BALTIMORE – The Washington Nationals ran into the New York Mets at the wrong time last weekend.
Washington dropped two of three games to the hot Mets but did come away with a win in the series finale on Aug. 11. The Nationals had dropped six straight to the Mets, including the first two games of this series, before pulling out a 7-4 victory in New York.
The Washington bullpen had blown up in the first two games of this series. Left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle (four runs in the ninth) had his problems on Aug. 9 while right-hander Fernando Rodney allowed the game-tying home run in Washington’s 4-3 loss on Aug. 10.
This time, in the series finale, the Nationals held on. Second baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera came up with a key two-run hit while center fielder Victor Robles added a two-run home run in the ninth inning for the 7-4 lead.
Left fielder Juan Soto injured his ankle/foot while coming around third base, but X-rays were negative.
But still, the Nationals fought off a very hot team – the Mets were 15-1 coming into this game – and the victory gave them a 1 1/2 game lead over New York in the wild-card battle.
“When you’re playing a team that’s that good and that hot, you’re going to have to absorb some punches,” Doolittle said. “Just because you take a lead doesn’t mean they’ll roll over.”
Orioles’ walk-off stops sweep
The Baltimore Orioles had not done well in their last five games in their most recent homestand.
The New York Yankees torched them in the first part of the week, banging out 16 homers in three games en route to a sweep. Then, Houston scored a 3-2 victory on Aug. 9 before a 23-2 massacre the next night.
On Aug. 11, the Astros were going for a complete sweep and appeared to have it when outfielder Michael Brantley lined a two-run triple to deep right that Anthony Santander somehow dropped while trying to throw. That let Brantley come in with the third run for a 7-5 lead.
But the Orioles rallied in the ninth inning. First baseman Chris Davis got a sacrifice fly before infielder Rio Ruiz hit a walk-off two-run homer against closer Roberto Osuna for a wild 8-7 victory at Oriole Park.
It was easy to see the difference in talent between the Orioles and Houston. The Astros have skill players all over the field while the Orioles are trying to build up through young but unproven talent. However, this Baltimore team plays hard all the time, and it is something Manager Brandon Hyde loves.
“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Hyde said. “When you’re in position like those teams, they’re coming in here expecting to sweep. They’re coming in expecting to stay hot and beat us, and we have to do a really good job of playing the spoiler and playing with nothing to lose.”
Mystics take first in WNBA
Aerial Powers was a late decision to start in the Washington Mystics’ game against the Minnesota Lynx on Aug. 11. She came on in place of injured guard Kristi Toliver (right knee contusion).
In her four year career, Powers has only started five games. Regardless, the former Michigan State star scored 20 points and led the Mystics to a 101-78 win over Minnesota.
She hit six of 10 from the field and helped Washington improve to 17-7 and jump into first place in the WNBA. With Toliver out, the Mystics needed her help.
“She’s been huge for many, many games now,” Washington’s Elena Delle Donne said. “When she got the start, she took it in stride and was ready to go.”
Center Emma Meesseman topped the Mystics in scoring. She gave them 25 despite not starting, and without Toliver, all of that offensive production helped.
Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame class announced
The inaugural induction class for the 2019 Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame was announced late Aug. 13 on their official Twitter account with six athletes making up the first list of inductees.
The list includes Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky (Bethesda), gymnast Dominique Dawes (Silver Spring), soccer player Bruce Murray (Germantown), football star Shawn Springs (Silver Spring), baseball player Walter Perry Johnson and Head Football Coach Bob Milloy.
The ceremony will take place on Sept. 13 at the Silver Spring Civic Center. According to their event information webpage, the ceremony will be emceed by award-winning radio broadcaster and play-by-play announcer of the Washington Wizards and D.C. United, Dave Johnson. The event is free but seating is limited.