The Washington Times - June 24, 2009, 09:06PM

In his first time through a lineup this year, Craig Stammen has allowed opponents to hit .172 off him. The second time through, it’s .250. The third time, it’s .415.

That’s a trademark of a young pitcher. It’s also why the Nationals are down 6-3 after six innings tonight.


Stammen was perfect through three, throwing strikes and working ahead. The Red Sox adjusted to him in the fourth, fifth and sixth, with David Ortiz hitting a three-run homer to put Boston ahead 3-1 in the fourth. Then there were three more hits in the sixth, and a two-run Jason Varitek homer in the sixth.

And while the Nats scored a couple in the sixth, they could have had more if Nick Johnson hadn’t gotten Cristian Guzman into a rundown with none out in the sixth. Credit Guzman for prolonging the rundown long enough that Johnson got to second and Ryan Zimmerman to third, but it could be a 6-4 game if Johnson had driven in both runs and then scored on Josh Willingham’s single.