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Dukes' fifth hit lifts Nationals over Rangers in 14th

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Elijah Dukes, born 13 years after the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers, was concerned with more recent history when the team that jilted the nation's capital finally returned.

A 1-for-26 start as a member of the Washington Nationals shadowed Dukes for weeks until he slowly began to justify the faith the team has placed in him. His 5-for-6 performance Friday night -- including the tying home run in eighth inning and the winning RBI in the 14th -- was a suitable exclamation point in a 4-3 marathon victory over the Rangers.

"It's really not that impressive to me because I should have been doing it," said Dukes, whose average has risen from .038 to .270. "I commend myself because I did what it takes to get better, and that was get in early and hit in the cage. When you know what you can do, there's no need to press. I knew I was a better hitter. It was just a matter of time for me to wake up and start hitting the ball."

Dukes' five hits were a career-high, and he also had two stolen bases, two runs and two RBI. Considering his numerous off-the-field troubles before joining the Nationals - not to mention a recent shouting match in the dugout with manager Manny Acta - he had to come a long way to earn the celebratory mob scene around him after his single off Jamey Wright (4-3) found a hole on the left side of the infield to score Felipe Lopez from third.

"Elijah, I can't say anything bad about the guy," said Nationals starter Tim Redding, who allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in his sixth consecutive no-decision. "Everybody knows the baggage he's had coming into this season, but he is by far unquestionably one of the best ballplayers we have in this clubhouse talent-wise, effort-wise, on the field."

Dukes' big day spoiled the long-awaited return appearance for the franchise moved by owner Bob Short from Washington to Texas after the 1971 season. The Senators' final game was ruled a forfeit after angry fans invaded the field and tore up the turf in the ninth inning at RFK Stadium. Washington went without baseball for more than three decades until the Montreal Expos relocated in 2005.

While the 1971 finale ended early, this one ran late, the longest so far in the brief history of Nationals Park. Fans were treated to a 14th-inning stretch and a bonus edition of the Presidents' Race, the goofy promotion that features four versions of the chief executives on Mount Rushmore racing each other with oversized heads. A post-game fireworks show was canceled for fear it would bother the neighbors at such a late hour.

"I guess if it wasn't for Elijah Dukes, it would have been an easy game for us," said Texas starter Kevin Millwood, who pitched eight innings - his longest outing since early April - and allowed seven hits and three runs. "I couldn't get him out."

Wright, the fifth Texas pitcher, began the 14th with a strikeout, but he then hit Lopez in the foot with a pitch. He got into more trouble by walking pinch hitter Paul Lo Duca and Ryan Langerhans to load the bases. Cristian Guzman struck out, but Dukes came through with the game-winning hit that again sank the Rangers below .500.

Joel Hanrahan (3-2), the sixth Washington pitcher, threw two innings. Nationals pitchers allowed only one hit over the final 10 2-3 innings.

The Rangers took the early lead with a three-run second inning in which one silly mistake topped another. Marlon Byrd stopped running between third and home when he would have easily scored on a double by Gerald Laird. Byrd didn't even force a throw as he was tagged out by first baseman Dmitri Young.

The play should have bailed the Nationals out of the inning. With two outs and no runs in, Redding intentionally walked No. 8 hitter Ramon Vazquez so he could face Millwood, who hasn't had a hit since 2004. But Redding walked Millwood to load the bases, setting up Ian Kinsler's bases-clearing double off the right field wall.

Millwood hit a wild spell in the third, walking back-to-back batters with two outs before allowing Jesus Flores' two-run single. The Nationals were on the board, but the play included another mental mistake: Young, who had been on first, strayed too far after rounding second and was tagged without making much of an effort to get back.

The score remained 3-2 until Dukes tied the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth, hitting Millwood's first pitch just over the left-field wall and into the Rangers' bullpen.

Notes

  • Laird pulled his right hamstring while beating out a bunt single in the fourth inning and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. C Max Ramirez was recalled from Double-A Frisco.
  • Texas OF Milton Bradley, out of the starting lineup for the third straight game with to a strained left quadriceps, appeared as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and grounded out to second base.
  • Guzman went 0-for-7, ending a 12-game hitting streak
  • The Rangers are 3-15 when playing with a .500 record this season.
  • Aaron Boone was late scratch from Washington's starting lineup because of a sore left knee, but he struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
  • The Nationals played a scoreboard tribute to 'Meet the Press' host and season ticket holder Tim Russert, who died last week.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Elijah Dukes carries the Nationals all night, collecting five hits and the winning RBI.  (AP)
Elijah Dukes carries the Nationals all night, collecting five hits and the winning RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

E. Dukes
AB 6
R 2
H 5
HR 1
RBI 2
Texas

I. Kinsler
AB 5
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B5013010 .306
Frank Catalanotto, 1B6020002 .276
Michael Young, SS6000003 .276
Josh Hamilton, CF6000031 .315
Marlon Byrd, RF6010022 .257
David Murphy, LF6000001 .272
Gerald Laird, C2120000 .306
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia, PR-C3000010 .219
Ramon Vazquez, 3B4100101 .321
Kevin Millwood, P2100111 .000
    Frank Francisco, P0000000 .000
   a- Milton Bradley, PH1000000 .329
    Josh Rupe, P0000000 .000
   b- Brandon Boggs, PH0000100 .263
    Joaquin Benoit, P0000000 .000
    Jamey Wright, P0000000 .000
Totals4736338  
a-grounded out for Francisco in the 10th
b-walked for Rupe in the 13th
Batting
2B - Ian Kinsler (22, Redding), Gerald Laird (12, Redding)
SH - Ian Kinsler (5)
RBI - Ian Kinsler 3 (45)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler 3 (21)
SB - Ian Kinsler (19, 3rd base off Redding/Flores)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Marlon Byrd 1
DP - Saltalamacchia-Young, Young-Kinsler-Catalanotto
Texas Rangers
Kevin Millwood 8733341 4.61
Frank Francisco 1000010 4.23
Josh Rupe 3300030 3.76
Joaquin Benoit 1100000 5.58
Jamey Wright (L,4-3) 0.2111220 3.89
HBP - F. Lopez (by Jamey Wright)
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Millwood 112-66, Frank Francisco 10-8, Josh Rupe 40-28, Joaquin Benoit 15-9, Jamey Wright 27-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Millwood 12-6, Josh Rupe 4-1, Joaquin Benoit 1-2
Batters Faced - Kevin Millwood 32, Frank Francisco 3, Josh Rupe 11, Joaquin Benoit 4, Jamey Wright 6
Washington Nationals
Cristian Guzman, SS7000024 .312
Elijah Dukes, RF6252100 .270
Lastings Milledge, CF5100102 .245
Dmitri Young, 1B4010101 .263
    Ronnie Belliard, PR-3B1010000 .232
Jesus Flores, C6032001 .308
Kory Casto, 3B-1B6000043 .184
Felipe Lopez, 2B5110011 .255
Willie Harris, LF4010001 .151
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
   a- Wily Mo Pena, PH1000010 .205
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
   b- Paul Lo Duca, PH0000100 .193
Tim Redding, P2000000 .120
    Charlie Manning, P0000000 .000
   c- Aaron Boone, PH1000011 .264
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Langerhans, LF2000110 .200
Totals504124510  
a-struck out for Rivera in the 12th
b-walked for Hanrahan in the 14th
c-struck out for Manning in the 7th
Batting
2B - Elijah Dukes (6, Rupe)
HR - Elijah Dukes (2, Millwood)
RBI - Elijah Dukes 2 (14), Jesus Flores 2 (27)
2-OUT RBI - Elijah Dukes (5), Jesus Flores 2 (14)
SB - Elijah Dukes 2 (8, 3rd base off Millwood/Laird, 2nd base off Millwood/Laird), Willie Harris (4, 2nd base off Millwood/Saltalamacchia)
CS - Jesus Flores (1, 2nd base by Millwood/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Elijah Dukes 1
E - Felipe Lopez (8, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Tim Redding 6533250 4.12
Charlie Manning 1000000 2.08
Luis Ayala 1000000 5.21
Jon Rauch 1000000 2.45
Saul Rivera 3100010 3.80
Joel Hanrahan (W,3-2) 2000120 4.47
IBB - Vazquez by Tim Redding
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Redding 103-63, Charlie Manning 12-7, Luis Ayala 10-7, Jon Rauch 9-8, Saul Rivera 43-28, Joel Hanrahan 32-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Redding 3-9, Charlie Manning 1-2, Luis Ayala 1-2, Jon Rauch 2-1, Saul Rivera 7-2, Joel Hanrahan 2-2
Batters Faced - Tim Redding 24, Charlie Manning 3, Luis Ayala 3, Jon Rauch 3, Saul Rivera 11, Joel Hanrahan 7
Game Information
Attendance - 30359
Game Time - 4:10
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Chris Guccione