John “Trouble” Lannan pitches a scoreless first without purposely hitting anyone. I still don’t think Lannan hit Chase Utley on purpose (while up 0-2) in his debut on the mound last week in Philly, and I think if he did hit Ryan Howard on the hip, Howard deserved it for some of the home run poses he was striking the whole series, not to mention the home runs themselves.
Tonight Lannan retires the visiting Cincinnati Reds in order in the first, retiring Ken Griffey, Jr after fooling him with a nasty breaking ball and eventually getting a groundout to record an out on a living legend, which must, for Lannan, really be a thrill.
Felipe Lopez doubles off Bronson Arroyo to start the Nationals first. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to second allowing Lopez to move to third. Ryan Zimmerman takes a walk. Dmitri Young, DY! singles up the middle. Lopez scores. 1-0 Nationals.
Austin Kearns doubles to score Zimmerman. 2-0 Nationals.
Ryan Church waits for a slow curve and droops it into left to score DY and AK. 4-0 Nationals. The former member of the Cuss Breaking Red Sox Bronson Arroyo is struggling mightily. I think this happened before…
Arroyo gets off to a bad start in the second as well, walking Felipe Lopez and surrendering an RBI double to Ronnie Belliard to make it 5-0 Nationals in the second. Arroyo tries to sneak a curve by Austin Kearns, but Kearns waits and smacks the breaker off the facade below the upper deck. Hit the showers, Arroyo. Find out what your tippin’? 7-0 Nationals in the second.
Ryan Zimmerman is a line drive machine. Zimmerman singles off Reds reliever Mike Goslin with two out in the fourth, but Gosling retires Austin Kearns for the first time tonight to bring the inning to a close. Zimmerman’s raised his average from .245 on July 1st to .260 at the end of the month (and .262 as of the fifth), as he has hit .311 for the month with 32 hits, 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 11 RBI, and 10 walks. If he continues to rake, Zimmerman might very well find himself with another .280+ season, though he’ll be hard pressed to match last season’s 110 RBI total. So far this season Zimmerman’s at .260, 15 HR’s and 53 RBI’s. Does this qualify as a Sophomore Jinx?
John Lannan allows only two hits through five in holding the 7-0 Nationals lead, but the Reds get to the left-handed hurler in the sixth. A single by Bellhorn, a walk to Jeff Keppinger, a run-scoring single to Junior, and a two-out RBI single by Adam Dunn and it’s 7-2 Nationals as Lannan is lifted. (5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 walks, 1 K) for Lannan, who manages not to hit anyone and leaves with the lead, and with his family in attendance at RFK in DC. 7-2 after five and a half.
Reds reliever Elizondo Ramirez is back out for his second inning of relief in the sixth. Ramirez pitches a scoreless frame. Chris Schroder continues to pound the strike zone with sinking fastballs. Ryan Zimmerman throws away a routine grounder from Adam Dunn with one out, but Schroder picks him up and holds the 7-2 lead through six and a half.
Two-time former National Mike “Prospects in Return” Stanton will throw the bottom of the seventh for Cincy. Stanton retires the Nationals in order. Chris Schroder gives up a leadoff single to Keppinger before being replaced on the mound by Ray King. King gives up a single to Junior, but gets two outs before handing the ball to the Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch. Rauch gets Jeff Conine to fly out to right. 7-2 after seven and a half.
It’ll be Luis Ayala or Billy Traber as both throw in the pen before the ninth, and it’s Ayala as the Reds come up for their last three outs of the evening. Ground out to Belliard from Scott Hatterberg for the first out. Pinch hitter Javier Valentin pops out to Belliard. Mark Bellhorn takes a full count walk. Norris Hopper reaches on a swinging bunt. Luis Ayala gets Jeff Keppinger to ground back to the mound, and Ayala records the last out of John Lannan’s first Major League win. Congrats Mr. Lannan!!
The Nationals look for the series sweep of the Reds tomorrow night as they turn back the clocks a full century to celebrate the twenty-one season Major League career of the one man who was able to lead a Washington team to a World Series. Who is this player? Find out tomorrow. Wait for it…
Final score 7-2.