WASHINGTON -- The Nationals turned a franchise-record five double plays in a 7-1 victory over the Mets at Nationals Park on Saturday night.
The credit goes to Washington left-hander John Lannan, who turned in his first complete game in the Majors. Lannan kept the ball down while his defense turned four double plays in the first four innings. It got to the point where manager Manny Acta thought his team would have nine in the game.
"That's what Lannan is capable of doing, when he lets his sinker do the work," Acta said.
Of the four double plays turned early in the game by Washington, the fourth one was the weirdest one.
Luis Castillo was on first base in the fourth inning when Emil Brown hit a liner to right field. Elijah Dukes dove and trapped the ball. Castillo thought Dukes caught the ball, however, and he headed back to first base. Brown passed Castillo on the basepaths, so Brown was automatically out. Castillo then tried to go to second base, but he was thrown out.
"I guess Castillo turned around before the umpire made the call, "Acta said. "He probably thought Elijah caught the ball on the fly. We knew on the bench right away that Emil Brown was out because he passed the runner right away. We were hoping our kids would throw to the right base and get the right guy."
Dukes thought he caught the ball and was trying to double up Castillo at first base.
"I ended up overthrowing, but the runners ended up crossing up each other anyway," Dukes said. "It worked out for the best."
The fifth double play came in the eighth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Lannan induced Wilson Valdez to hit into a double play.
"I just knew I could get a ground ball any time tonight," Lannan said. "The ground ball was huge."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.