Veteran first basement Albert Pujols belted his 400th career home run as the Washington Nationals rallied past his St Louis Cardinals 11-10 in extra innings yesterday in Washington DC. The 9x All-Star is one five players in MLB history to have 400 homers, 1,200 RBIs and a .330 average, sharing the mark with Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Despite his most recent career accomplishment, Pujols seemed more concerned with the loss, saying “It’s a special milestone, but I don’t play for numbers.” The Cardinals are now four games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central with a 68-57 record. The Wild Card race is also tight between the Cards, Phillies and Giants.
The Nationals are now battling for pride in light of their 54-74 record with 34 games left to play this regular season. Even with rookie ace Stephen Strasburg out with a torn ligament in his right elbow, the young lineup will look to prove themselves as contenders in the years to come. “I don’t really know what big league playoff baseball feels like — I’m sure the atmosphere is a little bit more hectic,” shortstop Ian Desmond said after he produced the game winning single in the 13th. “That was a great-played game by both sides.” The offensive contest featured 30 hits, 15 pitchers and six lead changes. Washington and St Louis are set to matchup for three more games at Nationals Park starting tonight at 7:05 PM.
No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals have just agreed to a $15.1 million four-year deal. The San Diego State right-hander set the mark for the most money guaranteed to a drafted player. The record was previously held by Mark Prior, who signed a five-year $10.5 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in 2001.
Strasburg is very excited to suit up in a Nationals uniform. “It feels awesome. I got a little nervous there for a while that it might not happen, but I feel very blessed,” he said. “I’m not sure of the plan right now. They said they’d bring me up for the media. They said to take my time to get ready. It’s an amazing feeling. I really wasn’t sure if it was going to happen, but I’m glad it did.”
Strasburg will receive a $7.5 million signing bonus with $2.5 million paid 15 days after approval of the contract, $2.5 million paid in January 2010 and another $2.5 million paid in January 2011. With Strasburg officially on board along with other young prospects, the Nationals have a lot to look forward to in the future. The 2009 Nationals are scheduled to play the Colorado Rockies tonight at 7:05 pm.
Washington Nationals tickets are now available!
Nationals interim closer Jon Rauch was traded from the Washington Nationals to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio yesterday. The move gives manager Bob Melvin a plethora of bullpen options. Melvin now has the luxury of using Juan Cruz, Tony Pena, Chad Qualls, or Jon Rauch to set up for Lyon in the 9th (or spot close if need be).
22-year-old Bonifacio was considered the best pure lead-off hitter the the organization, and was eyed as a long-term replacement for Orlando Hudson. Instead, he will be joining one of the youngest teams in the majors, and will have a chance to make an impact much earlier.
After making it through the top of the 3rd inning, the rains came and washed out the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals in their season opener. The defending NL Champions were trailing 5-1 at the time the game was called but it will all be erased and replayed at a later date.
The Arizona Diamondbacks still have a bitter taste in their mouth after being swept last October in the NLCS by the Colorado Rockies. Taking the field for the first time since that playoff series, the defending NL West Champions looked very solid in a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Webb picked up right where the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner left off pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in route to his first victory of the year. The offensive attack was led by three solo bombs hit by Chris Young and Eric Byrnes in the 3rd inning and the other hit by Jeff Salazar in a PH at bat in the 7th that gave the D-Backs some breathing room with a 2 run cushion. Brandon Lyon recorded the save pitching a perfect 9th inning.
It was a pitchers duel for 8 innings in Chicago at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers before both teams came to life for 3 run 9th inning performances, but it was the Brewers who would prevail with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings. Corey Hart lifted the Brewers with a 2 RBI double in the ninth that put them ahead 3-0. Closer Eric Gagne came in and suffered his first blown save of the season (surprise, surprise) by allowing a three-run home run to Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome, the first of his major league career, which knotted the game at 3-3. In the 10th inning, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a sac-fly that plated Craig Counsell for the game winning run for the Brewers. David Riske pitched a perfect 10th frame and recorded the save.
With 5 runs on 5 hits in the top of the 9th inning, the Washington Nationals turned a close game into a statement win in their 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Johnson’s RBI double opened the flood gates for National bats, and the hits just kept on coming as the team chased out Phillies closer Tom Gordon after allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits and only recording 1 out. Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge each produced 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Nationals in the win. The Phillies were led by SS Jimmy Rollins who went 2-4 on the game with a pair of RBI’s and a HR.
Behind the arm of Johan Santana, the New York Mets captured their first victory of the 2008 season over the Florida Marlins with a 7-2 win. Santana struck out 8 and allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings. The one mistake he made came in the 4th inning when he allowed a two-run homer to Josh Willingham. After the HR, Santana would only allow two runners to reach base. The Mets scored 6 of their 7 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, led by a bases clearing double by 3B David Wright. Wright went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the game. New York’s bullpen worked a scoreless 8th and 9th to preserve the win for Santana, Mark Hendrickson suffered the loss for Florida.
Brad Penny pitched 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers back it up with some early runs that would be hold up for a 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Barry Zito struggled for the Giants allowing 3 runs in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd. He last only 5 innings and was pulled after 87 pitches and allowing 8 hits. The Dodgers runs in the 1st came on a Matt Kemp RBI single, followed by a Jeff Kent two-run blast to deep left-center field. SS Rafael Furcal also added three hits in the winning effort.
The Atlanta Braves came up just short, twice, in a thrilling 12-11 twelve innings game that ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates on top. The Braves mustered up a 5 run 9th inning to tie the game at 9-9 and left the winning run on base. After a few scoreless innings, the Pirates were able to score three runs in the 12th on Xavier Nady three-run homer to dead center field. The Braves made things interesting scoring 2 in the bottom of the 12th on a Jeff Francoeur solo shot and an RBI single by Matt Diaz but stranded the tying run on base to suffer their second loss of the season. Tom Glavine pitched well for the Braves but took a no decision with 5 innings pitched, 7 hits and 1 earned run allowed. Pirates relief pitcher, Franquelis Osoria, pitched from the 10th inning on, and finished the game for the win.
Jake Peavy helped his own cause by going 1-1 at the plate with 2 RBI’s and then made those runs stand up by pitching 7 scoreless innings in San Diego’s 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros. 2B Tadahito Iguchi paced a balanced offensive attack for the Padres with 3 hits on the night. The Astros looked rusty at the plate only collecting 4 hits in the contest, 2 of them coming from newly acquired SS Miguel Tejada. Row Oswalt took the loss for Houston, scattering 11 hits and 3 strike outs over 5 and 1/3 innings worked.
While everyone’s eyes, ears, and …. imaginations have been focused on where Johan Santana would end up, the American League hot stove has been quietly churning. Here is a quick recap of some moves to date. (more)
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