Nationals end First Half on High Note

Nats Create Good Vibes at the Break

The Washington Nationals ended the first half of the season on a high note. The Nats took two of three games from the first-place Texas Rangers.  It was their first home series win since May 19-21.  The Nats won four of their last five series before the all-star break.  See below for more good vibes to build on during the next 72 games. 

GAME 1: RANGERS 7, Nationals 2

Joey Meneses did his best to keep his team in this game.  Meneses (2-4) homered in the first and sixth innings.  Although he doubled his season output of HRs to four, he only knocked in himself twice.  CJ Abrams batted leadoff for the Nats and responded with a hit and a walk in his new slot. 

The Nats managed to hit as many home runs (2) and stolen bases (1) as their opponents, but not where it counted most.  Texas outhit the Nats 10-6 and pulled away in the late innings.

Trevor Williams (L, 5-5) got the start for the Nats. Williams came into the game with three wins in his last five appearances.  He gave up four runs in six innings and the Nats had a chance down, 4-2 when he exited.  Joan Adon, just called up from Rochester, got drilled for three runs on two home runs in the last three innings. 

GAME 2: NATIONALS 8, Rangers 3

They say the ball carries more in DC when the dog days of summer arrive.  Or maybe Happy Potter Day had something to do with it?  On a hot and sticky late afternoon, Jeimer Candelario belted a first inning three-run home run.  Joey Menses (2-4) followed with another long ball only three pitches later.  In the second, Alex Call hit a two-run homer to straightaway center to extend the Nats lead to 6-0.  Meneses then doubled home Lane Thomas and it was 7-0 Nats after two innings.

The Nats weren’t finished scoring.  Luis Garcia (2-3, 2R) hit a little-league-inside-the-park home run.  Garcia drove a ball to Rangers RF Adolis García, who then kicked the ball into the right field corner as he tried to block the ball from getting past him.  Luis scored on an errant throw to third base.    

Jake Irvin (W, 2-5) had some nice breathing room before the rain came after three innings of play.  After a rain dela of 1:17, Irvin came back out for the 4th inning and got six more outs.  He gave up two runs, but his grit and determination enabled Irvin to win his second career game in the big leagues. 

After Jordan Weems gave up a solo shot in two innings of relief, Kyle Finnegan made heavy use of a nasty splitter to strike out Jonah Heim to end the 8th frame.  Amos Willingham pitched a perfect ninth for Washington.

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GAME 3: NATIONALS 7, Rangers 2

In the rubber match, Patrick Corbin struck out the first four all-star batters he faced. 

Corbin (W, 6-10) went seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits.  For a pitcher who has given up the most hits (135) in MLB this year, this meant good progress for Patty Ice. 

Kyle Finnegan got another key out in the eighth.  In a scoreless ninth inning, Hunter Harvey gave up two hits but secured the series winning victory.

The Nats popped three more home runs thanks to Dominic Smith (1-3, 2R), Joey Meneses, and Stone Garrett.  For Meneses, it was his fourth homer in the three-game series. 

CJ Abrams (3-5) might have found a home hitting in the leadoff spot.  In the series, he went 6-12 and brough his average up to a more palatable .245.  Keibert Ruiz and Luis Garcia also had multiple hits for the Nats.

Nats record at the ninety-game mark:  36-54.  That is a six-game improvement compared to the same point in 2022.  But the 15-32 home record so far this year is only one game better than the 14-33 after the same number of games played last year.

Next Up for the DC9: After the All-Star game, the Nationals will head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals in a three-game weekend set. At 38-52, the last-place Cards are just two games better than Washington.

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Dominic Toto

Blogging about the Nats since 2022. Nats nut since 2004. Once hit a batting practice ball that cleared the infield dirt at Nationals Park. On a fly.

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