Nats Win First Series of Season at Frozen Target Field
Game 1: NATS 3, Twins 2
The weather in Minneapolis dropped to 37 degrees at game time. The low temperature qualified as the coldest game ever played by the Washington Nationals. That record would last less than 24 hours.
Following two straight shutouts at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Nationals scoreless streak continued until the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins. After 24 innings and zero runs, Joey Meneses’ first HR of the year got the Nats on the board in the top of the seventh and cut the Twins lead in half, 2-1.
In the visitor’s half of the eighth inning, the Nats took the lead for good on three consecutive hits, all with two outs. CJ Abrams started it with a hustle double. Lane Thomas knocked in Abrams and Thomas moved up to second base on the throw home. Keibert Ruiz scored Thomas and the Nats were on their way to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
Trevor Williams threw a much-needed quality start for the Nats. Williams went six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out four and lowered his ERA to 3.38. After a one-out walk, Williams struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth inning. Erasmo Ramirez (1-1) got the win in relief.
Kyle Finnegan earned his fourth save and has not given up a run in his last five appearances. Finnegan induced a game ending double play.
Nats improve to 6-13 on the season.
Time of game 2:33.
Game 2: NATS 10, Twins 4
The Nats played in their coldest game ever for the second day in a row. The mercury read 35 degrees, which was two degrees colder than the start of the prior night’s game.
Despite the frigid temperatures, Joey Meneses is heating up. Meneses doubled and knocked in two while going 4-6 on the afternoon. Joey raised his batting average by 32 points and is now hitting a more respectable .259.
With 15 hits, the entire Nats lineup caught fire too. In the Nats two-run first inning, their first four hitters reached base, but the next three struck out. Alex Call struck out three times in the game and his batting average fell below .200.
Robles turned a double into a triple while the Twins took their time getting the ball in from the outfield. Jeimer Candelario followed with an RBI sac fly to short center field. Michael A. Taylor’s throw was off the mark and Robles scored standing up.
CJ Abrams first home run as a National was a 3-run missile over the 23-foot fence in right field in the top of the seventh inning. The rout was on in favor of the Nats, 8-2.
Victor Robles’ second extra base hit of the day scored Riley Adams to make it 9-4 in the ninth. Jeimer Candelario knocked in Robles to finalize the Nats double digit score and secured their first series win for the season.
P Chad Kuhl had his best start as a National. After giving up at least 4 runs in each of his first three starts, he was charged with just one run. Kuhl went 3.2 innings but was lifted after throwing 96 pitches in the fourth inning. Kuhl started the game with a four-pitch walk. He walked another on four pitches but closed the inning with two strikeouts and no runs allowed. After a single, wild pitch, and a walk he was removed for Mason Thompson. Thompson was very effective again, striking out four in 2.1 innings while not giving up a run.
Reliever Anthony Banda entered the game for Washington in the ninth. CJ Abrams made an outstanding catch for the first out of the inning occurred when he caught up to a ball while running with his back to the diamond.
Three of the four Nats relievers were spotless. Hobie Harris was the lone exception giving up two runs in his inning.
Nats improve to 7-13 on the year and 5-4 on the road.
Time of game: 3:09.
Game 3: TWINS 3, Nationals 1
In the final game of the series, Patrick Corbin made his second consecutive quality start. (6 IP, 7H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). With a run already behind him, Corbin pitched a 1-2-3 first inning. But in the bottom of the fourth, the home run bug bit Corbin again as he gave up two dingers – one a 444-foot smack to former Nat Michael A. Taylor.
With a runner at first and two out in the top of the 2nd, Alex Call was flat out robbed of at least a double by Twins LF Willi Castro. The Nats defense featured another sensational catch by Stone Garrett in left field. Nats 3B Jeimer Candelario made a fielding error in the third inning, but it did not cost his team.
Victor Robles made an error – running the bases. On a bunt that stuck in the mud about an inch in front of home plate, Robles jogged with bat in hand to first base. Minnesota turned it into a double play. Robles responded with his glove and arm in the bottom of the eighth when he doubled up Castro at first base. After three double plays on Friday and one on Sunday, the Nats are second in the majors with 25 twin killings. The St. Louis Cardinals have turned 27 DPs but have played two more games than the Nats.
On the warmest game of the series (40 degrees!), the Nats bats went cold and only managed three hits.
Twins’ reliever Jhoan Duran over-powered the Nats 3-4-5 hitters in order in the ninth on just 11 pitches.
In winning the series at Minnesota, the Nats improved to .500 (5-5) on the road.
Nats fall to 7-14 on the season.
Time of game: 2:13.
Next up for the Nats. Off day on Monday then to Queens, NY to face the second place Mets (14-9) Mets for three before returning home to face the very surprising first place Pittsburg Pirates (currently 16-7) for three over the weekend.