Though more could be said about Livan Hernandez’s dazzling pitching performance on Wednesday or the 15-hit offensive barrage or Michael Morse’s red hot hitting, there was one defensive play among the many that stood out during in the 10-0 win over the Cardinals.
After shortstop Ryan Theriot reached on a single in the fourth inning, Hernandez struck out Colby Rasmus swinging on a 68-mph curveball. Just as Rasmus struck out, catcher Ivan Rodriguez darted up and gunned down a stealing Theriot in the same play. The leading throw to the right of second base put Ian Desmond in a perfect position to make a quick tag for the second out of the quick double play — and elicit a happy fist-pump from Rodriguez behind the plate.
It was the eighth runner caught stealing by Rodriguez, who, combined with fellow catcher Wilson Ramos, have thrown out a major league-leading 48 percent (20 of 42) of would-be stealers.
It should come as not surprise, however, that the tandem has been this successful at nabbing baserunners. Rodriguez, 39, has always shown a penchant for it with a lively arm. In 2001 with the Rangers, he threw out 60 percent (35 off 58) would-be stealers. Rodriguez has led the majors nine times in caught stealing percentage.
Ramos, a sturdy 23-year old, has exhibited the same qualities already with a powerful arm. With his major league-leading 50 percent success rate (12 of 24) so far, the Nationals can hope the same will likely continue as he develops under Rodriguez’s tutelage.
FROM THE POST
Hernandez throws a complete game three-hit shutout for the Nationals fifth straight win, a game in which the team’s offense again comes to life behind 10-run, 15-hit, four-home run peformance.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Harrisburg 6, Trenton 1: Four Senators pitchers, led by six innings from starter Shairon Martis, combined to allow only one run on three hits. Chris Rahl and Bill Rhinehart each drove in two runs.
Lakewood 3, Hagerstown 2: In a suspended game that was resumed in the 11th inning on Wednesday night, Lakewood scores the winning run on a scoring error by pitcher Ben Graham in the bottom of the 12th. First baseman David Freitas finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Lakewood 9, Hagerstown 5: Bryce Harper returned after missing two games with a sore thumb and went 1 for 4 with a two-run triple — his first triple of the season. Blake Kelso and Adrian Sanchez each had two hits.