Left fielder Caleb Grindl tripled to left on a first-pitch fastball from 24-year-old right-hander Taylor Jordan in the Milwaukee Brewers' second and scored on an RBI groundout by Juan Francisco that made it a 3-1 game after three in the finale with the Washington Nationals in Miller Park in Wisconsin. The triple, a walk to Carlos Gomez with two down in the fourth and a harmless two-out double by Scooter Gennett in the fifth provided the only baserunners to reach base on the Nats' starter through five strong innings this afternoon, which he completed on just 71 pitches.
Adam LaRoche's second home run in two days gave the visiting Nationals a 4-1 lead after five and half in the Brewers' home, but things fell apart quickly in the bottom of the sixth inning. Logan Schafer singled through short on a 3-1 fastball from Jordan, Jean Segura doubled to right on a 2-1 heater and a five-pitch walk to Jonathan Lucroy loaded the bases with no one out. Carlos Gomez's sac fly to right brought in Milwaukee's second run of the game and ended Taylor Jordan's day after 85 pitches.
"Taylor was throwing a heck of a ballgame," Davey Johnson said after the game. "It seemed like he had them well in hand. I think he had 75 pitches going into the sixth inning and he just -- I don't know if it's just inexperience or whatever, but he just seemed to kind of lose it."
"I think I started running out of gas in the sixth inning," Jordan told reporters. "I think the balls were elevated a little bit. I was trying too hard. I think I lost a little bit of life. The balls started to cut a little bit, so..."
Davey Johnson went to the bullpen for left-hander Fernando Abad so Brewers' skipper Ron Roenicke went to his bench for right-handed hitter Khris Davis, who hit a high chopper over a drawn-in Ryan Zimmerman at third for an infield single that made it 4-3 Nats. A game-tying RBI double by Juan Francisco made it 4-4 and a two-run bloop single to center by Jeff Bianchi put the Brewers ahead 6-4 after six innings in Milwaukee.
The Nationals' manager was asked after the game why he'd gone with Abad over left-hander Ian Krol, who'd pitched in tight spots more often recently. "[Abad] had a little more rest," Johnson explained, "and I knew they were going to pinch hit for maybe one or maybe two [of the left-handed hitters] and he's had more success and he's held the right-handers down easier than Krol has. With the chopper over third, we could have been out of the inning."
Right-handers had a .237/.275/.395 line against Krol before today. Righties had a .237/.297/.271 line vs Abad before today. Johnson thought Abad pitched well enough in spite of the results.
"He made some good pitches, they just nicked him to death it's tough."
Milwaukee was all of a sudden up 6-4. Anthony Rendon hit a solo home run in the seventh to get Washington within one, but the Brewers added two more runs to take the series finale 8-5 and salvage the third game of the three-game set after dropping the first two to the visiting Nats.
"He's just very young," Johnson said of Taylor Jordan when he was asked how things got out of hand so quickly in the sixth. "That's what you have to deal with with young pitchers. But he handled himself well. I thought he threw the ball great until that sixth inning."
"I was feeling good," Jordan said, "everything seemed to be working just how I wanted it and the sixth inning came around and something changed."
"There [were] a lot of tough breaks that inning," the right-hander continued, "It's not like they were crushing the ball or anything. Just a couple tough breaks. Just got to battle through it or get through it."
"What did he end up? Close to 90 pitches?" Johnson asked reporters. "But he didn't make pitches and it looked like he was more like guiding the ball a little bit and I'm sure after he gave up the last out to the right-hander [Gomez], I'm sure he was probably out of gas. That was a tough one. And Abad, a little chopper and then the 'foul ball'... I mean, every kind of break you could think of happened."
Jordan's 5 1/3 innings of work today brought him up to 40 2/3 in the majors after 90 1/3 in the minors at High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg before he was called up in his first full-year back from Tommy John surgery in 2011. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo declined to offer any specifics on just how many innings the '09 9th Round pick had left this season when asked this past week on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s "Mike Rizzo Show."
Davey Johnson too declined to answer a question about Jordan's innings limit, telling a reporter after the loss to the Brewers, "It's not for today."
Jordan, however, answered a reporter's question and said he'd been told he has about four starts left. "Yeah. I've got like four more starts until I'm shut down, depending on my innings*."
"Four more including today's?" a reporter asked.
"Four more after today," Jordan said.
Asked for his thoughts on the impending shutdown, Jordan said simply, "I try not to think about it."
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