Davey Johnson jokingly calls himself “Captain Hook” because of his quick calls to the bullpen.
We got another Captain Hook sighting at Nationals Park this afternoon.
Johnson decided to go to his bench with Gio Gonzalez set to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Gonzalez had thrown just 86 pitches through seven scoreless innings, and he had bounced back from a shaky sixth inning to retire the side in order in the seventh.
Instead of sticking with his starter, however, Johnson pinch-hit for Gonzalez, calling on Chad Tracy to face Cubs righty Kyuji Fujikawa.
Tracy struck out swinging, and the Nationals went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Johnson will now go to Drew Storen for the eighth inning, and if all goes as planned, Rafael Soriano for the ninth. He could’ve stuck with Gonzalez and gotten another inning out of his left-hander, but went another direction.
Storen has seen action in just two games in the last 12 days, so it’s possible Johnson wants to give him some work. Can’t blame him for that. You also can’t blame him for trying to add on some insurance runs to open up this 1-0 Nats lead a bit.
Gonzalez did, however, look to have plenty left in the tank after seven innings or work. He’d allowed just two hits and a walk all game and was set to face the bottom of the Cubs lineup had he been allowed to work the eighth.
Regardless, here’s Storen in a one-run game.
Update: Well, Johnson will get some questions about this one.
Storen allowed a leadoff single to Dioner Navarro in the eighth, and after retiring the next two hitters he faced, Storen surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Starlin Castro.
Travis Wood, who pinch-ran for Navarro, came in to score, and we’ve got a tie ballgame. It’s 1-1.
Gonzalez won’t be credited with a win after throwing seven scoreless, and we’ve got a brand new ballgame heading to the bottom of the eighth.
Update II: An errant throw from Kurt Suzuki trying to cut down Alfonso Soriano stealing has given the Cubs a 2-1 lead as we head to the bottom of the ninth.
With one out in the top half of the inning, Soriano and Julio Borbon took off on a double steal. Suzuki’s throw down to third was wild, skipping way to the left of the bag and going all the way down the left field line. On the MASN replay, it looked like Suzuki’s throw might have hit the bat of Welington Castillo, who was standing in the batter’s box.
Soriano came in to score, and the Cubs have their first lead of the day.
The Nats will send Danny Espinosa, Suzuki and Roger Bernadina to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, trying to avoid a frustrating loss.
Update III: That’ll do it. The Nats lost to the Cubs 2-1, wrapping up a brief five-game homestand with a 3-2 record.
Suzuki was ejected in the ninth after arguing a called third strike by home plate umpire John Tumpane, who had a very liberal strike zone today.
Gonzalez pitched a gem, but he gets a no-decision, and the Nats get a tough loss.