4th and 2nd — Nationals 5, Blue Jays 3

Wow…apparently those interleague wins over the Yankees really were a confidence booster for the Nationals. Tonight the Nats got their 4th consecutive win and 2nd straight extra innings win, beating the Blue Jays 5-3 in 12 innings thanks to a walkoff home run by Willie Harris.

Rookie pitcher Ross Detwiler had one of the best games of his short career, giving up just 2 runs (including a solo home run to Vernon Wells), on 6 hits with 3 strikeouts in just over 7 innings of work. He left the game in the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead and a runner (Jose Bautista) on 1st; Kip Wells was unable to keep the inherited runner from scoring. Joel Hanrahan replaced Wells 3 batters later with a runner (Aaron Hill) on 3rd and gave up a single to Scott Rolen, allowing Hill to cross the plate and tie the score and denying Detwiler a chance to get his first major league win. It was Hanrahan’s 5 blown save of the season. The only reason why I am not referring to him as Joel Suckrahan (or Blownsaverahan, for that matter) is because the Nationals ultimately won the game.

Willie Harris was The Man tonight, with another outstanding diving catch, a stolen base, and the game winning home run. Harris was 2-4, as were Cristian Guzman and Nick Johnson. In addition, Johnson extended his streak of safely reaching base to 10 straight plate appearances with a walk and 2 hits in his first 3 at bats. That set a Nationals record and tied the franchise record set by Rusty Staub (Expos) 40 years ago. The streak ended when Johnson grounded out in the 8th inning.

The Nationals got lucky in this game, facing rookie pitcher (and Maryland native) Brett Cecil instead of Roy Halladay, who is on the 15-day DL. Cecil pitched 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts.

This win finally gives the Nationals 20 wins on the season. The Nats 4 straight wins coupled with the Phillies 5 straight losses puts the Nats only 16 games out of 1st place in the NL East. Start printing the playoff tickets…here come the Nationals! LOL OK, OK…4 straight wins don’t put us into pennant contention. But they do make this long-suffering Nationals fan extremely happy!

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