Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It's Independence Day at Nationals Park, and we've got morning baseball.
It'll be Edwin Jackson against Madison Bumgarner, so the Nationals counter with a right-handed-heavy lineup that includes Tyler Moore at first base and Mark DeRosa in right field.
Hope everyone enjoys a fun and safe Independence Day, whether here at the ballpark or at home with friends and family. Plenty of updates to come, so please check back...
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 11:05 a.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
1B Tyler Moore
RF Mark DeRosa
C Jhonatan Solano
RHP Edwin Jackson
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Emmanuel Burriss
LF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Brandon Belt
RF Nate Schierholtz
SS Brandon Crawford
LHP Madison Bumgarner
HP Jerry Meals, 1B Gary Darling (cc), 2B Paul Emmel, 3B Scott Barry
11:08 a.m. -- And we are underway. The crowd is still filing in, perhaps struggling to get here so early. But it looks like it could be a full house, or very close to one.
11:25 a.m. -- Edwin Jackson started this one off by walking Gregor Blanco on five pitches. And it only went downhill from there. Melky Cabrera singled to right, with Mark DeRosa making a terrible decision to fire a throw from right field through the cutoff man and all the way to third base, even though he had no chance to throw out Blanco. In the end, that didn't really make a difference, though, because after Buster Posey drove one run home on a slow roller, Pablo Sandoval crushed a meatball of a pitch from Jackson into the center-field bleachers to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. Jackson has now surrendered 17 earned runs in 16 first innings this year, which equates to a 9.56 ERA. That's not good.
11:42 a.m. -- Jackson wasn't entirely sharp in the top of the second, either, but he was better and avoided giving up a run. He didn't get any help from DeRosa, who looked awful trying to track down Brandon Crawford's drive to right. Hasn't been a good start to this game for the veteran utilityman. Still 3-0 Giants heading to the bottom of the second.
11:56 a.m. -- As has often been the case this season, Jackson is getting better with each passing inning. He retired the side in the third, never letting the ball leave the infield, and he's retired five in a row now. His teammates, however, have yet to record a hit off Madison Bumgarner through two innings.
12:14 p.m. -- If you're an opposing pitcher, is there anything you want to see less right now than Ian Desmond at the plate with the bases loaded? The All-Star shortstop does it again, roping a two-out, two-run single up the middle in the bottom of the third. That came a few minutes after Ryan Zimmerman came within inches of a three-run homer, settling instead for an RBI double off the top of the wall. Put them together, and this is now a 3-3 game heading to the fourth. Desmond, meanwhile, now has 47 RBI in Game 79 of the season. I'm not sure even the most optimistic of Desmond fans could have foreseen that.
12:23 p.m. -- By the way, 25 of Desmond's 47 RBI this season have come with two outs. That seems like a lot to me.
12:35 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: The Onion strikes again! Jhonatan Solano with an opposite-field homer to put the Nats up 4-3 in the fourth. He's now hitting .385 with two homers and six RBI in extremely limited playing time. This is the Nats' FIFTH-string catcher, remember.
12:48 p.m. -- It's pretty remarkable how Jackson is able to so consistently bounce back from bad first innings. He's now retired 12 of the last 14 he's faced and is through the fifth having allowed only those three early runs.
1:01 p.m. -- Barkeep, another round of ... well, you get the idea by now. Zim does it again, mashing a two-run homer to right-center to continue his torrid run at the plate. And then seconds later, Morse drills a solo shot into the right-field bullpen. These guys are just hammering the ball to the opposite field today. It's 7-3 Nats after five.
1:20 p.m. -- Well, Jackson is finally done, unable to complete the sixth inning. Not that it was entirely his fault. The Mark DeRosa Right Field Clinic continues, and it's not pretty as the veteran misplays Sandoval's drive into an RBI double. At 7-4, Davey Johnson decided to pull his starter and brought in Tom Gorzelanny to get out of the sixth. All things considered, Jackson did a nice job to salvage a decent start out of what looked terrible after the first inning.
1:36 p.m. -- Hey, DeRosa caught a ball! Seventh-inning stretch, still 7-4.
1:44 p.m. -- We head to the eighth, and here is Sean Burnett trying to protect a 3-run lead. He's been very good at that this year.
2:00 p.m. -- Rick Ankiel gets into the act with a two-run shot in the eighth. That's the fourth home run hit by the Nationals to right field today. It's 9-4 now.
2:21 p.m. -- That'll do it. The Nats win 9-4 to improve to 47-32. At 15 games over .500, they've matched their highwater mark of the season.