Friday, August 05, 2005

MLB: Nationals 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 0 (August 4)

WP: John Patterson (5-3)
LP: Brad Penny (5-7)

WAS: 58-50 (2nd in NL East, 4.5 behind Atlanta, 1.5 ahead of Philadelphia)

John Patterson continued his stellar season by posting his first complete game and first shutout, and for once he got some run support in a Nationals win.

For most of the game it looked like another squeaker, as the Nationals only led 2-0 going into the eighth inning, but then Brad Wilkerson broke it wide open. After a Christian Guzman RBI single, Wilkerson came up with the bases loaded and crushed a pitch to deep right field for the Nationals' first ever grand slam. It also made the score 7-0 and virtually guaranteed the win.

Patterson struck out 13 Dodgers and only gave up four hits to shut down Los Angeles. It was Patterson's seventh consecutive Quality Start, but only his second win in that span.

The wins on Wednesday and Thursday were the first consecutive wins for the Nationals -- and scored them their first series win -- since they swept the Cubs in the first three days of July.

The Nats open up a three-game series against the reeling Padres tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at RFK Stadium. Livan Hernandez (13-4, 3.27 ERA, throws right) will face Pedro Astacio (2-10, 6.06 ERA, throws right).

This was huge. We can only hope that this was the big moment that the Nats have been looking for that will wake up their bats -- and keep them awake for a while.

Patterson pitched one of the best games I've seen from a pitcher all season, completely shutting down the Dodgers for the entire game (and also making me not look foolish for praising him so much in my last Nationals post). He's been golden for the Nationals this year, and honestly has been their best pitcher despite Livo's eight win edge over him.

Wilkerson's grand slam was a thing of beauty, not just because it locked up the game and scored the Nats some hard-to-come-by runs, but also because Wilky's year at the plate hasn't quite lived up to expectations. If he gets hot, with Nick Johnson back, the team might actually score some runs.

Now the Nats look to make this a legit winning streak when they face the Padres, who have been even worse than the Nationals of late, only managing two wins in their last 14 games and giving up their lead in the terrible NL West.

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