The Washington Nationals played the second game of their set with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday evening. The Nationals were hoping to right their ship and play better than they did in the opening game, which was a defensive nightmare. Their defensive miscues and free base runners gave the game away to the Red Sox again, causing the Nats to lose 8-7 on a seventh inning meltdown.
Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nationals. Justin Masterson was the starting pitcher for the Red Sox. Strasburg did not have his changeup or curve working in this one. It got to the point that Strasburg was throwing nothing but fastballs, and that is death against a team like the Red Sox. Strasburg was bled to death on singles and doubles, most of which were hit with two outs or with batters behind in the count.
The Nationals scored first, plating a run in the second inning. Ian Desmond doubled and Danny Espinosa walked. In an attempted double steal, Desmond was out at third but Espinosa was safe at second. Michael Taylor, batting ninth, singled up the middle to drive in Espinosa. Taylor stole second during Yunel Escobar’s at bat, but was stranded there.
The Red Sox immediately answered in the top of the third. Mike Napoli hit a lead off single. Strasburg got the next two batters, but then allowed a single to Brock Holt. Mookie Betts doubled to drive in two runs. Then, Dustin Pedroia grounded out to end the inning, but the Sox were ahead 2-1.
The Sox added on in the fourth inning. Hanley Ramirez singled and Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch. Napoli hit a ground ball and the Nats were able to get Sandoval out at second, leaving runners on the corners. Daniel Nava singled to right field, scoring Ramirez from third. A single by Ryan Hanigan scored Nava and extended the Red Sox lead to 4-1. Pedroia hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth to pad the Sox lead to 5-1.
The Nats came roaring back in the top of the fifth inning with the best offensive inning they have had all season so far. After Escobar was out, Jayson Werth was hit by a pitch. Harper singled and Ryan Zimmerman walked. With the bases loaded, DH Clint Robinson singled to right to drive in Werth.
Wilson Ramos hit a slow roller in the infield which only gave the Sox the choice to throw Ramos out at first. That allowed Harper to score and the other runners to move up. Desmond singled to drive in two more runs and the score was tied. Espinosa was hit by a pitch from Masterson to put another Nat on base.
Masterson’s night was done and reliever Alexi Ogando was brought in to try bring the top of the fifth inning to an end. Taylor tripled off the right field wall to drive in Desmond and Espinosa to give the Nats the lead 7-5. Escobar struck out to strand Taylor at third, but the Nats had scored six runs in the inning, the most they have scored in an inning this year.
Strasburg went 5.1 innings tonight. He got the first out of the sixth inning, but allowed a single to Nava and was lifted for Craig Stammen. He induced a fielder’s choice to Betts. With Pedroia batting, Betts stole second. Pedroia drew a walk and Matt Williams elected to go to Matt Thornton to face the left handed David Ortiz. Ortiz would ground out to end the inning
In the bottom of the seventh, Desmond committed his sixth error of the year on a ground ball by Ramirez that should have been an out. Thornton then hit Shane Victorino to put two on and nobody out. Napoli flew out to right, and Ramirez went to third. Allen Craig was put in to pinch hit against Thornton, causing Williams to counter by bringing in Blake Treinen to pitch to Craig.
Treinen had no time to warm up before being brought into the game and proceeded to hit Craig with the first pitch he threw to load the bases. Then, Hanigan hit a tapper back to the mound. Treinen dropped the ball, but still had time to throw home. However, he would rush the throw and throw it past Ramos, allowing two runs to score that tied the game at seven.
The next batter, Brock Holt hit a ball to Desmond, who threw him out at first, but Craig scored from third to put the Sox up 8-7. Betts grounded out to end the inning and the Nats found themselves behind again due to errors and hit batters. The Red Sox scored three runs without getting a hit.
The Nationals could not push a run across in the next two innings and the score remained 8-7 in favor of the Red Sox. Ryan Zimmerman came very close to tying the game in the top of the ninth, when he hit a ball to the left of the pole in left field that was just foul.
Next Game: The Nationals finish their series against the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon with game time at 1:35 pm EST. You can watch the game on MASN. Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 4.26 ERA) is the scheduled pitcher for the Nationals, while the Red Sox will send Wade Miley (0-0, 3.38 ERA) to the hill.