Nationals sweep the Pirates
Thanks in no small measure to Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals have won all three games of a series for the first time this year.* The Nats swept the Pirates in [Washington] to end their home stand on a positive note, but none of the games were easy. Even though the Nationals big sluggers are beginning to get consistent hits, there are defensive weaknesses that could prove costly in a close division race. On Thursday, Livan Hernandez finally got his fifth win of the season; he wasn't getting much run support in his recent starts.
* The Nationals had won three games in a row three times earlier this season, but in each case, those streaks spanned two different series. This season has been marked by an amazing consistency, with the Nationals often alternating between a victory one day and a loss the next.
Tonight the Nats began a nine-game road trip in Cleveland, starting off on the right foot with a run in the top of the first inning. But then with two outs in the bottom of the first, Adam Kennedy booted a ground ball that should have been an easy third out. It proved to be a costly error as the next batter, former National Austin Kearns, hit a three-run homer for the Indians. Kearns had surgery on his thumb during the off-season, and apparently that was what was preventing him from batting well during his two years in Washington. He and former Nationals manager Manny Acta are doing very well in Cleveland this year, and I'm happy that they are getting second chances to prove themselves.
Adam Dunn is finally on a hot streak at the plate, and his average is up to .290, with 13 home runs. And the Nationals are in fourth place at 30-32, poised to make another surge in the NL East standings.
Yankee Stadium II boxing
I learned from Cody Gobbell that Yankee Stadium just hosted a boxing match for the first time, as Miguel Cotto defeated Yuri Foreman, who slipped and hurt his knee in the seventh round. As reported by the New York Daily News, "Cotto won by TKO in the ninth round, capping a brutal assault on a limping Foreman, who is an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn." To see how New Yankee Stadium was transformed for this event, see cnn.com. Unlike old Yankee Stadium, where there hadn't been any boxing matches since Mohammed Ali edged Ken Norton in 1976, the boxing ring was set up in right field, not in the infield.
Strasburg does Top Ten
[UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Stephen Strasburg did a fine job doing the "Top Ten List" on David Letterman's show last night. Seeing the pitcher with the outfield and scoreboard in the background was great publicity for the Nationals and for Washington. I wish I had tape recorded it. Among the "Top Ten Little Known Facts about Stephen Strasburg": he scored the winning goal when the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup championship. (That sounds like the kind of factual misstatement I would make about hockey or basketball. ) See MLB.com.]