The Washington Nationals finished their interleague series against the Chicago White Sox at Nationals Park with a win, sweeping the series from the Sox.
Dan Haren pitched his second game as a Nat, and his outing was much better than his first one against the Reds. Haren got through five innings, giving up three runs and recorded his first win as a National. Dylan Axelrod started for the White Sox, and didn’t get out of the fourth inning. Both pitchers gave up numerous hits and had base runners on in almost every inning, and both pitchers ran up high pitch counts early. Axelrod threw 103 pitches in four and 2/3 innings, and Haren was over one hundred pitches by the time he finished pitching the fifth inning. The game featured 10 hits by the Nats and 13 hits by the White Sox.
The Nationals got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning when Jayson Werth got a single, Ryan Zimmerman walked and Adam LaRoche hit an RBI single. The White Sox answered right back in the top of the second on an RBI groundout by Tyler Flowers after Paul Konerko had singled and Conor Gillaspie doubled.
The Nats broke the tie in the bottom of the third scoring two runs on an RBI single by Bryce Harper, walks drawn by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, and a sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond. Once again Chicago answered right back with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth on a single by Gillaspie, a bunt single by the pitcher Axelrod, and RBI single by Alejandro De Aza and an RBI single by Jeff Keppinger. That tied the score 3-3.
The score changed again in the bottom of the fourth when the Nats went ahead for good. Dan Haren helped his own cause by cracking a double, going to third on a single by Werth and scoring on a wild pitch thrown by Axelrod when he was facing Harper. Axelrod then intentionally walked Harper to pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. White Sox manager Robin Ventura wanted the right on right matchup against Zimmerman. Ryan made Ventura pay for that decision. The wind was blowing in all night, and fly balls were getting knocked down in the outfield. No one hit a home run. Zimmerman laced a line drive down the right field line, keeping the ball down below the jet stream for a double and two RBI’s. That ended Axelrod’s night.
With the Nats ahead by three runs, Haren came out to pitch the fifth inning to try to get the win.
He got through the inning without allowing a run and was in line for the win. Ryan Mattheus came in to pitch the sixth for the Nats. He allowed a single to De Aza and walked Alex Rios, then gave up an RBI double to Adam Dunn. Mattheus had not pitched for awhile, and he is a pitcher that has better control with regular work. Consequently, when Mattheus came out to pitch the seventh, he had better control of his pitches and had a three up, three down inning.
Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth inning, throwing eleven pitches to get three outs. Rafael Soriano notched his fifth save of the season, getting through the heart of the White Sox order in the ninth without damage. Ryan Mattheus received a shaving cream pie in the face during his post-game interview courtesy of Drew Storen.
Next Game: Friday April 12th at 7:05 p.m. The Nationals home stand continues when the Atlanta Braves come to town for a three game series. The Nats send Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound, while Atlanta’s starter will be Julio Teheran (0-0, 9.00 ERA)