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Rick Ankiel drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out walk in the 11th inning and Mike Morse followed with a grand slam, leading the Washington Nationals to a wild 9-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
For all of the offensive ineffectuality — all of the runners left stranded or erased on double plays — the Washington Nationals looked up Saturday afternoon in the eighth inning and found themselves within one run of the San Diego Padres.
The persistent thumping from the Miller Park clubhouse attendants banging the Washington Nationals' cleats off as they packed up from a brutal road trip was the only sound to be heard while the players solemnly collected themselves Wednesday afternoon.
When a team is "fortunate" enough to have the No. 1 pick in back-to-back years, with once-a-generation prospects available in back-to-back drafts, we shouldn't be surprised if good karma is scarce afterward. Few franchises are fortuitous enough to ever draft a Stephen Strasburg a Bryce Harper; snagging both within a 12-month span was like winning the Powerball on consecutive drawings.
There aren't too many scenes from the Washington Nationals' most recent road trip that they'll be playing on highlight tapes. Their one victory in the past eight games aside, it was a trip that began with offensive futility and ended with maddening all-around inconsistency.
Music blared through the speakers in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards late Friday night, breaking a silence that had seemed to extend for days around the Washington Nationals and their anemic offense.
The Washington Nationals did so many things right Friday night — Roger Bernadina's highlight-reel, game-saving catch, the timely home run and RBI-hits, the near-perfect relay throw they executed in the 11th inning — that it was almost difficult to believe they were the ones leaving Nationals Park with their second straight loss.
Jim Riggleman thinks you'd be surprised. Step into the Washington Nationals dugout, the manager said, and the energy level, effort and positive attitudes would leap out.
For eight innings Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals followed a familiar script. They squandered too many opportunities with runners on base and in scoring position. They produced neither timely hits nor heady base running and looked poised to waste another solid pitching performance.