Every night, the Washington Nationals take the field in hopes that they can finally put their August struggles behind them and get their season back on track. But, every night, the team’s disastrous month of August gets worse and worse, and the hole they’ve dug themselves into gets bigger and bigger.
Friday night was supposed to be different, with $210 million ace Max Scherzer on the mound. The Nationals had also tweaked the lineup prior to the game, benching the struggling bats of Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.
Despite all that, Friday night was much of the same for the Nationals. The team fell behind early and was never able to complete its comeback, falling to the San Francisco Giants, 8-5, and losing their fourth game in a row.
For a brief moment, things looked good for the Nationals as the team took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper. But shortly thereafter, the Giants took control and kept it, handing Scherzer one of the worst outings of his career.
Scherzer struggled all night, allowing six runs on seven hits in just three innings of work. He struck out only three batters, and saw his ERA inflate to 2.73—over half a run higher than it was just two weeks ago.
The Giants got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning, when Matt Duffy hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1. San Francisco scored four more runs in the second inning thanks to RBI doubles by Justin Maxwell, Gregor Blanco and Duffy, making it a 5-1 game. The Giants scored their sixth run off Scherzer an inning later, when a solo home run off the bat of Hunter Pence made it a 6-1 game.
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Trailing by five, the Nationals began to mount a promising comeback. Danny Espinosa cut the giants’ lead to 6-2 with a solo homer in the fifth inning. Later in the inning, Harper hit the first pitch he saw from Giants starter Matt Cain and launched it over the wall in right-center field for a three-run homer. It was Harper’s 30th blast of the season, and it trimmed the deficit to just one run.
Unfortunately for Washington, that was all the offense the team could muster against San Francisco pitching. The Giants tacked on two more runs later in the game, securing their 8-5 win over the Nationals.
There are still five games left in the road trip, and the Nationals will continue to hope that a turnaround is coming. But tonight wasn’t the night, and rock bottom just keeps getting deeper.
Next Game: Gio Gonzalez looks to continue his recent string of dominance and get the Nationals back on track tomorrow night in San Francisco. The Giants, who are going for a series win over the Nationals, will counter with right-hander Jake Peavy. First pitch is set for 10:05 p.m. ET.