Sweep-less in Seattle
Nats Go Sweep-less in Seattle
Apparently, the Washington Nationals have not swept anybody in a long time. Who cares? They still took two out of three games against the Seattle Mariners during the last week. That resulted in the Nats second road series victory in a row.
Game 1: MARINERS 8, Nationals 4
The Nationals scored a single run in each of the first three innings. Lane Thomas (2-5, 2 RBI) homered for the fourteenth time this season and for the third time leading off a game. Unfortunately, J.P. Crawford did the same for the M’s in the bottom half of the first against Nats starter Trevor Williams. Dom Smith (2-3) hit his third home run of the season in the top of the second. But Washington wouldn’t score another until the ninth.
After four innings, the game was tied at three all. Enter Cory Abbott (L, 0-1) who took over for Williams. Dom Smith thought he saw someone covering first base in the bottom of the fifth. But it was a “phantom” teammate in the form of the first base umpire and the ball got away. Seattle would go on to score three in the inning and never looked back.
Williams and Abbott gave up eight runs total and struck out nine Mariners in this game. But the Nats outdid themselves and struck out 12 times. The never-say-die Nationals scored a run and loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs, Jeimer Candelario struck out looking to end the game. The called strike showed up on the TV strike box about a quarter foot out of the strike zone.
GAME 2: NATIONALS 7, Mariners 4 (11 innings)
The Nats scored their first run on a wild pick attempt in the top of the first. After singling with two outs, Jeimer Candelario looked to be caught by a mile on an attempt to steal second. But M’s pitcher Bryan Woo through way down the right field line and the “Candy Man” circled the bases.
Jake Irvin served up a two-run HR to Teoscar Hernandez in the bottom of the first inning and Seattle took a 2-1 lead. Irvin came within an out of a quality start. He lasted until two outs in the sixth inning with the Nats down 3-2. Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey pitched three innings of shoutout baseball and got the Nats into extra innings tied at four.
Extra innings would not have been possible without a clutch home run from Keibert Ruiz (2-5) in the top of the eighth inning. The Nats rallied for three runs in their half of the eleventh. Lane Thomas (2-5) drove in two on a ground ball double to right field. Luis Garcia (2-5) drove in Thomas for the final tally of the game.
Jordan Weems (W, 1-0) replaced Harvey in the 10th. Given a runner placed on second base, Weems then intentionally walked J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodriguez unintentionally to load the bases.
After a mound visit, Nationals pitching coach Jim Hickey was ejected by HP umpire Brennan Miller as he headed back to the dugout. That seemed to fire up Weems who induced a popout, strikeout, and groundout back to the mound. Jordan didn’t allow a hit in the 11th inning either and struck out the last two batters of the game looking.
Game 3: NATIONALS 4, Mariners 1
For the fifth game in a row, the Nationals scored a run in the first inning. Keibert Ruiz (2-3) batted in half of the Nats runs. Jeimer Candelario (1-3) hit his 26th double of the year and drove in his 38th run. But the headliner of this game was Patrick Corbin.
For the first time since July 7, 2019, Corbin allowed no runs in seven innings. He struck out a season high nine batters and did not allow a walk.
It appeared that Amos Willingham struck out his first batter he ever faced in the big leagues, but the home plate umpire didn’t see it that way. Jose Caballero hit a line drive home run over the left field fence on the very next pitch. But Amos regrouped and retired the next three batters.
Hunter Harvey earned his sixth save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.
Now and the Future
Willingham made his MLB debut in the eighth. In 20 games in AA and AAA, Willingham went 4-1 with an ERA of 1.90. In 23.2 innings, he struck out 25 and walked nine. Amos saved five games in six chances. He allowed one dinger and kept his opponents’ batting average below the Mendoza line (.198).
Jackson Rutledge, the Nats first round pick in 2019, got moved up to AAA Rochester. At AA Harrisburg, Rutledge made 12 starts and went 6-1 with an ERA of 3.16. He logged 68.1 innings with a strikeout to walk ratio of 62:25.
Nationals Player Development announced that James Wood and Brady House would play in the All-Star Futures Game on Saturday, July 8, at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.
The Nats record improved to 32-48. On the road: 19-21. These District Nats are now 8-3 all-time in the state of Washington and 16-6 against the Mariners.
Up next for the DC9: After a “happy flight” to Philadelphia on their off day, the Nats play the third place Phillies (42-37) for three games. Philly have won three in a row and seven of their last 10 games.