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Nats 3, Yankees 2: Harper ejected again, Nats rally again

May 20, 2015, 9:48 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals don’t seem to know how to play a boring ballgame right now, and Wednesday night’s wild affair with the Yankees was only the latest example of that, with the third-inning ejections of Bryce Harper and Matt Williams stealing the spotlight from what already was going to be a compelling contest.

Both Harper and Williams were ejected by plate umpire Marvin Hudson, who appeared to be upset Harper wasn’t in the batter’s box while Williams was arguing a low strike one call from the dugout. Harper, who had been in the box right after the strike was called, reacted toward Hudson and was rung up by the ump, who moments later sent Williams packing as well when the manager stood up for his star slugger.

It was the second time both Harper an Williams were ejected in the last week. And just as they did last Wednesday in Arizona, the Nationals rallied to bail out their tossed mates. Jordan Zimmermann overcame a shaky first inning to toss seven strong frames. Tyler Moore tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth. And then Denard Span drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single in the seventh, giving the Nats their first lead of the night.

Rookie Matt Grace impressed again with a scoreless eighth, setting up Drew Storen to strike out Alex Rodriguez in the ninth and secure the Nationals’ 17th win in their last 21 games. And with the Mets getting blown out by the Cardinals, the Nats were in position to take over sole possession of first place in the NL East for the first time in 2015 by night’s end.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: You know who has been really important to the Nationals’ sustained hot streak over the last 3-plus weeks? Span. This run has directly coincided with the leadoff man’s resurgence, and it continued Wednesday. Span’s RBI single through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the seventh gave the Nats the lead and it continued Span’s impressive run. He’s now hitting .384 since April 28, with seven multi-hit games the last eight times he’s played.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Two batters in, Zimmermann appeared to be in trouble. He gave up a game-opening single to Brett Gardner, then an RBI double to Carlos Beltran (who later scored on a sac fly). But the right-hander quickly composed himself and wound up pitching a gem. Zimmermann went seven innings, never giving up another run along the way and keeping his pitch count at a mere 88. This was an important start for him during what has been a slow-to-progress season. Zimmermann now has several strong outings to build off as he rounds into his form from the last few years.

KEY STAT: Wilson Ramos’ 19-game hitting streak (longest in the majors this season) ended after an 0-for-4 night. (He did reach on a fielding error.)

UP NEXT: The Nationals get a rare second day off in a week Thursday, then return Friday to host the Phillies in a weekend series. Max Scherzer (4-3, 1.75) and Sean O’Sullivan (1-2, 3.68) meet for the third time this season. (The Nats won each of the previous two encounters.)

  1. Drew - May 20, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Sit down, you preening fraud.

    Mini sweep!

    GYFNG!!!!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      Hey, I was just rooting for …

      Oh, wait. You meant A-Rod.

      Nevermind.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Good win. Let Carp know the Nats were tied for 1st place yesterday. Today the Nats finish the day in sole possession of 1st Place.

  3. stoatva - May 20, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    If someone’s gonna get cheated it might as well be the cheater.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      LOL, that was as much a strike as the K Zone was accurate.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Nats win another series!!!!

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 20, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    I didnt think that third pitch to AROD was a K…. thought it was a helluva frame by Ramos….

    I hope Huddy is fined for the disgrace that he was tonight.

    • nattygoats - May 20, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      Hope so too. But I don’t think anything will happen

    • scmargenau - May 20, 2015 at 10:50 PM

      Pitch track had it in top right zone, but it was the frame that got the call

  6. Nats Fan Zee - May 20, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    So THIS is what sole possession on 1st place feels like! 😀

  7. raleighnat - May 20, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    Can’t believe that guy tossed Harper. That was ridiculous.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 20, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    Randy Knorr 2-0 and in both those games TyMo has homered.

  9. veejh - May 20, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    Nice to beat the Yanks. I hate them.

  10. Danny - May 20, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    And Trea Turner just hit his 5th HR. 3-4 tonight for a 336 avg. all is good in Natstown.

    • scmargenau - May 20, 2015 at 10:51 PM

      Man with trea and Dilfo we may be set for a while in infield…

    • texnat1 - May 20, 2015 at 10:53 PM

      Wow. That’s in Double A right? Didn’t realize he had that kind of pop. Just a SSS thing?

  11. stoatva - May 20, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Thank goodness the thousands of folks who turned out to see Marvin Hudson this evening got to enjoy him in peace, once Harper and Williams were out of the way.

    /eye roll

  12. David Proctor - May 20, 2015 at 10:01 PM

    Marvin Hudson should be ashamed of himself. I didn’t see any fans wearing Marvin Hudson jerseys tonight. That might be one of the most egregious ejections I’ve ever seen and there have been some egregious ones (to Bryce alone).

    How about the bench though? T-mo homers and walks. Uggla comes off the bench and draws a big walk. That’s two good starts for ZNN in a row, too. And despite Grace making things anxious with the walks, he and Storen shut the door. Good win.

    • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      And how about that Ian guy. Good thing we didn’t trade him for some bullpen help eh? (Because, after all, what has Ian done lately? And what as our bullpen done lately? 😉 )

    • scmargenau - May 20, 2015 at 10:57 PM

      Ray had some interesting insight on the toss. He said you cant point, argue or especially tap a foot. Bryce did all of that. I’m not saying it’s right, but if bryce simply shut up and got in the box there isno issue.

      Wonk – I’ve been a huge Ian fan…but his strike out late at another high FB out of the zone combined with has sub par fielding and feast or famine hitting makes him a liabily in play offs. I’m in favor of moving him if and when Rendon get healthy.with two young guns in the wings in dilfo and turner id rather see them at this point, plus Ian approaches age decline in 2 years or so and will want a 5 year deal at least. Cut bait

      • David Proctor - May 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

        Harper wasn’t arguing balls and strikes. He was tapping his foot to say he was in the box ready to hit until Hudson started chirping with Williams.

      • scmargenau - May 20, 2015 at 11:04 PM

        I know. But arguing at all and pointing is a no no according to knight. Still, it was a bad decision to toss him. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the media.

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:14 PM

        I’m quite sure he’s not coming back next year. (Reason? Two words: Trea and Difo — and also because he turned down a significant offer already)

        But I think the dumping on him was premature. Clearly his .217 BA in April wasn’t going to last, and, in fact, he’s batting .279 in May. All the screaming about his fielding and he would never field — I kept pointing out that every April is like that. But no, this year was different! No it isn’t. Last year, he had 8 errors in April and 5 errors in May. This year: 9 errors in April, and just 2 so far in May.

        As for strikeouts — yep — that’s part of him. Frustrating as heck. (I kept thinking: why isn’t the pitcher throwing him a high hard one? And then I found out the answer: he was waiting until two strikes!)

        But, otoh, he hit HRs in each of the last two games, and those runs were not trivial (particularly today’s). And he made some pretty slick fielding plays today, too. I don’t think he’s going anywhere (meaning, I can’t imagine trading him) this year (due to a number of factors, including: what can you get for him as a 1/2-year rental?). But I also don’t think he’s getting re-signed, either. That ship (along with JZ’s ship, I imagine — sadly) has sailed.

      • chrisrw109nats - May 21, 2015 at 11:04 AM

        I’m a fan of Ian… though I do wish he was a hair more disciplined at the plate. I think it’s clear though, with lots of talent in the infield coming up through the minors and with Desi wanting a rock star deal… he’s probably done with us after this year.

        We’ll just have to hope that when he visits in 2016 we’ll be able to present him with his ring.

        Don’t get it twisted, Desi is a really talented player with some head-shaking tendencies (Ks, and his very cold starts), but he has been a great player for us and if this is his last year with us I hope he lights it up and goes out and gets a blockbuster deal because of it.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 20, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    I really didn’t know that managers could speak to the media after being ejected…

    I’m surprised that Knife isn’t talking….

  14. conatsguy - May 20, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    MLB channel all over Hudson. On the Bryce Harper strike call and the ARod strike 3

    • chrisrw109nats - May 21, 2015 at 11:06 AM

      Yeah last week people appeared to have the feeling that Harper deserved the objection, though the ump should probably have asked for help. Pointing out that right or wrong Harper needed to keep his cool.

      This week they are ALL OVER Hudson and pretty much universally behind Bryce. The worst I’ve heard is a ‘maybe the toe-tapping was a bad idea, bu you can’t run him for that’. And many many many repeats of ‘Those fans didn’t come there to see Hudson umpire’.

  15. adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    Answering a question from game thread:

    Mrsb loves the Nats – May 20, 2015 at 9:24 PM

    I’m glad it worked but I don’t understand why Grace faced Headly….

    veejh – May 20, 2015 at 9:25 PM

    Me too. I thought for sure MW would have pulled him there for a righty. Got lucky. Maybe a little confidence boost to boot.

    Reason: Headly is a switch hitter batting .258 as a lefty and .196 as a righty this season. So he wanted to keep Grace the lefty to keep Headly batting righty.

    • stoatva - May 20, 2015 at 10:17 PM

      I was surprised also. Of course it was Knorr, not Williams. Guess he thought it was gut check time for Matthew.

  16. adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    I didnt think that third pitch to AROD was a K…. thought it was a helluva frame by Ramos….

    I didn’t think so either, but “pitch track” on TV showed it on the line (for a strike)

    I’d like to see Brooks on that one!

    • Steady Eddie - May 20, 2015 at 11:00 PM

      Pitch F/X showed it maybe a couple of inches above the top of the zone but not inside.

      Warren got SEVEN pitches that were clearly out of the zone called strikes, including 3 below (at least one of them of them so far down that virtually no umps call it) and 4 outside, including two that were further outside than Storen’s was high.

      And that’s just for Warren.

      BUT the one pitch to Harper in the 3rd has disappeared down the memory hole. Pitch F/X only shows three first pitches to three batters of record. No documentation on that site, anyway, of how bad the call was.

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 11:10 PM

        That’s interesting. It might be because of the way the at bat went. MAT came in and struck out — and it’s officially MAT’s at bat. He gets “credit” for the strike out, and, as you mention, was the “batter of record”. (I’m sure it’s not showing up because of how the algorithm deals with it). Oh well.

  17. adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:16 PM

    FWIW, I *think* I just heard Charlie and Dave that the guys on the Yankee network were ripping the ump for Harper’s ejection.

  18. adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    Who had the Astros leading MLB in wins and HRs at this point in the season?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM

      I know Bo’s not there anymore, but for some reason I still feel a soft spot for them. And I don’t much care about anybody else in that division anyway. So you go, Stros.

      • adcwonk - May 20, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Same here — I sort of feel like a small connection, just because Bo _used_ to be there when they were so bad. And it’s always a nice feel good story when a truly bad team invests in youth, builds slowly and correctly, etc.

  19. Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    Wow…Bryce not holding anything back…lmao/yikes!

  20. slidell2 - May 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    Umpires do get graded. Very many more displays like that and Marv will be back in AAA.
    Though maybe not as soon as we would like.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 10:41 PM

      Marvin isn’t going anywhere. Been bad for years.

      Torrent has no control of his umpires.

      My biggest beef about baseball.

  21. Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    What is with these stupid Gatorade stools on MLB networm? Lmao!

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2015 at 10:44 PM

      It’s the electrolytes in the Gatorade. Drink too much it messes up your digestive system…Oh wait, you mean stools that you sit on? Never mind.

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

        Aaaaand, now I’m picturing jars of subpar stool samples on the anchor’s desk…lovely

      • Eric - May 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

        😉

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    So the Nats celebrate Separation Day, and get over the hump, on Wednesday.

    Guess what day it is!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlFg-a1AJCU

  23. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    If someone already mentioned this forgive me. But in the replay I saw of the Matt Williams vs. umpire argument, there was a +/- 8-year-old boy standing right behind home plate watching…and taking in every word. I can only imagine that he learned a few choice English expressions this evening that he’ll be sharing with his classmates tomorrow morning.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 10:42 PM

      Interesting.

    • natsfan1a - May 21, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      My husband and I noticed that, too, and also commented that he likely picked up a few vocabulary words.

  24. manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    I am now waiting for the reporters to report what Hudson had to say.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 11:06 PM

      I read they said it had nothing to do with the box. That seems untrue from the replay I have seen. Hudson escalated the whole taking off his mask.

      • natsfan1a - May 21, 2015 at 7:59 AM

        You could read their lips: “box” this and “box” that, oh, and some miscellaneous gerunds.

      • natsfan1a - May 21, 2015 at 8:00 AM

        Personally, I believe that Marvin was being a Richard from the get-go. But that’s just me.

  25. ehay2k - May 20, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    What a miniseries! Loved the way the Nats picked it up after MW and Harper were ejected. And that ejection was on Hudson: Harper only left the box because Hudson flipped up his mask and walked toward the dugout. He can’t then yell at Bryce for not being ready. Doesn’t that count as time out called by the ump?

    And I loved the dirt kicking by MW!!! That was so old school!

    And after all the dreams, the Nats win, Druuuu gets another save, getting A-Roid on a high inside FB that really looked like it moved late, which is why PitchTrack has it a strike over the plate, bit it looked father in when Ramos caught it.

    Speaking of Ramos, sorry the streak is over, but I really think those things put undue pressure on a player so I’m not overly sorry about it. Just start a new one.

    Hey Mets – Veni, Vidi, Cya. Unlike you guys, we are not looking in our rearview mirror. We are looking squarely at the road ahead.

    • Steady Eddie - May 20, 2015 at 11:02 PM

      Actually Brooks shows strike 3 to ARoid (love it) it a couple of inches high but not inside.

    • natsfan1a - May 21, 2015 at 8:01 AM

      I also enjoyed the dirt-kicking so much that I played it back for my husband, who had been out of the room.

  26. Section 222 - May 20, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Was at the game. Hard to see what happened of course, and the twitter commentary wasn’t much better. Now there are some explanations coming. It will be interesting to see if there’s any comment from MLB.

    One thing I noticed as events were unfolding that hasn’t been discussed yet. I’ve now confirmed it by looking at the replay: After the initial strike call, Bryce looked down at where the ball was and said a few words to Hudson. Then he stepped out of the box to gather himself. I’m pretty sure after a called strike he’s supposed to stay in the box unless time is called. Then he takes his time getting back in the box. At that point, Hudson starts barking at our dugout. I doubt MW is complaining about the strike call. It was borderline, but not worth a big argument. It looks to me like the dispute was about whether Bryce should have stayed in the box after the initial strike call, or got back in the box quicker afterward. When Bryce was pointing at the ground and saying “I WAS in the box”, he again was talking about when he got back in the box after he initially stepped out, not about whether he should have been in the box after the argument started. And Hudson didn’t like the fact that he kept arguing with him about that, including showing where he was standing with his bat.

    So I don’t think he was tossed for not staying in the box once the chirping started with the dugout. I think it was because he kept arguing about whether he was in the box after the initial strike call.

    It was ridiculous to toss him, but Bryce really need to be careful around these thin-skinned umps. Twice is a week is very bad. He needs to suck it up and stay in the games so he can keep hitting homers and winning player of the week.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 11:37 PM

      Mlb had a great set up as the pitches to Escobar were poorly called too.

      I looked at MLB.com and couldn’t find a Marvin Husdon jacket to wear.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 11:40 PM

      ESPN people just as mystified as mlb network, on Marvin Hudson’s silliness.

  27. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 20, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Speculation: What do you all think? If umpires were made available to the press postgame, just as the managers are required to be, and the players are all-but-required to be (“You know why I’m here.”), would that help, hurt, or make no difference, in the actual quality of the umpiring we see? Be sure to show your work.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 20, 2015 at 11:38 PM

      I believe it would help as they are nit responsible at all as is.

      • natsfan1a - May 21, 2015 at 8:02 AM

        I don’t know about the potential effects but I’d pay to see that.

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