Jun 10, 2015, 10:19 AM EDT
NEW YORK — Hello again from Yankee Stadium, where today this very brief, 2-game series wraps up with a matinee, getaway-day game. The Nationals, losers in nine of their last 11 games, really need this one. The Yankees, on the other hand, are riding a 7-game winning streak and have opened up a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East.
Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nats, trying to turn in a better performance than the last time he faced the Yankees (six runs allowed in five innings on May 19, in a game the Nats wound up winning, 8-6). Hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who opposed Gonzalez that night in D.C. and gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings, starts for New York in the rematch.
We’re still waiting for lineups, but I would doubt Denard Span plays today after missing last night’s game with a stiff back. Span tried to give it a go last night but the back tightened up on him after he took BP in the cage, and he sounded a bit concerned after the game about his status moving forward.
[UPDATE AT 12:00 P.M. — Turns out Span is in the lineup after testing out his back this morning, but Ryan Zimmeran is out, his left foot still bothering him.]
Stay tuned. Updates to come…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK YANKEES
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 176/869
Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
DH Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
LF Clint Robinson
1B Tyler Moore
C Jose Lobaton
2B Danny Espinosa
(LHP Gio Gonzalez)
CF Brett Gardner
3B Chase Headley
DH Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Chris Young
2B Jose Pirela
SS Brendan Ryan
(RHP Nathan Eovaldi)
HP Eric Cooper
1B Lance Barksdale
2B Quinn Wolcott
3B Gary Cederstrom (cc)
1:08 p.m. — We are underway on an 81-degree afternoon in the Bronx.
1:20 p.m. — A scoreless, baserunner-less first inning for both sides. Nathan Eovaldi retired the side without letting the ball out of the infield. Gio Gonzalez then set down the Yankees in order on 12 pitches, capped by a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez on a 2-2 curveball. Good start to the afternoon by both starting pitchers.
1:34 p.m. — Two scoreless innings in the books. The Nats don’t yet have a baserunner against Eovaldi, though Bryce Harper did just get under a first-pitch curveball and drove it to the warning track in center. Gonzalez, meanwhile, issued a 2-out walk to Carlos Beltran but that’s it so far. He has a couple of strikeouts and 30 total pitches through two innings.
1:50 p.m. — The Nats are on the board, thanks to back-to-back, 2-out doubles from Danny Espinosa and Denard Span in the top of the third. Each two-bagger was hit the other way, down the left-field line, a good sign in each case. And the fact Span was able to leg out the double is also a good sign that his back is doing better today. The Yankees got their first hit off Gonzalez in the bottom of the third (a 1-out single by Brendan Ryan) but that was it. Gio is through three scoreless on 45 pitches. Nats up 1-0 heading to the fourth.
2:08 p.m. — Make it four scoreless innings for Gonzalez on 62 pitches. He has four strikeouts, including a pair of A-Rod, each time on a curveball. He has walked two while giving up just the one hit (Ryan’s single in the third). The lefty is looking good so far today. Still 1-0 Nats after four.
2:35 p.m. — Danny Espinosa, folks. He’s done it again, launching a left-handed home run in the top of the fifth. That’s his eighth homer of the season, his sixth while batting left-handed. Gonzalez, meanwhile, got into his first jam of the afternoon in the bottom of the inning, with a 1-out walk followed by an 0-2 curveball off Ryan’s foot. But Gio got out of it thanks to a pair of groundballs and one rocket throw across the diamond by Rendon. It’s 2-0 Nats after five.
2:51 p.m. — Make it six scoreless innings for Gonzalez, who pitched around a 1-out single by Teixeira in the bottom of the sixth. He notched his fifth strikeout, getting McCann to chase a high fastball. He’s at 93 total pitches, so he’s definitely good to start the seventh. We’ll see if the Nats bullpen starts stirring at all. Still 2-0.
3:24 p.m. — Well, we’ve seen this before: The bottom of the seventh was a nightmare for the Nats, with the Yankees taking the lead in the process. They just scored four runs thanks to a pair of drives to deep center field (with Span unable to track either one down, possibly a result of his bad back), a hard smash past a diving Moore at first base and a base hit that bounced off second base (instead of rolling right into Desmond’s glove). It’s 4-2 Yankees now, and the Nats are down to their last six outs.
3:42 p.m. — Brand-new ballgame, and for that the Nats can once again thank Michael Taylor. Inserted for defense in left field, he made his biggest contribution at the plate, hammering a 2-run homer to right off lefty Jacob Lindgren in the top of the eighth, making this a 4-4 game. It’s Taylor’s fifth homer, and his last four have all either tied the game or given the Nats the lead after the fifth inning. Casey Janssen, meanwhile, retired the side on three flyballs in the bottom of the eighth. So we go to the ninth in a tie game.
4:04 p.m. — Extra innings! The Nats couldn’t push across the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, and then Blake Treinen retired the side in the bottom of the inning, capped with a strikeout of A-Rod on a 98-mph sinker. So we continue…
4:25 p.m. — Treinen has struggled vs. left-handed hitters this season, but he has improved a lot lately, thanks in part to adding a 4-seam fastball in on the hands. And he just came up big in the bottom of the 10th, striking out both McCann and Beltran, with Lobaton then throwing out Didi Gregorius trying to steal second to end the inning (after a lengthy review to confirm the call). To the 11th we go…
4:37 p.m. — Denard Span to the rescue! So much for that bad back. He just legged out a chopper to second, allowing Moore to score from third in the process and give the Nats a 5-4 lead in the 11th. Drew Storen enters to try to finish this one off.
4:44 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 5-4 in 11 innings, a much-needed win. Michael Taylor had the big homer to tie it in the eighth. Denard Span had the big RBI infield single to win it in the 11th. They split the series and head to Milwaukee at 31-29 overall.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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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