Andrew Cashner made his first start in nearly a month tonight, and he hasn't missed a step. He stupified the Nationals' offense in his 6 shutout innings, yielding only 2 hits and a walk while striking out 5. All three baserunners came in the first inning; Cash retired an impressive 16 in a row after that. If you ask him, he probably had more left in the tank, but Bud Black yanked him after 70 pitches. It's understandable; easing your ace back off the disabled list seems like a good idea.
Cashner left the game in line for the W, thanks to a solid fourth inning rally. Seth Smith singled to Jayson "I let my dad defend me" Werth. Chase Headley followed right away with an RBI double, and then scored himself on Cameron Maybin's double to left. Instant two run lead.
Nick Vincent came in to spell Cashner in the seventh, and it did not go well. After retiring Werth and his awful beard, 50 'cent gave up back to back doubles to Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman. No big deal though, just get the next two guys out, right? A line out took care of Wilson Ramos, but Vincent got hit bad by Ian Desmond. The shortstop took him deep to center field, and the lead was gone.
Rene Rivera was ready to take that lead back in the eighth, knocking a leadoff double into the left field corner. A sacrifice bunt by Chris Denorfia moved him to third, but Everth Cabrera couldn't hit one deep enough to bring him home. A short fly ball brought up Carlos Quentin with two gone. The slugger struck out, leaving Rivera stranded.
Down to the last out in the bottom of the ninth, Yonder Alonso strolled up to the plate. He only needed two pitches to take Nats closer Rafael Soriano deep to right. It was time for some bonus baseball. Fun fact: The Nationals were 1-5 in extra innings games going into tonight's game. The Padres were 3-3.
Huston Street pitched a scoreless tenth to keep hope alive. Rene Rivera's night wasn't done, as he hit another hard one to left field. The catcher pulled a Maxwell Smart and missed a home run by that much. The resulting double was nice, but he was stranded once again. Onto the eleventh! Joaquin Benoit took the mound for the good guys and retired the side in order to bring up the heart of the Padres order.
The Nats quickly retired the first two batters, and it looked like we were going to head to the twelfth. But Headley kept the inning alive with a single to left. Alonso drew a key walk to move him into scoring position, bringing up Maybin. Cam picked up his second RBI of the night, with a bloop single to shallow right field. There was no catching Headley, who hustled into home for a walkoff win.
Eric Stults will go for the series win tomorrow at 1:10 PM.
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