May 19, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT
Anytime the Yankees are in town, it’s a big deal. But it seems fair to ask tonight which team in this ballpark is the bigger deal, with bigger star power. It sure feels like the Nationals, doesn’t it?
Indeed, Bryce Harper and Co. return home tonight deserving of all the praise and attention being heaped upon them, winners in 15 of their last 19 games, with Harper leading the NL in almost every offensive category of significance. Harper is in his customary cleanup spot tonight against New York right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, a familiar face from his time with the Marlins. Actually, four members of the Nats’ lineup tonight own career batting averages over .300 against him: Harper, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman (all have at least eight career plate appearances vs. the righty).
Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, is on the mound for the Nats, trying to bounce back from a rocky start in Arizona last week.
Updates to come…
NEW YORK YANKEES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 89
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Brett Gardner
RF Chris Young
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
2B Jose Pirela
SS Stephen Drew
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
HP Jim Joyce (cc)
1B Marvin Hudson
2B Chris Segal
3B Chad Fairchild
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway on a warm, 89-degree Tuesday night on South Capitol Street. There’s a little extra buzz in the crowd with the red-hot Nats back home and the Yankees in town. Should be a fun series.
7:24 p.m. — Oh my god, it’s happening again. Bryce Harper steps to the plate for his first home at-bat in nine days and promptly homers to right-center. That’s his 15th of the season, leaving him now tied with Nelson Cruz for the MLB lead. And it came two batters after Ian Desmond poked an opposite-field shot to almost the exact same spot. Great first inning for the Nats, who also saw Gio Gonzalez retire the side on 12 pitches, getting three groundball outs. What a start to this one, with the Nats leading 2-0 after one.
7:34 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning for Gonzalez in the top of the second, all three outs again coming on groundballs. That’s a really encouraging sign for him tonight. The Nats went down in order in the bottom of the inning, so it remains 2-0 after two.
7:46 p.m. — Make it 9 up, 9 down for Gio, every single out on a groundball. Who does this guy think he is tonight, Doug Fister? Seriously, this is very impressive work from the lefty, who has needed only 30 pitches to complete three innings. Still 2-0 Nats.
8:19 p.m. — Well, things have taken a decided turn for the worse here. It began with a laborious top of the fourth for Gonzalez, who looked nothing like the guy who was so efficient in his first three innings. Gio issued two walks, gave up four hits and was all over the place, needing 40 pitches to face nine batters, four of whom scored. That put the Yankees up 4-2. The Nats threatened in the bottom of the inning, with Escobar singling and Harper drawing his 37th walk in 40 games. But Zimmerman struck out and Ramos grounded into a double play, erasing that potential rally in a hurry.
8:51 p.m. — A wild fifth inning, in both halves. The Yankees got a couple more runs off Gonzalez via a Teixeira homer to left. Gio wound up finished after only five innings, having allowed six runs. All of that came after his perfect three innings to begin the night. Crazy. The Nats, though, rallied in the bottom of the inning, getting three runs back via RBI hits from Clint Robinson (who hits pretty well for a pitcher), Ian Desmond and Yunel Escobar. That brought Harper to the plate and the crowd to its feet, but lefty Justin Wilson got Harper to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the rally. So it’s 6-5 Yankees after five, and here’s Blake Treinen from the Nats bullpen.
Chase taking over while Mark works on his game story
9:09 p.m. — The Nationals tied this one up in the sixth on a solo home run by Ramos. He took a 3-0 pitch from David Carpenter deep into the left field stands. It pushed the game to 6-6 and extended Ramos’ hitting streak to 19 games. Treinen pitched a scoreless sixth inning and will now go out there to pitch the seventh as well.
9:31 p.m. — This game is still tied at 6-6, though the Nationals had a good chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh. The frame began with Wilmer Difo notching a single as a pinch-hitter in his first career at-bat. He then moved to second on a groundout by Span. Desmond grounded out before Escobar walked to put to men on with two outs for Harper. The Yankees brought in lefty Chasen Shreve, who happens to be a very good friend and former college teammate of Harper. Shreve got Harper to go down swinging to end the inning. Matt Thornton will now come in to pitch.
9:50 p.m. — It’s still a 6-6 game as Drew Storen will pitch the ninth hoping to keep it tied. Alex Rodriguez has entered and will bat second in the upcoming frame.
10:07 p.m. — Off the extra innings we go. The Nats got a baserunner on in the ninth as Dan Uggla walked as a pinch-hitter. That was with one out and Span followed by grounding into a double play. It’s still 6-6 with the 10th inning up next.
10:32 p.m. — Zimmerman wins on a walk-off, two-run homer against Andrew Miller. Nats are in a first place tie.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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