Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Nationals win 9-5 in 14 innings, their fourth in a row and 12th of their last 13th, but it wasn’t easy on the road against the Chicago White Sox. The Nats blew three separate leads in the 9th, 10th, and 12th innings and almost wasted another great Jordan Zimmermann pitching performance.
It was a scoreless game until Michael Morse hit a two run bomb in the top of the eighth inning to give the Nats a 2-0 lead. For Morse that is his 14th home run of the season to lead the Nationals. The Nationals added another in the top of the ninth when Ian Desmond knocked in Wilson Ramos with an RBI single to left field to give the Nats a 3-0 lead going to the bottom of the ninth. The usually reliable Drew Storen who only came in blowing two saves all season blew his third when he gave up a three run shot to Mark Teahen for only his second home run of the season and extra innings were on the way.
In the top of the 10th the Nats took the lead once again off of a Laynce Nix solo shot his 11th of the season but in the bottom of the 10th the White Sox loaded the bases with one out and Todd Coffey threw a wild pitch that scored Omar Vizquel to tie it up. But Coffey regrouped and struck out the next batter then got a pop out to Ryan Zimmerman to get out of the inning and on to the 11th.
In the 12th Brian Bixler, who replaced an ejected Jerry Hairston earlier in the game, doubled to right field scoring Laynce Nix and giving the Nationals their third separate lead of the game and making it 5-4 Nationals. But in the bottom of the 12th AJ Pierzynski popped a solo shot, his 3rd of the year, off of Tyler Clippard and once again all tied up.
In the 14th the Nationals finally put it away for good. Ian Desmond hit it to Alexei Ramirez at third but a throwing error to first scored Brian Bixler and Desmond went to second. Then Roger Bernadina singled to center scoring Desmond and making it 7-5. Ryan Zimmerman then doubles scoring Jayson Werth and Bernadina and making 9-5 and putting it out of reach for the White Sox. The Nationals are now 16-6 in June, 39-37 overall, and 3.5 behind in the wild card. Colin Balester got his first win of the season.
Drew Storen (3), Todd Coffey (2), Tyler Clippard (4) all charged with blown saves. Jordan Zimmermann had another great outing going seven innings, giving up six hits, no runs and striking out four in the no decision. Roger Bernadina when 4 for 8 with an RBI and 2 runs scored raising his average to .287. Michal Morse when 2 for 5 with a home run, a double, two RBI and a run scored and he’s hitting .308 on the year. Laynce Nix went 3 for 8, 1 RBI and 2 runs and is now hitting .284.
John McLaren was ejected in the eighth inning arguing a play at first base. McLaren was named the interim manager for the series against the White Sox after Jim Riggleman suddenly resigned Thursday and is expected to be replaced by former Orioles manager and current Nationals senior advisor Davey Johnson. The Nationals play game two of a three game series against the White Sox in Chicago Saturday for a first pitch set at 4:10 pm eastern on 106.7 The FAN.