The Washington Nationals offense came alive, Joe Ross pitched well, and the ball club got off the two-game skid with a 7-2 victory in Milwaukee Saturday afternoon. It was a big win for a team that needed something big, and hopefully the start of another hot streak for a team that’s fallen back into second behind the Mets.
Washington got the scoring in the top of the first with three straight singles. Anthony Rendon got the rally started, reaching with one out. Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper quickly followed, and the Nationals held an early 1-0 lead.
Joe Ross would temporarily cough up that lead in the bottom of the second. After Adam Lind led off the inning with a single, moving to second on a wild pitch and third on a ground out, he came in to score when Jean Segura beat out a throw to first from Escobar on a grounder to third. Segura would score from first when Scooter Gennett crushed a double deep into the right field gap, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
The Nats would take the lead right back, though. In the top of the third, Rendon once again served as the catalyst, this time by drawing a one-out walk. Escobar followed with a home run that he absolutely crushed over the wall in center. After three innings, the Nats once again held a one-run lead.
But unlike so many games in their recent skid, the Nats offense was not yet done. They added three more in the top of the fifth, two of which came on a two-run jack by Wilson Ramos. The other came when Danny Espinosa scored on a two-out RBI single by Michael Taylor.
Washington would stretch the lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth. With Denard Span and Anthony Rendon on second and first, Bryce Harper collected his second RBI of the day with a single into right field. The lead was five, and Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson was done for the day.
Joe Ross, on the other hand, seemed as if he was just getting started. After giving up 3 ER over five innings in his Major League debut, Ross threw a gem on Saturday. He finished with just two runs on seven hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. If he can continue to pitch effectively, it bodes well for the Nats, who are still waiting on Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg to return from injuries.
After Ross finished the eighth, Casey Janssen managed to finish off the game without much trouble, and the Nats walked away with a 7-2 victory. The win moves the Nats back to two games over .500. Sunday, they’ll send out Max Scherzer (6-5, 2.13 ERA) to face off against Taylor Jungmann (1-0, 1.29 ERA).
- Bryce Harper left the game in the top of the ninth after catching a pitch on his back knee. He was able to leave on his own power, but the hit didn’t look particularly pleasant. Hopefully, the injury isn’t anything serious and Harper doesn’t miss any significant time.
- In what might qualify as the strangest move of Matt Williams’ brief tenure as manager, he penciled Danny Espinosa in at first base. While the move makes sense from an offensive standpoint, getting in as many of your good hitters in the game as you can, the move is confounding from a defensive perspective. While Espinosa acquitted himself nicely on Saturday, using this strategy for the long term seems dangerous.