Washington Nationals Recap: Pitching lets team down as Nats lose fifth straight

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Gio Gonzalez came into this game having had excellent outings in his last six starts. The hope was that Gio could do it again and get the Washington Nationals a desperately needed win. It didn’t work out that way, as the Nationals lost to the Giants by the score of 12-6.

For the second game in a row, the Nationals scored runs, but the pitching from the starters and the bullpen let the team down.

Matt Williams made more lineup changes. Yunel Escobar batted clean up. Jayson Werth batted seventh in the order. Michael Taylor hit in the lead off position.

Jake Peavy wasn’t particularly sharp, but the Nationals were unable to take advantage of it.

The Nationals scored in the top of the first. Bryce Harper drew a two out walk. Escobar, batting cleanup, hit a ball over Hunter Pence’s head for a double, scoring Harper.

Ian Desmond increased the Nats lead in the top of the second with a mammoth solo home run estimated to have gone 470 feet. Werth singled, but Lobaton hit into a double play. Gonzalez kept the inning going with a single, followed with a bunt single from Michael Taylor. Anthony Rendon got unlucky when, with two strikes, a pitch hit the knob of his bat and was caught by Giants catcher Hector Sanchez for the third strike.

The Nats continued to get runners on the bases in the third inning and got nothing out of it. Courtesy of a walk by Peavy and an error on a ball hit to Brandon Belt by Desmond, the Nats had runners on second and third with two out. Werth popped up the first pitch he saw for the final out of the inning.

Kelby Tomlinson got the first hit of the game for the Giants, a lead off triple. Gio then walked Sanchez (a .163 hitter) to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Gonzalez then walked Peavy to load the bases. Steve McCatty went out to talk to Gonzalez and was ejected by home plate umpire Cory Blazer when he went to the mound to break up the conference and McCatty said something to him and walked off the mound. By the time he got to the foul line he had been tossed.

Gregor Blanco, who is always a major problem for the Nationals pitchers, was next up. He singled to score Tomlinson. The bases were still loaded with nobody out. A three run double by Matt Duffy cleared the bases and put the Giants ahead 4-2. Belt singled to drive in Duffy and went to second on the throw home.

Williams finally sent Tanner Roark to the bullpen at this point to warm up. Escobar robbed Posey of a hit to get the first out of the inning. Werth robbed Pence on a fine catch on a low liner to left for the second out. Brandon Crawford hit a single to center scoring Belt. That was it for Gonzalez. He left with the score 6-2 in favor of the Giants.

Roark faced Tomlinson, who started the batting in the inning for the Giants. He ground out to end the inning. The Nationals were in a hole and were going to have to try to find a way to crawl out.

When the baseball gods aren’t on your side, nothing goes your way. In the top of the fifth with Harper on first, Escobar hit a ball that deflected off the mound right to Crawford at short who was able to turn the double play and end the inning.

Buster Posey added to the Giants lead by doubling with Belt on first, who came around to score. Belt had been walked by Roark. To this point the Nationals pitchers had walked three batters and all three had crossed home plate. The decision was made to intentionally walk Crawford to pitch to Tomlinson. Given how this game had been going, walking Crawford didn’t work out. Tomlinson doubled to drive in Posey and Crawford, making the score 9-2.

The Nationals finally scored more runs in the top of the sixth. Clint Robinson struck out, but then Desmond singled and Werth walked. Lobaton doubled to score Ian and Jayson. Ryan Zimmerman, pinch hitting for Roark, grounded out. Taylor tripled to score Lobaton. That was the end of Peavy’s outing with the score 9-5.

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George Kontos got Rendon to fly out to end the inning and strand Taylor at third. Kontos pitched a scoreless seventh.

Felipe Rivero came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth for the Nationals. Blanco got another hit, who then stole second. Belt doubled to score Blanco to make the score 10-5. Rivero got all three right handed hitters out, and could not get any of the lefties. This was not the plan for the left-handed reliever who was sent in to get the lefties out.

Harper fouled a ball off his ankle in the top of the seventh and left the game in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Moore came in to play left field and Werth moved to right. Rivero stayed in as the pitcher. The Nats defense made an amazing play in the inning. Crawford hit a ball toward first, which deflected off Robinson. Rendon got the deflected ball and threw it to Rivero covering first, who dove to get the ball and got the out.

Drew Storen pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Nationals. Blanco got his third hit of the night. Duffy doubled to score Blanco to make the score 11-5. Duffy went to third on an error by Robinson that allowed Juan Perez to reach first base. Posey singled to score Duffy, and the score was 12-5. Storen threw 25 pitches in a non-hold situation. Hopefully this will not mean he is unavailable tomorrow if needed.

Danny Espinosa led off the top of the ninth pinch hitting, and hit a home run off Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit to make the score 10-6.

Next Game: The Nationals finish their series with the Giants tomorrow, with the game starting at 4:05 pm EST. Scheduled starters are Joe Ross (3-4, 3.44 ERA) for the Nationals and Madison Bumgarner (13-6, 3.15 ERA) for the Giants.

Next: Why The Nats Should Consider Hiring Dave Dombrowski

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