Thru 6: Hanging on

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The Nationals added an insurance run in the fifth, which proved critical because of the inherited runner Steven Shell allowed to score in the sixth. They lead 3-2 after six, and this game, like the last two, will hinge on two things: Whether the Nationals can drive in enough baserunners to pad their lead, and whether the team’s shaky bullpen can protect a tight margin.

Washington left the bases loaded again in the fifth, making three times the Nationals have done that today. Alberto Gonzalez has personally left eight runners on base. But after he fouled out to left, Daniel Cabrera drew a walk. Yes, Daniel Cabrera drew a walk. And on four pitches, no less. That kind of a gift doesn’t come around often; in fact, it was the first time Cabrera’s ever been on base. And he got stuck there. The Nationals also ended the sixth with a peculiar strikeout-throwout double play; Elijah Dukes whiffed, and Adam Dunn got caught trying to steal second. Ryan Zimmerman went on the previous pitch, and Dunn stayed put at first. Not sure if there was a missed sign there or something.

Anyway, it’s 3-2 with Mike Hinckley on the mound. Hang on tight.

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