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Final: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2

Posted by Staff  June 9, 2012 04:00 PM

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Final: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2: Sweeney hits a ground-rule double, setting up Saltalamacchia to be the hero, but he grounds out to first. Red Sox lose. Gio Gonzalez is the winner, Dice-K the loser.

Top 9th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2: Alfredo Aceves sets Zimmerman, LaRoche and Morse down in order, the last two swinging. Headed to the bottom of the ninth. Last call for Boston.

Bottom 8th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2: The middle of the Red Sox order can't produce, going down 1-2-3 to Sean Burnett. Headed to the ninth.

Top 8th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2: Franklin Morales has been lights out in relief. Nine up, nine down, including a three-pitch strikeout of Harper to end the inning.

Sean Burnett on for the Nationals. Sox have six outs left to claw back into this one. Due up are Gonzalez, Ortiz and Youkilis.

Bottom 7th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 2: Gio Gonzalez is done after throwing six straight balls, then one strike, then allowing a single to Aviles. Harper bobbled the ball in right, allowing Middlebrooks, who walked, to move to third. Davey Johnson brought on Craig Stammen, who walked Ryan Sweeney on a 3-2 count, and then summoned Mike Gonzalez, who gave up a bomb off the Green Monster that plated two and put the Sox on the board.

Top 7th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: Six up and six down for Morales, who strikes out Ankiel swinging to end the inning. Time to stretch at Fenway.

Bottom 6th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox appear on the precipice of breaking through versus Gonzalez. Pedroia singled -- just Boston's second hit of the day -- and moved to second when Gonzalez threw the ball into the cameramen's pit. Gonzalez lofted a flare to shallow center that Espinosa snared. Ortiz grounds out to second with the shift on. Inning over, Sox still can't get on the board.

Top 6th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: 1-2-3 for Morales in relief. Nava with a nice catch in the outfield, tracking down a flyball in the gap by LaRoche.

Bottom 5th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: Gonzalez had some issues in the inning. Youkilis reached on an error by LaRoche, then Gonzalez was late covering first, allowing Mike Aviles to reach on a fielder's choice. But strikeouts to Middlebrooks (looking) and Shoppach (swinging) ended the inning.

Morales on for Dice-K, whose final line read: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 80 pitches, 52 strikes.

Top 5th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: The enigma that is Dice-K works around a lead-off double by Rick Ankiel, striking out Flores swinging and Harper looking to strand Ankiel in scoring position.

Franklin Morales has been warming up in the Red Sox pen since the fourth.

Bottom 4th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: Gonzalez has a one-hitter with three strikeouts through four.

Top 4th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 0: So trouble comes in even-numbered innings, it seems.

Dice-K pitches from the stretch for the first time this afternoon after walking Harper on four straight pitches (three fastballs) to lead off the inning. A hit-and-run single to left by Zimmerman is bobbled by Nava, who had a chance to get Harper at third. Though he got revenge on LaRoche with a strikeout, Morse opened up the floodgates with a ground-rule double to right.

A Desmond single scored two, prompting a mound visit from Bobby V. Gonzalez makes a nice sliding catch in right, doubling off Desmond at first to keep the damage to three runs.

Bottom 3rd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Gio Gonzalez equally strong. McDonald flies out to right, Shoppach goes down swinging and Nava grounds out to short on a nice play from Ian Desmond.

Top 3rd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Four strikeouts now for Dice-K, who gets Ankiel and Lombardozzi looking. Save the LaRoche homer, he's looked pretty strong so far.

Bottom 2nd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Big Papi goes opposite field for a lead-off double down the line, then scampers to third when Gonzalez crosses up Flores with a breaking ball that the catcher took straight to the leg, resulting in a wild pitch. Youkilis, Middlebrooks and Aviles leave him stranded in scoring position.

Top 2nd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: LaRoche goes yard on the first pitch of the inning off Dice-K, his 10th of the season, making him the first Washington player to double-digit homers. Dice-K settles down after, setting down Morse, Desmond and Espinosa in order.

Bottom 1st: Nationals 0, Red Sox 0: Three up, three down for Gonzalez. Nava flies out to deep center, Pedroia goes down swinging and Gonzalez grounds out to short. Scoreless headed to the second.

Top 1st: Nationals 0, Red Sox 0: Dice-K, rocking the red glove, starts things off by striking out Lombardozzi on three pitches and then gets Zimmerman fishing. Both were on sliders hovering around the 80-mph range.

Pregame: Red Sox looking to rebound after Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper stole the show last night in a 7-4 Nationals win. Boston starts Daisuke Matsuzaka, making his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 10, 2011, a year ago tomorrow. Washington counters with lefty Gio Gonzalez (7-2, 2.31 ERA), second in baseball with 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Intern Alex with your live updates throughout the game. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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