Where were you when ...
... Ryan Zimmerman hit his third game-ending blow against the Marlins in his brief career?
We'll get to that.
First, kudos to soccer stud Steve Goff, who managed not to question Manny Acta's alignment, calling for a 2-4-4 or some such thing, and hung in till the end to bring you this on-line only report, because we blew past all those pesky deadlines for the $1.50 edition. Has a game-ending homer in the major leagues ever been hit in front of fewer people? Doubtful.
I was at the game last night, though not working. Enjoyed almost all of the first rain delay from my seats in Section 309. As I am not a stalwart fan, and because it occured to me that I'd probably get to see this team again, our group bought six ponchos for $25 (thanks, Stan) and headed for the Metro. Two stops and a three-block walk to the Tune Inn. And wouldn't you know, after that pesky second rain delay, that they were able to pump MASN2 in there and we saw Zimmerman's shot.
The upshot: Nationals win their first series of the year, have a chance for a sweep. Whodda thunk?
Zimmerman adds to his growing -- but until this year, latent -- image as a clutch guy. This was really his only big hit of the year thus far. Lest you forget, I offer these, though:
* Father's Day, June 18, 2006, Yankees in town, full house at RFK (what's that like?), Chien Ming-Wang on the mound because the Nats had worn out Mariano Rivera in the first two stirring games of the series, and Zimmerman drilled a fastball that didn't sink enough out to left field, a two-run shot that provided a 3-2 victory and the first curtain call for a National since baseball returned to Washington.
* Independence Day, July 4, 2006, Marlins in town, Nats down 4-3, two men on, and Zimmerman victimized Joe Borowski for a three-run bomb that provided a 6-4 win. Here's Frank Robinson, who knows a little bit about hitters, afterward: "He's a very special individual. They don't come around too often. . . . He's still learning, that's what's scary about it. He's going to be good one of these days, and not too far away. And I mean good."
* Two days later, July 6, 2006, Marlins in town, and Zimmerman hit a 3-1 fastball back up the middle off Jason Vargas in the bottom of the 11th to break a tie and provide an 8-7 win.
All that was as a rookie, and it all came within a three-week span. So maybe this begins a little tear for Zimmerman, who drove in five last night to bring his season total to 14. Still a lot of wood to chop to get to last year's total, 110, which I think would be almost impossible given that he'll have far fewer runners in scoring position in front of him this season (probably), but it was a night he, and the team, needed.
And since I wasn't here last night, I'm dying to talk to Austin Kearns about his inside-the-park homer, a first for a National since baseball returned here.
Your Sunday lineups (and man, is it a beautiful day at RFK):
Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Church -- 7
Kearns -- 9
Fick -- 3
Flores -- 2
Langerhans -- 8
Simontacchi -- 1
Ramirez -- 6
Uggla -- 4
Cabrera -- 5
Jacobs -- 3
Willingham -- 7
Borchard -- 9
Amezaga -- 8
Treanor -- 2
Obermueller -- 1
Glad to be back in the chair. I'll talk to you at some point soon.
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