Nationals 2, Mariners 1
“I feel like I’ve turned the corner. … The team’s going to win if the starting pitchers can keep the game under control for the first five or six innings,” said Patterson (3-1), who allowed a run and six hits over seven innings.
Patterson walked one and struck out five to win for the first time since April 26, a span of six starts.
The Nationals’ winning streak is the franchise’s longest since the Montreal Expos won 10 straight in June 1997. Washington improved to 12-1 on a 14-game homestand that concludes Sunday. The Nationals have won seven straight home series.
“This has been an unbelievable run. And we do, we find a way every night to win a ballgame,” Patterson said.
Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 18th save.
Seattle starter Jamie Moyer frustrated the Nationals with an assortment of offspeed pitches over six innings—allowing a run and four hits—but Washington got to reliever J.J. Putz (1-2) in the seventh.
With one out, the Nationals loaded the bases on a pinch-hit single by Carlos Baerga and walks to Brad Wilkerson and pinch-hitter Ryan Church. Guillen worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a single to short center that scored pinch-runner Tony Blanco.
“All of a sudden, he couldn’t find the strike zone,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said of Putz. “He finally gathered himself, but it was a day late and a dollar short.”
Guillen didn’t stay around to discuss his heroics. He and teammate Livan Hernandez were whisked out of RFK Stadium with a police escort to MCI Center for the Mike Tyson-Kevin McBride heavyweight fight.
“We won. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Guillen said as he was driven away from the Nationals clubhouse on the back of a golf cart.
A crowd of 39,108 pushed the Nationals past one million fans on their 32nd home game. The team has drawn 1,019,462 during its inaugural season in Washington.
“Maybe the word has spread,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said. “The fans are responding.”
Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 and is one hit shy of 1,000 for his major league career. His bad-hop RBI single in the fifth gave Seattle the early lead.
But as they have done so often this season, the Nationals rallied—25 of Washington’s 36 victories have come after trailing. Their 25 comeback wins are the most in the majors.
Cristian Guzman started the bottom half with a ground-rule double over the center field fence and moved to third on Patterson’s sacrifice. After Wilkerson struck out, Marlon Byrd laced a run-scoring triple deep into the right field corner that skittered past Suzuki.
Suzuki had trouble grabbing the ball at the base of the wall and Byrd appeared primed to try for an inside-the-park homer, until he slipped rounding third base. As Byrd scampered back to third, Suzuki sailed a wide cutoff throw that was gloved by first baseman Richie Sexson halfway between home and first base.
Robinson visited the mound with two outs in the seventh. Suzuki was up and Morse was on third after a leadoff single, a stolen base and an infield groundout.
But Robinson stuck with Patterson, who was making his third start since returning from a stint on the disabled list because of back spasms. He gave Patterson the option of pitching to Suzuki or pitching around him, and Patterson got Suzuki to fly to left.
“He did an outstanding job of keeping them off balance, off the bases and off the scoreboard, mostly,” Robinson said.
Before the game, the Nationals designated INF Rick Short for assignment to clear a roster spot for RHP Ryan Drese, who was acquired on waivers from Texas on Friday. … Seattle OF Randy Winn had his 20th multi-hit game. … Washington 1B Nick Johnson’s franchise record of scoring a run in 11 straight games ended.