With tonight's 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners, the Washington Nationals improve to a record of 37-37. I know, it's not impressive, but at least they are there. This is the first time since May 11 that the club is at .500.
The Nationals were out pitched tonight as Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard K'd 10 Nats hitters. The Nationals, however, took advantage of Seattles miscues.
In the bottom of the first Michael Morse hit what should have been a routine ground out to the third baseman. It wasn't and Morse reached first base with 2 outs and Ryan Zimmerman now on second. Enter Danny Espinosa. Espinosa then laced one into center field and brought Zimmerman around to score the first run of the game. Espinosa was not finished, however.
In the bottom of the fourth, Espinosa singled. He then advanced all the way to third base on a wild pitch from Bedard and throwing error by catcher Miguel Olivo. Jerry Hairston stepped up two batters later and singled to bring Espinosa in for the go-ahead run.
Nationals pitcher Jon Lannan didn't have a career day, but he did enough. He pitched through 5 2/3 innings giving up only one run, three hits, and striking out three. Drew Storen then came in a pitched a beautiful ninth inning to get his 18th save.
The Nationals now find themselves 5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the wild card spot. While their upcoming schedule doesn't have many marquee games, it is important that they get through then next month of games with the same success that they've had.
The Nationals are finding ways to win ball games as of late. Whether it's a dramatic ninth inning comeback or capitalizing on the other teams mistakes, the Nationals are simply getting done. Keep an eye on them, you just never know who will be in the hunt come October.