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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.

Inning over.

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."

By Chico Harlan  |  August 14, 2009; 11:27 PM ET
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Next: Nats Offer Strasburg Record-Setting Contract


I think Karns can return to Texas Tech for his senior year.

Or sign with the Nats now ...

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Non-Nats Note redux:
Our Virginia state champion Little League team, the Chantilly Americans, lost the Southeastern Regional final to Georgia tonight, 6-3. They played well but were hurt by a 3-run 5th for Georgia.
With runners on 1st and 2nd in the 5th, the Georgia batter hit a ball to short that caromed off the runner's foot (no call). On the same play, the Chantilly players muffed a rundown between 3rd and home, allowing two runs to score.

Posted by: chime1211 | August 14, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Is Larry Vanover umpiring little league games now? Seriously though, congrats to Chantilly on a great run!

Posted by: BGinVA | August 15, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Schadenfreude dept:

The next inning, Lastings Milledge allowed Koyie Hill's high pop toward the left-field corner plop in front of him for another triple. That prompted vocal taunting from some of the blue-clad capacity crowd of 41,619.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 15, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Belliard's homer would have gone out of the old Yankee Stadium, into the old bullpen in LF-CF.

I love the SS chain of connections. Reminds me that one of my students has a best friend whose sister dates Mescheriakov on the Hoyas. Anytime you need some inside information, just let me know.

Zimmerman is making the web gems every night.

Posted by: paulkp | August 15, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I think Clint Everts may make the expanded rosters. Mayhap that "baby faced" kid will make the lady Nats fans swoon and forget all about Nieves.

Posted by: periculum | August 15, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

just a quick point of distinction. it was Nieves' second homer of his career, not this season.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | August 15, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Nats v. Reds, 2-0. It's Belliard's fault.

Just sayin'...

Posted by: beardo1 | August 15, 2009 2:50 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what people would be saying about the missed fly ball if it had been Dunn rather than Morgan who let it drop. Morgan is a good player but people need to stop acting as if he could do no wrong. He is as accountable for his boneheaded plays as anyone else is. And he's made several this week.

Posted by: raymitten | August 15, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

zimmerman truly deserves the gold glove this year. pretty much every game now i see him make a play where i laugh to myself how good he is. so glad they locked him up.

Posted by: longterm | August 15, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Morgan was holding himself prety accountable last night after the dropped fly ball. Did you see him throw his glove in the dugout on the telecast as soon as the inning was finally over? He was still extremely pissed, even though he made the play of the inning by throwing Harang out at the plate.

Posted by: faNATic | August 15, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

From the last thread, seconding BinM on both the regrets and the "well done" to the Chantilly team for advancing as they did. I actually missed Belli's dinger because I'd clicked over to the Little League game and saw that they were tied up. I got to see it on the replays, though, as well as the one by that guy, what's his name again? Wil Nieves. Who? Wil Nieves.


@chime: Regrets, but take heart in a season well-played by the youngsters. A hearty "Well Done & Well Played" to all the kids on that roster.

The loss hurts now, but will feel better in hindsight.

Posted by: BinM | August 14, 2009 10:57 PM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 15, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Ah, guess it's in this thread, too. That's what I get for not reading comments before posting.

I agree with faNATic re. Morgan and accountability. I also thought he looked to be extremely pi$$ed at himself immediately after the (non)play, and it seemed to me that it was still eating at him later in the game (well after he'd fired his glove in the dugout). He looked quite somber.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 15, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse


Tony Plush is my man. His cool factor buys him a lot. And he totally made up for the dropped ball with great throw-to-home.

Posted by: nattydread1 | August 15, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse


Aug 15th is hear.....Defense is the biggest difference in this team. Morgan is a huge help but he does not account for the vast improvement in the play or reduction of errors. Who would have predicted that Dunn would do so well in LF or 1st Base......Riggs called him out in private and in the media and results came. Riggs does a mandated and dedicated fielding time.....something we all called for and something Acta did not do and rationalized as old fashioned and ineffective. Acta was happy hitting some ground balls during BP without any focus or purpose, without any throws or situations set up.......That is the biggest difference amount many and the reason this team is watchable now and was a joke under Manny Acta.

506 it is now time for you to give your view and go on record. Did firing Acta make a difference?

Posted by: JayBeee | August 15, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

There's a new post up. It appears to have "news." And away we go.

Posted by: Scooter_ | August 15, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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