Nats Motor by Detroit, Win Home Series
The Washington Nationals won the last two games of a three-games series versus the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. After losing their fourth game in a row on Friday night, the Nats righted the ship and won their second series out of the last four.
Game 1: TIGERS 8, Nats 6
In a game that featured two of the lowest homerun-hitting teams, the Tigers led off the game with a home run against Nats right-handed starting pitcher, Jake Irvin (1-2, 5.50 ERA).
Irvin got battered. He could not get out of the third inning and got smashed for six runs after giving up two home runs and four walks. Four of the six runs were earned, but one of two critical errors belonged to Irvin. Luis Garcia committed the other fielding blunder, his first of the season for the Nationals.
Hobie Harris and Thad Ward combined for the next 4.1 innings, and each gave up a solo homer. Andres Machado pitched a clean eighth and ninth for Washington as he lowered his ERA to 3.65.
The Nats were no-hit through five innings. And after 5.5 innings, it was 8-0 Tigers. The no-hit bid was busted after Keibert Ruiz snapped an 0-15 skid with a “stadium lights” double. (As Nats radio broadcaster Dave Jageler noted the Nats franchise has not been no-hit since David Cone’s perfecto in 1999 against the Montreal Expos. That qualifies for the second longest streak without being no-hit. The Oakland Athletics own the longest streak. In July 1991, the Baltimore Orioles used four pitchers to pull it off against the A’s on the road.)
The next batter, CJ Abrams, broke an 0-12 slump with another double that scored Ruiz with the first run of the game for DC. With two more hits, the Nats would score a total of three runs in the sixth. Lane Thomas cleared the bases with his sixth home run (2 run HR)– all in the month of May. But the Nats were still down 8-3. In the bottom of the seventh, Dominic Smith scored on a wild pitch. Keibert Ruiz clubbed a two-run homer moments later and the Nats got within two runs at 8-6. Game on, but that’s how it ended.
The Nats comeback effort, although not fully successful, paved the way for the next two victories on Saturday and Sunday.
Time of game: 2:47.
Game 2: NATS 5, Tigers 2
Patrick Corbin ran into more first inning trouble when he gave up a two-run home run to Tigers 1B Spencer Torkelson. Corbin rebounded and earned the win and is now 3-5 on the year. His ERA of 4.47 is on the cusp of respectability. More impressive, Corbin made his fourth consecutive quality start and sixth in his last seven appearances.
Patrick went six innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter for the third time in four starts. Corbin’s 1,500th career strikeout ended his afternoon on the mound.
Jeimer Candelario (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R) got it started for the Nats with his sixth homer in the fourth. An inning later, Lane Thomas (3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R) muscled a two-RBI single into center field and the Nats took the lead 3-2.
Keibert Ruiz (1-3, RBI) knocked home Corey Dickerson (1-3) in the sixth inning. But Ruiz tried to advance to second base on the throw home and failed. Candelario’s double in the bottom of the eighth provided the final run and a three-run cushion for the Nats.
Carl Edwards Jr. and Hunter Harvey held the game for Corbin. Kyle Finnegan recorded his ninth save in 11 tries by way of a 1-2-3 ninth inning to even the series.
Time of game: 2:03.
Attendance: 31,721 (thanks to nice weather and a “galactic” themed shirt giveaway).
Game 3: NATS 6, Tigers 4
Josiah Gray’s day game ERA is almost a full run higher than at night (3.10 vs 2.20). Gray struggled with his command as he walked six batters in five innings. But Gray (4-5) battled and earned his fourth win as his club provided solid early run support.
Following Gray, Nats reliever Andres Machado didn’t have it. The Tigers scored two runs off Machado who managed to get only one out in the sixth. Nats manager Dave Martinez called on Kyle Finnegan to enter a high-risk situation. Finnegan had it and rewarded his manager with his second hold of the season. He pitched 1.2 innings giving up no hits, walked one, and struck out two.
Carl Edwards Jr. had it. Edwards pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the eighth inning. Hunter Harvey had it. Harvey earned his second save of the season as he struck out two batters during a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the deal for the Nationals.
Lane Thomas extended his on-base streak to 18 games. Jeimer Candelario and Riley Adams had four hits each. Joey Meneses went three for five with a run batted in.
A couple of Nats reserves homered in this game. One for Adams (4-4, 2 2B) filling in for Keibert Ruiz and a first homer of the year for Ildemaro Vargas (2-4, 2 RBI) subbing in for CJ Abrams at short stop.
The Nats were 2-16 with runners in scoring position despite eighteen hits in the game. Fourteen of the Nats 18 hits went for singles. Every player in the Nats lineup got at least one hit except for Alex Call (0-5).
Time of game: 2:49.
The fifth place Nats are 20-27 on the season.
Next Up for the DC9: Monday is an off day. Juan Soto and the fourth place San Diego Padres (21-26 in the NL West) come in for a three-game set starting Tuesday.