtz led off the bottom of the fourteenth by launching his second homer of the game, a walkoff blast to right.

A few numbers from this one:

Schierholtz and Sandoval combined: 5/11, 1 BB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, 1.075 WPA
Rest of the San Francisco offense: 7/39, 0 BB (!), 3 2B, 0 HR, 3 R, 0 RBI, -1.048 WPA

Any question as to who gets the (probably metaphorical) game ball? Actually, yes.

Giants bullpen: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 K
Giants bullpen (extra innings only): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

Yes, the Padres went without a single baserunner in extra innings, which represented quite a challenge to my ability to find different ways to describe the side being retired in order. It also limits the excitement of the game to some extent; despite a pretty exciting regulation and 14 innings, it's "only" the #24 game of 2011 so far.

Honorable mention: Rays 12, Twins 5, which I feel safe in assuming will be the most exciting 12-5 game of 2011. (89th percentile, exciting enough to get Tampa within striking distance of moving out of last place in excitement for the season.)
   22. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4175941)
In AZL action, the Royals have scored 6 in the bottom of the first to cut their deficit to 11, as the Brewers sent 23 men to the plate in the top half of the inning.
   23. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4175949)
Vin Mazzaro must be pitching for the AZL Royals.
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4175958)
In today's game Hunter Pence plowed over third base coach Juan Samuel on his way to scoring a run in the second inning. Video here, though I can't see it. It didn't look like Pence did anything wrong, though he was well outside the base path. Samuel has been a third base coach for quite a while but I think this is his fault, not only getting in the way but reacting to the impending collision by slowly backing up instead of, you know, getting out of the way. Also, why was he so close to home plate? Shouldn't he be still by the base to tell Polanco what to do?
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 08, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4176064)
Game of the day (yesterday): Rangers 4, Twins 3 (10). Texas's Derek Holland faced Minnesota's Samuel Deduno; fortunately, since it was Saturday, neither pitcher will be held out of the All-Star game due to having pitched the Sunday before.

Wait.

Denard Span led off the first with a single. Ben Revere removed Span from the bases by hitting into a forceout, then removed himself by getting picked off. Joe Mauer walked, but Josh Willingham flied out to give Holland a scoreless first. Deduno, meanwhile, worked a 1-2-3 inning.

Minnesota opened the scoring in the second. Justin Morneau singled to lead off, and Ryan Doumit doubled, moving him to third. Trevor Plouffe drove in one run on a groundout, and Brian Dozier added a second on a single before being doubled off on a Jamey Carroll flyout to end the inning. The Rangers got a run back in the bottom half, when Adrian Beltre singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by Nelson Cruz. Cruz advanced to third on a groundout, then was thrown out trying to score on what would have been a wild pitch if he'd been successful, ending the inning.

Both teams drew solitary walks in the third. Morneau picked up his second hit of the day in the fourth, but didn't score; in the Texas half, Josh Hamilton responded with his first hit, and did score, because it was a game-tying home run. Holland worked a scoreless fifth, and despite allowing the first two hitters to reach on a single and a walk, Deduno did the same, stranding them at second and third. Willingham homered with one out in the sixth to return the lead to the Twins, but Beltre duplicated his feat in the bottom of the inning to retie the score at 3 and chase Deduno from the game in favor of Jeff Gray.

Holland was also removed to start the seventh. Plouffe greeted Tanner Scheppers with a single; Jamey Carroll doubled later in the inning, but Plouffe had been erased from the bases on a Dozier double play ball. Gray recorded two quick outs in the home half of the inning, but then gave up consecutive singles to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. Tyler Robertson replaced him, and walked Hamilton to load the bases; Alex Burnett replaced him, and induced Beltre to end the inning by grounding out.

The Twins drew a pair of one-out walks from Texas's Robbie Ross before Morneau ended the inning by hitting into a double play; Texas also worked a pair of walks in the bottom of the eighth, and also stranded both runners. Ryan Doumit led off the ninth with a double against former Twin Joe Nathan, and the pinch runner who replaced him stole third, but the three hitters who followed couldn't bring him home. Jared Burton worked a perfect ninth for Minnesota to send the game to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Revere singled with one out, then stole second and moved to third on a passed ball with two away. Willingham struck out to leave him there, and in the bottom of the inning, Kyle Waldrop allowed a single to Beltre and a walkoff double to Cruz.

This game demonstrates why extra-inning games so often do really well in my system. The tenth inning was all right - runner left on third in the top half, quick end in the bottom - but nothing special. But extra inning games typically feature highly exciting regulation portions, and this one was no exception. Two rallies to tie the game in the early-to-mid innings, and no less than 6 runners left in scoring position in innings 7-9 of a tie game (plus another in the bottom of the sixth after the game was tied, and two more in the fifth when it was 2-2 rather than 3-3). Had the Rangers walked off with this one in the ninth, it still would have taken top honors on the day. And as mentioned, it's not like the tenth was bad.
   26. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4176079)
Game of the day (last year): Cubs 10, Nationals 9. Washington's Livan Hernandez gave up a single and hit a batter in the first inning; Chicago's Matt Garza allowed a hit and a walk in the bottom half, but neither team scored. Both pitchers also worked scoreless second innings, with Livan allowing a single, and Hernandez was perfect in the third.

In the bottom of the third, the heavens opened and the runs poured down. Hernandez himself led off with a single. Roger Bernadina doubled, and Danny Espinosa singled both runners home. Ryan Zimmerman added an infield hit, and the runners advanced 90 extra feet each on a throwing error by Garza. Michael Morse singled in the inning's third run, and Jayson Werth added another hit to bring home the fourth. Rick Ankiel grounded to first for what should have been the merciful first out of the inning, but Carlos Pena muffed the play, allowing Ankiel to reach and loading the bases. And Wilson Ramos doubled, driving in two more runs and driving Garza from the game having faced eight hitters in the third inning and retired none of them. Jeff Samardzija entered to stop the bleeding; he retired three of the next four hitters, but gave up an RBI single to Bernadina that made it a 7-0 game. And after Hernandez worked through a routine fourth, the Nats tacked on what appeared to be a totally irrelevant run in the bottom of the inning, with Zimmerman reaching on a two-base error and Ankiel doubling him home.

Hernandez worked a 1-2-3 fifth, and James Russell kept the Nats in check in the bottom of the inning. Then came the sixth, which started out simply enough; Livan allowed a single to Aramis Ramirez, but sandwiched it in between a pair of outs. With two away, however, Geovany Soto, Marlon Byrd, and Alfonso Soriano hit consecutive singles, bringing in Chicago's first run of the day and loading the bases. Darwin Barney broke the string of singles; he doubled instead, driving in two more, and Blake DeWitt followed that with a three-run homer to reduce Washington's lead to 8-6 and chase Hernandez from the mound.

John Grabow worked a scoreless sixth for the Cubs. Todd Coffey coaxed a lineout from Starlin Castro, but walked Ramirez to bring the tying run to the plate. Since that run was in the person of Carlos Pena, the Nats inserted lefty Sean Burnett. Naturally, Pena hit Burnett's first pitch over the right field wall to tie the game. Burnett went on to walk a pair of Cubs (one intentionally) over the remainder of the inning, but managed to preserve the tie, and Sean Marshall did the same, working a flawless bottom of the seventh.

Henry Rodriguez, who I might as well nickname "Excitement Man," entered for the Nats in the eighth. He retired the first two Cub hitters, but then allowed a double to Castro on a 2-2 pitch and an RBI single to Ramirez on a full count, giving Chicago its first lead of the game. Marshall stayed in for the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff hit to Bernadina, who stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and came in with the tying run on a hit by Morse.

Rodriguez remained on the mound for the top of the ninth. Soto led off with an infield single (!). Marlon Byrd tried to lay down a sac bunt, but Rodriguez forced Soto at second on the play. Tony Campana came up as a pinch hitter and hit into a forceout of his own, providing the Cubs with their second consecutive speed upgrade on the bases (albeit at a cost of two outs). Campana then stole second on the first pitch to Darwin Barney, and scored the go-ahead run when Barney doubled on the fifth one.

The Cubs countered Henry Rodriguez with their own Excitement Man prototype, in the person of Carlos Marmol. The inning started with Marmol hitting Ankiel with a pitch (of course). Ramos bunted Ankiel to second, and he moved to third on a wild pitch (of course). Matt Stairs fouled out, bringing pinch hitter Laynce Nix to the plate. Nix walked (of course), and was pulled for pinch runner Alex Cora, who stole second to put the winning run in scoring position. Bernadina then flied out to end the game, preserving a Cub victory in a wild one.

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