Nationals Take Two of Three from Blue Jays

By Carla K. Peay
Updated: June 27, 2005

Washington Nationals vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Photo by John E. DeFreitas

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s clear that the RFK faithful missed their newest hometown heroes, as an average of nearly 37,000 fans per night showed up for the Nationals weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. After a nine game road trip in which they went 5-4, the first place Nationals shut out the Blue Jays 3-0 on Friday night, and maintained a rare early lead in a 5-2 victory on Saturday before dropping the Sunday afternoon contest by a score of 9-5, bringing an end to their home winning streak of 12 games.

But manager Frank Robinson doesn’t concern himself with winning streaks.

“Each time you go out, you just focus on the games you’re playing. You don’t go out there saying we’ve got a winning streak at home, because you’re really going to lose focus on what this thing is all about. It’s nice that we had that, and it’s nice that we’re playing well at home, but we don’t focus on how many games we’ve won at home. We just come out here and try to win the next one.”

Of as much concern as the loss is the condition of first baseman Nick Johnson, who left the game in the 7th inning after bruising a bone in his heel on a play at the plate. Johnson is enjoying an outstanding season so far, with a .323 average, and one of the best on-base percentages in the league. Robinson pulled no punches in describing what happened to Johnson.

“He didn’t try to slide. He tried to avoid (catcher) Zaun’s leg. He jumped over his leg to tag the plate and this is why catchers get knocked on their butts. He blocked the plate when he didn’t have a chance for a play at the plate. That’s why as a runner you should never avoid knocking them on their butt. Because there’s a good possibility you’re going to get hurt.”

Johnson was taken for x-rays following the game, and is listed as day to day.

The Nationals will enjoy a day off on Monday before heading into a home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, followed by a weekend road trip to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs before returning to RFK.

“The difficult thing will be playing in Wrigley Field. If the wind is blowing out, look out. It’s nice to go out on the road and then come right back. You’re not out there any length of time. It’s a good way to wind up before the all-star break”, added Robinson.

The Nationals will then face NL East division rivals the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies before breaking for the All-Star game on July 12th. Certain to be considered for all-star selection is ace Livan Hernandez, with a record of 11-2, and closer Chad Cordero, whose 25 saves leads the major leagues. Robinson takes it all in stride.

“It’s a stretch where we would like to play good baseball and get our share of wins and go into the all-star break on a good note.”