The Nationals finished an unstable month on a very emphatic note. A night after a heart breaking 13-inning loss, Washington battled back to .500 by clobbering the 17-34 Houston Astros 14-4.
The Nats tacked on four runs early on the Astros ace, and potential future National, Roy Oswalt. Just moments after giving up a bases loaded double to Adam Dunn, which broke a 1-1 tie, Oswalt was ejected after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Bill Hohn. Oswalt later claimed he was yelling at himself about the missed spot on the pitch, and not at the umpire for the call. Regardless of his intentions, he found himself in the clubhouse, and the Astros saw themselves fall apart.
Three innings later the Nationals offense exploded scoring nine runs on seven hits in the top of the seventh inning. While the Washington club was hammering the ball with two homers and a double in the inning, a major result of the Nationals success in the inning came from a comedy of errors and miscalculations by the Astros. To explain it to someone who didn’t see it, one could only say it looked like the Nationals of 2010 were playing the Nationals of 2009.
On the mound rookie Luis Atilano improved to 5-1 on the season, despote his 4.70 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. On the day, Atilano allowed six hits over 6.2 innings pitched and allowed three earned runs with two walks and a strikeout. While he put his team in a position to win today, the rookie is still struggling with his lack of control. The righty has walked more batters than he has struck out this season, his sinking fastball isn’t inducing
ground balls (41.7% on the season), and his velocity has averaged in the mid 80’s. Yet despite all the indicators of failure, Atilano has continued to win, earning victories in five out of his eight starts.
Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn each had four RBI on the night. Zimmerman hit his third homer in two nights, and Dunn has slowly improved his batting average to .274 on the year after an abysmal start. In the month of June he is hitting .309/.395/.617 with six homers and 14 RBI.