After getting down 3-0 today, the Nationals looked like they were headed for a 1-10 homestand. But then Adam Dunn caught fire.
It’s been a trying homestand for Dunn, who’s been in a two-week slump (or “valley,” as he jokingly called it after the game today). He struck out with Ryan Zimmerman on second and the game tied at 5 on Tuesday, and put the blame on himself for the eventual loss. But since then, he’s been quick out of the clubhouse as the losses mounted, the frustration evident on his face.
That changed Sunday. Dunn hit two home runs, driving in a career-high six runs and putting the Nationals up for good with a grand slam off Jamie Walker in the seventh inning. Dunn fouled off a hanging slider on a 2-2 count, and it seemed like he’d missed his chance. When Walker came back with the same pitch, Dunn didn’t miss it, blasting it to left center for the decisive grand slam.
“I was just trying to not pull off and hit into a double play,” Dunn said. “In that situation, with a one-run lead and with as many ground balls as I’ve been hitting, I think they were probably playing the percentages. I can see why they do it, but it’s kind of a pride deal and I don’t like it.”
The Orioles walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn, which he said he considered an insult. He made them pay.
“If they’re going to walk Zimmerman, good. Let them pitch to Dunn,” manager Manny Acta said.
A few other notes from this one: Nick Johnson went to the hospital and was examined by team doctors after coming to the park with stomach cramps, but acting general manager Mike Rizzo said he should be good to go Monday. Also, Logan Kensing has accepted his assignment to Class AAA Syracuse and is back with the Chiefs.
Lastly, the Nationals have a decision to make on reliever Mike MacDougal, who they signed earlier this season. MacDougal has a 21-day out clause in his contract, “like about six other players have,” Rizzo said. That comes due tomorrow, which means the former Tigers reliever could opt for free agency if the Nationals don’t call him up. But Rizzo said they hadn’t made any decisions on roster moves.
That’s all from here. Mark will be with you on this week’s road trip. Enjoy!