Nats 2, Reds 0
Garrett Mock described the 101st and final pitch of his night as "just a good old fashioned heater down the middle." Without question, it was the most important pitch of his night -- and it solidified the best start of his young career. In my gamer, I go into far greater detail about the final batter Mock faced in Friday night's 2-0 Nats against Cincinnati. But here's the summarized version: The bases were loaded. Mock had walked two in a row. He was facing a rookie catcher. He was protecting a 1-0 lead. His pitch count was running higher than it's ever gone before at the big league level. He was due up second in the top of the seventh, so this was it -- make or break.
Then the count went full.
Mock, facing Craig Tatum, induced a popout to second.
Mock's final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K.
The best outing of his career.
"Very composed," Riggleman said. "Made all of his pitches. Just really sharp. Today I thought was his best [game]."
"He was in trouble," catcher Wil Nieves said, "and he came back."
Mock (and the bullpen, for that matter) needed a strong night, because the offense is still struggling to produce runs. The lone support in this game came from two unlikely sources, Ronnie Belliard and Wil Nieves. Both hit solo homers. It was Belliard's fourth of the year and Nieves's first.
A few other notes here...
* Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at 17.
* The Nats have scored just five runs (total) in their last four games.
* Awesome play of the game: In the third, Willy Taveras dropped a bunt attempt down the third base line. Zimmerman charged, grabbed the ball with his bare hand, and sidearmed a throw to first while falling face-first into the grass. Adam Dunn stretched out at first, and Zim's throw just beat the runner.
* Non-awesome play of the game: With two outs in the fifth, Aaron Harang skied a pop up between center field, left field and shortstop -- not so much no man's land, but any man's land. Problem was, centerfielder Nyjer Morgan and shortstop Cristian Guzman both stopped about 10 feet short of the ball. It kerplunked to the grass, and when the crowd at Great American witnessed the scoreboard replay, there was audible laughter. Final verdict: "I just didn't take charge," Morgan said. "That's my ball."
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