Joey and the Candyman help Nats avoid Sweep vs Cleveland
Game 1: Guardians 4, Nats 3
Nationals starting pitcher Trevor Williams lowered his runs allowed total for the second start in a row. Williams pitched five innings, giving up one run with two walks and two strikeouts. He wouldn’t factor in the decision but unfortunately, the next two relievers for Washington did. Hunter Harvey gave up two runs in less than two innings. Carl Edwards Jr. hurt himself and his team with an error and an unearned run that turned out to be the winning tally for Cleveland.
In the fourth inning, Luis Garcia hit his first HR of the year. A pair of singles by Keibert Ruiz and Thomas loaded the bases. Then Alex Call burned his old team with a two-out two-RBI single to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.
The Nationals defense had some mixed results. From near the warning track, Lane Thomas nailed Jose Ramirez trying to stretch a single in the third. CJ Abrams applied a nice quick tag.
But then in the top of the sixth, Victor Robles very uncharacteristically misplayed a fly ball by Amed Rosario into a ground rule double. Rosario would come around to score on a double play ball started by Abrams.
In the top of the seventh, ex-Nat Josh Bell burned his former club with his first home run as a Guardian. Carl Edwards Jr. then walked in the game-tying run, and it was 3-3. In the eighth inning, Edwards turned a harmless grounder back to the mound into an error and a leadoff baserunner for Cleveland. That runner would score. The Guardians took the lead for good on a check swing fielder’s choice.
On the plus side for DC, Luis Garcia was 2-3 with a HR, 1 RBI, and two walks. Alex Call knocked in a pair, and Thomas continued to rake with a couple of hits.
Nats record drops to 4-10.
Time of Game: 2:41.
Game 2: Guardians 6, Nats 4
After a rain delay of 1:40, Chad Kuhl started the game for the Nationals with a four-pitch walk.
It was another sub-par outing for Kuhl who and suffered his first loss of the season. In 4.2 innings, Kuhl gave up five runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
The Nats struck first in the bottom of the first on run scoring hits by Joey Meneses, Jeimer Candelario, and Keibert Ruiz. Ruiz would also knock in the Nats fourth run on a fourth inning double scoring Luis Garcia.
Cleveland got on the board with a run in the second. In the top of the fourth, Kuhl threw eight straight balls to two batters that put runners on first and second with one out. Two hits later, the score was tied at three.
A one-out triple by Rosario was followed by a Ramirez home run and it was 5-4 Cleveland in the fifth inning. Josh Bell would strike again with his second double of the game, providing the final margin of victory.
Nats record 4-11.
Time of game: 2:55.
Game 3, NATS 7, Guardians 6
A one-two-three first inning for Patrick Corbin was a good omen. Corbin again was not helped by his defense but took in stride and settled in for his best outing of the season. In six innings, Corbin allowed two earned runs on five hits, no walks, and struck out four.
Jeimer Candelario went 4-5 with a HR and 2 RBI. Lane Thomas was 2 out of 4 with two doubles and two RBI.
The Nats put up a single run in each of the first three innings against Guardians ace Shane Bieber. Thomas led off the bottom of the first with a double came around to score on a single by Candelario. In the bottom of the second, Thomas stroked an RBI double, for his 20th hit of the season. He scored Stone Garrett who had also doubled. Candelario hit his team leading third home run with a line drive over the bullpen in right field.
Josh Bell’s fourth double of the series gave Cleveland a 4-2 lead in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the seventh, Luis Garcia’s second home run of the series and the season made it a one run game. The dinger was crushed off the right field façade.
Stone Garrett, who singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, scored to tie the game on a Lane Thomas sac fly. Garrett was called out initially, but replays showed that Cleveland catcher Mike Zunino illegally blocked the plate. It also looked like Garrett was safe despite the catcher impingement. Why would any catcher get in the way of a guy named Stone who was rapidly approaching the dish?
Joey Meneses got the game winning single to right field scoring CJ Abrams who walked after a single by Garrett.
Hobie Harris gave up his first two runs of the season in relief. But Kyle Finnegan recorded his third save after he entered the game in the top half of the ninth inning. The DC defense sealed the deal. Thomas made an incredible diving catch in right field for the first out. The second out came when Alex Call crashed into the left field stands in foul territory. After a single by Myles Straw, Finnegan caught Steven Kwan looking at a called third strike to end the game.
Nats improve to 2-7 at home.
Nats overall record 5-11.
Time of game: 2:32.
Next up for the Nats. The Baltimore Orioles visit DC for the first installment of the “2023 MASN Baseball Classic” on Tuesday and Wednesday.