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Nats deliver in clutch
Question of the Day
“I’m glad in a way that Kearns was the one who drove in the winning run in that situation,” Robinson said. “He came through this time. He’s a major league hitter. If you keep giving him chances, he’s going to come through.”
The shock of the eight-player trade that brought Kearns to Washington from Cincinnati is starting to wear off, particularly since the club returned to RFK.
“Meeting the team on the road, you still kind of had that weird feeling,” Kearns said. “You didn’t feel comfortable. It’s really helped being home.”
Lost among the late-game heroics was a standout pitching performance from Pedro Astacio, the veteran right-hander who authored his best outing since coming off the disabled list earlier this month. Astacio held the Giants to one run over his first six innings before getting charged with two more during a seventh-inning uprising made possible in part by Marlon Anderson’s error at second base.
Astacio was particularly effective at handling Barry Bonds, even though the prodigious slugger walked in his first two plate appearances. On the first of those, Astacio nearly struck Bonds out looking at an inside fastball. The borderline pitch drew a loud reaction from the fans, but plate umpire Jeff Kellogg would have none of it.
Astacio, though, didn’t back down. When he got ahead of Bonds 1-2 in the sixth, he came right back with the same pitch. Bonds again took it, but this time Kellogg rung him up. The crowd roared with delight; Bonds (who left in the ninth with a strained hamstring) stood and glared at Kellogg, incredulous over the called third strike that left him hitless in this series.
“Just a super job on his part,” Robinson said of Astacio. “He kept them off balance, made good pitches and got outs. You couldn’t ask for any more than that.”
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