Baseball Trip '10

Day 2 - Washington

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Trish and John check out the view of brick wall out our hotel window.
We woke up in Philadelphia early and checked out since we had to drive 3 1/2 hours to Washington DC and check into our hotel room and get to the stadium for a 1 o'clock game, according to the Itinerary.  John got up early and went to the free breakfast buffet and filled up on biscuits and gravy and cheese omelets.  Then he woke up the kids, who were shot after staying up until after 3 am.  They got ready fast and we made it to Washington with plenty of time to spare.
We stayed at the Capitol Suites, which were okay, three blocks from the White House and one mile from the stadium.  After we settled into our hotel room, we got ready to walk the mile to the stadium for the big game.
As we approached the stadium we were surprised to see the poor turnout.  The streets were quiet and we could see inside the upper corner of the stadium and the seats were empty.  Poor attendance, John concluded.   Poor planning, Brian concluded.  Brian checked his Blackberry for the Nationals schedule and saw that it was a night game.  It sure was hot and humid at 1 in the afternoon.  Especially for a one mile walk, and then another one mile walk back to the hotel.  The Itinerary was missing the time of the game.  On the way back the crew picked a bar/restaurant for a nice cool lunch while they watched girls softball on the many TV's.

After lunch John's suggestion that we keep walking to sight-see in the nations capitol was voted down by the tired Brian and Trish who welcomed the opportunity to put on the a.c. and nap.
John went up with them and watched the Yankee game waiting for it to end so he could sight-see alone.  Unfortunately the game dragged on into extra innings and the Yankees couldn't score, losing to the Blue Jays in 14 innings, ending any chance of sight seeing.

John checks the itinerary trying to find where he went wrong.
Some of the great sights in our nations capitol
I stood outside hoping to see Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.
We took off for the second time to the stadium at 6 pm and as we got close John saw a guy scalping tickets.  At first the guy showed him $8 seats and wanted $10 for each.  When John pointed out that he could buy them at the gate for $8 the guy asked if he wanted "good" seats.
"yeah, that's what I want."  John answered.  the guy showed him 3 $49 tickets that he said were in the 12th row, third base side.  John offered him $100 for the three of them and the guy took it.  The kids were a little skeptical about their authenticity, as was John.  But the guy was right, they got the crew in, and they were great seats.

Great seats as promised

Statue of Frank Howard
Nationals Park was beautiful and our seats were as promised as you can see from the pictures.  When we got to our seats though there was some people sitting in them.  They jumped up and apologized and explained that they had better seats, they were just spreading out because of the heat and humidity.  John yelled at them, "I know your type, trying to sneak up."  We all laughed and settled in out seats and the guy who was in our seats settled in the row in front of us.  He asked how much we paid for the seats and I told him about the $100 for three.  The guy explained how they sold them outside for $60.  we laughed about that too.  they were in a group of 27 people, but they had 30 tickets so now we were part of the group.  He asked me if it was always this humid in Washington, John replied, "how do I know, I'm not from here."  He said he was from New York, and I told him so was I.  He told me he was a retired city cop and I told him so was I.  We laughed and told cop stories and talked about cops we knew in common.  His name was Jerry and we became friends for a night.
New friend Jerry with John
in keeping with the Nations Capitol theme, four president puppets walk around the stadium.  John thought it was in bad taste when instead of having the "hot dog" race, they used Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.  It seemed a little tacky and disrespectful, but I guess it was all in fun. 
What didn't seem disrespectful but what was equally as wacky was the mini hall of fame in the stadium halls with tributes to Ruth and Gehrig.
When the game was over the crew walked back to the hotel, Brian went upstairs while Trish and John went around the corner for a night cap and had a few cold tap beers and some good conversation.  The bar was crowded with people Trish's age and it was loud and fun.  Eventually it was time to go back to the hotel and rest up for Day Three of the road trip.

By the way there was a game, and a great young Cincinnati pitcher.  See game story below.


Leake does it all in win over Nats

Rookie improves to 5-0 with seven strong innings, two hits


Mike Leake made sure he was going to get a win by any means necessary.

The 22-year-old Reds pitcher continued his mastery of the mound and his hot offensive ways in guiding his team to a 5-1 victory before 22,896 fans at Nationals Park.

Leake improved to 5-0 on the season thanks to seven innings of work in which he gave up just seven hits. He also scored what would become the game-winning run in the fifth inning -- going 2-for-3 at the plate.

Leake smiled after the game as he thought about his offensive success.

"Sometimes, I like hitting more than I like pitching," Leake said. "It's just fun to me to be able to go up there and swing the bat every five days."

That's a dangerous proposition for National League teams because the hot-hitting Leake raised his average to .417 and lowered his ERA to 2.22 for the season.

"The young man helped himself on the field pitching, hitting and base running," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a ball player."

Leake struck out five Washington batters and allowed one run, which was unearned.

Up 2-1 in the sixth inning, he got out of his one major jam. Leake allowed a single to Ryan Zimmerman, who scored earlier on a Joey Votto error, and later hit Josh Willingham with a pitch. Then, with two outs, Leake got Ian Desmond to ground out to end the inning.

The Nationals didn't pose a challenge the rest of the way.

"The thing about him is he pitches to the situation," Baker said. "If he needs a double play, he throws his best double-play pitch. If he needs a strikeout, he'll go for the strikeout. That's tough to teach. Most guys don't learn that until far into their careers."

The Reds got their first run on a double by Votto that scored Brandon Phillips. They had to wait another four innings to score again, as Leake singled and then was driven in on an Orlando Cabrera double.

The Reds scored three times off Washington relievers in the eighth, with Cabrera, Phillips and Votto crossing the plate.

It was Phillips' run that led to the night's most interesting drama. He ran over catcher Wil Nieves, who dropped the ball. Phillips walked toward his dugout and pounded his chest.

Phillips said he was not showing up the Nationals.

"I just go out there and play the game of baseball the way I know how," he said. "I just play with a lot of excitement. I didn't see nothing wrong with what I did. If people think I did something wrong, I apologize to whoever thinks so, but it's ... baseball. I'm just going to go out there and play the best way I know how and as long we win, that's all that matters."

An inning later, Nationals reliever Miguel Batista drilled Phillips in the ribs. Batista denied it was intentional.

"No, we're just playing baseball," Batista said. "Everybody knows Phillips. You have to go way in and way out. To be honest, I threw mostly fastballs. That one got away. He knows he did wrong, and he got booed by the fans. A lot of people said we are walking on eggshells because of all the things that have been going on around the league. Umpires are very sensitive. We are just here to play baseball."

Baker said he wasn't surprised at Phillips being hit and said the Nationals believed the Phillips had been too boastful. Reminded that Phillips has been outwardly emotional before, Baker said: "In the old days, you would've gotten drilled."

Phillips playfully dismissed any hard feelings on his end.

"No, trust me, it just helps my on-base percentage," Phillips said. "That's how I look at it. They did their job and I did mine. Lesson learned. I'm just going to worry about winning tomorrow."

Drama aside, there was little doubt that Leake was the star of the night.

"It felt good," Leake said. "It's always nice to keep your team in the game and put up zeros. It was nice to get some run support late. I'm just trying to pitch well and keep it a close game."

Leake has now thrown 81 innings in 11 appearances. Baker dismissed any concerns that Leake could be pitching too much, as did the pitcher. Leake said the team is trying to keep him under 100 pitches each outing. He threw exactly that number Saturday.

"I think they're going about it very well," Leake said. "I think it's very smart on their part. Five-day rest has no part in it. I've gone 11 outings now and it hasn't done anything to me. So I think their plan is to try and conserve me and let me go as long as I can this year."

Baker said Saturday's overall performance was another example of how the pitcher is a rare breed.

"In the National League, you hope your pitchers can become part of the offense ... and just don't be an automatic out," Baker said. "He was great out there. He just battled."

Reds 5, Nationals 1
Cabrera, O, SS 5 1 2 1 0 0 1 .269
Phillips, B, 2B 4 2 1 1 0 0 3 .287
Votto, 1B 4 1 2 1 1 1 2 .321
Rolen, 3B 5 0 1 1 0 0 4 .286
Gomes, LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 4 .300
Heisey, LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .259
Bruce, RF 3 0 1 1 1 2 2 .268
Stubbs, CF 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .231
Hernandez, Ra, C 4 0 0 0 0 2 2 .297
Leake, P 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 .417
Rhodes, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
a-Nix, L, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .232
Cordero, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 37 5 10 5 2 7 22 .276
a-Flied out for Rhodes in the 9th.BATTING
2B: Votto (10, Atilano, L), Rolen (13, Atilano, L), Cabrera, O 2 (12, Atilano, L, Walker, T).
TB: Cabrera, O 4; Phillips, B; Votto 3; Rolen 2; Gomes; Bruce; Leake 2.
RBI: Votto (35), Cabrera, O (27), Phillips, B (20), Rolen (38), Bruce (25).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gomes; Stubbs; Votto; Hernandez, Ra; Rolen.
GIDP: Stubbs.
Team RISP: 2-for-14.
Team LOB: 8.

CS: Gomes (2, 2nd base by Atilano, L/Nieves).

E: Votto (2, fielding).
DP: 2 (Phillips, B-Cabrera, O-Votto 2).

Guzman, C, 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .314
Morgan, CF 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .258
Zimmerman, R, 3B 3 1 1 0 1 0 2 .310
Dunn, A, 1B 4 0 1 0 0 2 3 .276
Willingham, LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .277
Bernadina, RF 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .247
Desmond, SS 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 .274
Nieves, C 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .186
Atilano, L, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .050
a-Harris, W, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .184
Walker, T, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Burnett, S, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Batista, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Slaten, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 33 1 8 0 1 8 14 .261
a-Struck out for Atilano, L in the 7th.BATTING
2B: Morgan (9, Leake).
TB: Guzman, C; Morgan 2; Zimmerman, R; Dunn, A; Willingham; Bernadina; Desmond 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Willingham; Atilano, L; Dunn, A; Desmond.
GIDP: Bernadina; Dunn, A.
Team RISP: 0-for-6.
Team LOB: 7.

CS: Bernadina (2, 2nd base by Leake/Hernandez, Ra).

E: Zimmerman, R (7, throw), Desmond (15, interference).
DP: 2 (Desmond-Dunn, A, Nieves-Guzman, C).

Cincinnati IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Leake(W, 5-0) 7.0 7 1 0 0 5 0 2.22
Rhodes 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.38
Cordero 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.33
Totals 9.0 8 1 0 1 8 0 4.48
Washington IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Atilano, L(L, 5-2) 7.0 6 2 1 1 6 0 4.24
Walker, T 0.0 2 2 1 0 0 0 4.13
Burnett, S 0.2 1 1 1 1 1 0 3.50
Batista 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.09
Slaten 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.04
Totals 9.0 10 5 3 2 7 0 4.16
Walker, T pitched to 2 batters in the 8th.

WP: Burnett, S.
HBP: Willingham (by Leake), Phillips, B (by Batista).
Pitches-strikes: Leake 100-66, Rhodes 17-10, Cordero 19-13, Atilano, L 114-80, Walker, T 10-5, Burnett, S 21-11, Batista 14-9, Slaten 5-3.
Groundouts-flyouts: Leake 7-6, Rhodes 2-0, Cordero 0-1, Atilano, L 9-4, Walker, T 0-0, Burnett, S 0-1, Batista 1-2, Slaten 0-1.
Batters faced: Leake 28, Rhodes 3, Cordero 4, Atilano, L 27, Walker, T 2, Burnett, S 5, Batista 4, Slaten 2.
Inherited runners-scored: Burnett, S 1-1, Batista 2-0, Slaten 1-0.
Ejections: Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman ejected by 3B umpire Dan Bellino (8th); Washington Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista ejected by HP umpire Joe West (9th).
Umpires: HP: Joe West. 1B: Angel Hernandez. 2B: Paul Schrieber. 3B: Dan Bellino.
Weather: 86 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 6 mph, L to R.
T: 3:03.
Att: 22,896.