Nats-Astros Game Suspended Because of Rain; Will Be Continued July 9

Ryan Zimmerman extends his hitting streak to 23 games.
Ryan Zimmerman extends his hitting streak to 23 games. "That's one more than 22," the Nats' third baseman said. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More than five hours after the first pitch yesterday at Nationals Park, there was still much confusion permeating the home clubhouse. A game was left incomplete. A hitting streak was left in limbo. A roster spot was in jeopardy, though whose had not yet been determined.

"I don't know what we're going to do now," Washington starter Scott Olsen said. "I don't know what happens from here on out."

Following a rain delay that lasted 1 hour 16 minutes, yesterday's game between the Nationals and the Houston Astros was suspended with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning and the score tied at 10. The contest will be completed on July 9 at Houston, though the Nationals will still be the home team.

While a final outcome remained months away, more immediate matters were tended to before the day was through. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's hitting streak -- extended to 23 games yesterday with a sixth-inning single -- continues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He met the news with a shrug of the shoulders.

"Yeah," Zimmerman said. "That's one more than 22."

The news was more disappointing for right-handed reliever Saúl Rivera, who was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse following the game's suspension despite working a perfect sixth inning. Left-hander Joe Beimel will return from the disabled list (hip flexor) for today's game at Los Angeles.

The Nationals, with baseball's worst record, departed the District last night for their first extended West Coast trip of the season. As was made evident for just less than four hours yesterday against the Astros, the team can rely neither on its defense (surprisingly) nor on its bullpen (not so much) to protect leads created by its suddenly potent offense.

Zimmerman, who owns the longest hitting streak in baseball over the past two years, went 2 for 6 with an RBI and a run scored. Four of the top five batters in Washington's lineup are hitting above .300, and the lone exception -- outfielder Adam Dunn -- is hitting .282.

"It's nice to be able to help the team, and you know, I drove in a run with the one hit and we did another good job of coming from behind again today and scoring a lot of runs," Zimmerman said. "Hopefully we can keep it going like we have been."

On Monday night, Washington's hitters bailed the team out of a four-run hole, and they were asked repeatedly to make similar charges yesterday.

Olsen allowed six hits and five runs in five innings, and still he managed to leave the game before the most serious damage was done. Toting a four-run lead in the seventh, Julián Taváres gave up two hits and three runs in one-third of an inning. Garrett Mock entered the eighth with a one-run lead and walked pinch hitter Darin Erstad, the first batter he faced.

"Walking the leadoff guy, that's a recipe for disaster," Mock said. "You're asking for trouble."

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