The Nationals took on the Diamondbacks and won the game with barely a hitch on Monday night in the heavily protested State of Arizona. As a matter of fact, in the bottom of the 1st inning, there was a large sign displayed in left field protesting Arizona's immigration law that is currently in limbo pending further court action. It was only a brief delay. But on to the actual game.
Ivan Rodriguez became only the 5th catcher in MLB history to hit 300 home runs in a career. He joins the likes of Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Yogi Berra. That's some elite company for the future Hall of Famer. Congrats to Pudge, and it's nice that the milestone was reached in a Nats uniform.
Adam Dunn crushed his 26th home run to right-center field off of Rodrigo Lopez. That ties him for 2nd place in home runs in the NL with Cardinals' 1st baseman Albert Pujols. Dunn is just 1 behind league leader Joey Votto, who is day-to-day with a "tweaked" wrist.
Finally, for this series with the D-Backs, the Nats get to enjoy the umpiring of Joe West, Angel Hernandez, and their simply dreadful staff. (Read my previous post on the crew from earlier this season here.) It shouldn't surprise anyone that there was a blown call at 1st base on a Willingham infield single. The 1st base umpire (anyone have a name, was it Schrieber?) blew a call where the Hammer was safe by more than half a step. It wasn't close in fast motion, let alone in slo-mo. Riggleman argued the call, to no avail.
Luckily for the Nats, the blown call didn't affect the income despite the fact that they were unable to score a run after the 3rd inning for the millionth time this season. Livan had a great start, throwing only 91 pitches in 7 1/3 innings. Sean Burnett was on the rubber for the last 5 outs, earning him his 1st save in 2010 and only his 2nd career save. He did it in 19 pitches, and didn't allow a runner on base, while striking out 2.
All in all, it was one of those games that you watch and say, "Hey, this is a real baseball team." The Nats hope to continue to be a real baseball team on this 7 game road trip visiting the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers after taking 4 of 6 at home against the best teams in the NL East, the Phillies and the Braves. Continuing the success will be up to Scott Olsen on Tuesday as he faces a new D-back, Joe Saunders, who was acquired from the Angels in the Dan Haren trade. It should be an exciting matchup.