Final: Nationals 4, Red Sox 3: Pinch-hitting for McDonald, Youkilis walks. Aviles runs for him, but is stranded at first by Podsednik (strikeout) and Pedroia (strikeout).
Bobby V also got ejected for the second time this season after umpire Al Porter tried to ring up Pedroia on a 1-2 count.
Game over. Sox have lost six of their past seven and head to Miami to begin a six-game road trip.
Top 9th: Nationals 4, Red Sox 3: Bernadina doubles down the line to right, scoring Harper, who was running on the pitch. Sweeney overthrew the cutoff man. Nationals go up, bring in Tyler Clippard for his fifth outing in the past six games to close things down.
Bottom 8th: Nationals 3, Red Sox 3: A Papi single and Middlebrooks walk puts a runner in scoring position, but Sweeney, who scored the tying run in the seventh, grounds out weakly to first.
Top 8th: Nationals 3, Red Sox 3: Atchison has a nice battle with LaRoche, who fouled off four straight pitches but whiffed on a high fastball to end a perfect inning. Time to sing that song about that girl who’s supposedly so sweet.
Bottom 7th: Nationals 3, Red Sox 3: Some nice station-to-station hitting ties things up for the Sox. Sweeney and Punto single, McDonald sacrifices them over and Podsednik drives in Sweeney with a grounder to short.
Atchison on for Lester. Lester’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 107 pitches, 67 strikes.
Top 7th: Nationals 3, Red Sox 2: What a strange inning. Desmond singles down the left-field line. It was initially ruled a double after a fan interfered. He moved to second on a single by Moore. With the infield in against Flores, the two stole third. Lester then strikes Flores out, gets Bernadina to pop out on an awful bunt attempt. Then Espinosa bangs a double off the Wall in left for two runs, probably a routine out anywhere but Fenway.
Nationals take the lead. We’re stretching.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 2, Nationals 1: Zimmermann gets Salty swinging for the third time today, this one on a nasty slider. Middlebrooks also goes fishing and comes up empty.
Lester back on for the seventh.
Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Nationals 1: Lester’s breaking stuff is strong today. He’s locating his curve well, getting LaRoche swinging on a 78-mph looper, and struck out Morse swinging on a cutter for the second time today.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Nationals 1: Big moment for Zimmermann, who puts runners on second and third with a Podsednik double and a walk to Pedroia, but gets Gonzalez to weakly ground out to end the inning. Nats have 3-4-5 hitters due up.
Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Nationals 1: Lester is getting stronger as the game goes on. He strikes out Bernadina and Espinosa swinging and gets Nady to ground out to short.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Nationals 1: Ortiz blasts a high fastball into the Nats’ bullpen for his 14th homer of the season and first since June 1. Salty strikes out for the second time today, Middlebrooks lines out to deep center and Sweeney is caught looking. Onto the fifth to see if Lester can hold onto the lead.
Top 4th: Nationals 1, Red Sox 1: Lester’s defense bails him out of a potential jam there, thanks to a nice heads-up play from Punto, who caught Desmond leaning too far off second. Desmond reached after ripping his team-high 17th double into the left-field corner, but hesitated on Moore’s grounder to short and got picked off.
Bottom 3rd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 1: We’re tied here at Fenway after Pedroia beats out a potential double-play ball to second, scoring Punto, who walked and moved to third on Podsednik single.
Top 3rd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Well, that nearly got ugly. Bernadina (single) and Espinosa (walk) puts runners on 1st and 2nd, and the two execute a double-steal when Lester struck out Nady swinging on a 2-2 curve. Lester issued a four-pitch walk to Zimmerman (the fourth ball was intentional) that loaded things up, before he got Morse looking on a 3-2 sinker.
Bottom 2nd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Big Papi showing some Big Hustle on a lead-off double to the left-center gap, though an on-target throw might have gotten him on a ball that rolled to the wall. Not much after that, though. Salty and Middlebrooks go down swinging and Sweeney grounds to second.
Top 2nd: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Two hard-hit balls by Desmond and Moore find Red Sox gloves, and Lester is through two after striking out LaRoche swinging to lead off the inning.
Bottom 1st: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Pedroia rips a 2-2 curve to left for a single. After fouling off two straight pitches from Zimmermann, Gonzalez grounds into a 4-6-3 double play.
Top 1st: Nationals 1, Red Sox 0: Espinosa clangs a lead-off double off the Monster in center on the second pitch he saw from Lester, then scores on a Zimmerman groundout to third that Middlebrooks knocked down in front of him. Lester strikes out Morse swinging on a 90-mph cutter. Washington on the board first.
Pregame: Washington sends Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.82 ERA) to the mound as the Nats go for the sweep after two strong outings from ace Stephen Strasburg and No. 2 Gio Gonzalez last night. Closing out a six-game homestand, Boston counters with Jon Lester (3-4, 4.64 ERA), trying to avoid losing three straight for the fifth time this season.
A bevy of pregame blog posts for you, because having them in one place is fun:
–Game preview on Extra Bases can be read here.
–Quotes from Bobby V on Rich Hill getting sent to the DL here.
–Daniel Nava scratched from the lineup with a sore left hand.
Regarding live updates, The Intern Named Alex has them for you this afternoon on the blog.
As always, your comments are encouraged, because discouraging them wouldn’t make any sense.