The sun monster strikes again (Nats win 12-2)

The Nationals lost two fly balls in the sun yesterday afternoon, helping the Brewers pick up a 6-2 win at Nats Park.

After the game, Bryce Harper said that the “sun monster” got the best of the Nats. Apparently, the sun monster doesn’t discriminate, though. It’s attacked the Brewers today.

With the Nats leading 2-1 today with two outs in the fourth and runners at the corners, Jayson Werth lifted a lazy fly ball to center. Brewers center field Carlos Gomez had plenty of time to track the ball and get under it, but he completely lost track of it and could only make a last-second dive to try and prevent the ball from dropping.

It was too late. The ball fell in, scoring two runs and making it a 4-1 game. After a Harper walk, Ryan Zimmerman then crushed a Marco Estrada fastball out to center, just clearing the scoreboard for a three-run homer.

Just like that, it was 7-1. If Gomez makes the catch on that routine Werth fly ball, the Brewers are out of the inning just trailing by one.

Instead, this game has been blown wide open, thanks in large part to the sun monster.

In all seriousness, it will be really interesting if the Nats end up hosting afternoon postseason games. The sun could end up playing a major factor in those contests.

Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, is through five innings of one-run ball. Like his last outing, Zimmermann got off to a shaky start before settling down.

He allowed a Corey Hart home run, a triple and two fly ball outs to the track in center in the first two innings, but has only let one ball out of the infield since then, retiring 10 of the last 11 he’s faced.

Zimmermann also has gone 2-for-2 with an RBI at the plate. His run-scoring single in the fourth kept the inning alive, jump-starting the whole sun-aided two-out rally.

Update: Make that 9-1 Nats.

Kurt Suzuki’s two-run double in the fifth made it a seven-run lead and Zimmermann is still cruising, having retired 13 of the last 15 he’s faced.

Ian Desmond, meanwhile, has joined the 20-20 club for the first time in his career. He has 24 home runs and stole his 20th base of the season after walking in the fifth.

Desmond’s full season stats to this point: .299 average, 24 home runs, 71 RBIs, 20 stolen bases. Not too shabby. He becomes just the second 20-20 guy in Nationals history, joining Alfonso Soriano, who had 46 homers and 41 stolen bases in 2006.

Update II: That’s the ballgame. The Nats win 12-2, tying their second-highest scoring output of the season.

Tyler Clippard allowed a run in the eighth and Drew Storen worked a scoreless ninth to close it out. The Nats cut their magic number to five going into a three-game series at Philadelphia.

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