#teamstrasbaton in Safeco Field Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Seattle Mariners' outfielders Austin Jackson and Dustin Ackley failed to communicate on a fly to left-center off Denard Span's bat and they got tangled up when they both went for it, so the Washington Nationals' leadoff man was gifted two bases in the first at bat of tonight's game in Safeco Field when they let the ball fall to the outfield grass. One out later, the error really hurt when Jayson Werth crushed a 2-2 fastball from Mariners' starter Roenis Elias, sending a two-run home run into Edgar's Cantina for a 2-0 lead early in the second game of the three-game interleague set.
Jose Lobaton was 2 for 2 vs Elias when he singled with one down in the fifth, and one out later he scored from first on Anthony Rendon's 34th double of the season. Rendon's two-out, two-base hit to left-center made it 3-0 Nats.
Stephen Strasburg was through 7 ⅔ scoreless when Dustin Ackley got hold of a 96 mph 2-2 fastball and sent it out to right field for a solo home run that ended the Nats' starter shutout bid and his night. 3-1 Nationals after Ackley's 10th.
That's how it ended...
4. Strasburg in Seattle: Stephen Strasburg looked like he was onto something.
In back-to-back starts against the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks, the 26-year-old right-hander busted hitters inside with his fastball and dominated on the mound, allowing just six hits, three walks and two runs, one earned over 15 innings pitched, earning wins in each outing.
His start against San Francisco last Sunday, however, was a step back.
The '09 no.1 overall pick was out after just four innings of work against the Giants on the mound in Nationals Park in which he gave up eight hits, two of them home runs, two walks and five runs, all earned.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said the command just wasn't there for Strasburg, and as talented as he is, if he can't locate his pitches he's going to get hit like anyone else.
"Everybody's got to be able to throw where they want to," Williams said.
"And if you don't, if you leave the ball in the middle of the plate, you have a chance to get it hit. And that was the case today. The last two outings, that wasn't the case, he threw really well and threw it exactly where he wanted to."
Strasburg received no decision when the Nationals rallied to beat the Giants in the series finale of that three-game set, so he remained (10-10) on the year after 28 starts.
In eight second-half starts before tonight's, Strasburg was (3-4) with a 3.93 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 14 walks (2.50 BB/9) and 53 Ks (9.48 K/9) in 50 ⅓ IP, over which opposing hitters have put up a combined .234/.291/.454 line against him.
After the rough, brief outing in the nation's capital, Strasburg was back on the road tonight, pitching against and in Seattle for the first time in his five-year major league career.
Away from Washington, D.C. this season, Strasburg was (2-8) in 13 starts heading into the second game of three in Safeco Field, with a 4.77 ERA, a 3.79 FIP and a .273/.330/.465 line against in 77 ⅓ IP.
His fourteenth start of the year on the road began with a groundout to third.
1st: Austin Jackson sent a grounder to third on the first pitch of the game. One down. Dustin Ackley lined to right in the next at bat, but Jayson Werth somehow tracked it down for out no.2. Robinson Cano's grounder to first ended a quick, five-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
WATCH: Jayson Werth is doing it all tonight, ladies & gentlemen: http://t.co/P48Mh37uUI— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 31, 2014
2nd: Kendrys Morales ripped a single by third to start the Mariners' second, but Bryce Harper played it well and threw it in quickly, to hold Morales to a single. Kyle Seager backed Denard Span up to the track in center with a well-struck out. Logan Morrison's swinging bunt died in the dirt in front of home, allowing Jose Lobaton to cut Morales down at second for out no.2. Chris Taylor grounded into a force at second in the next at bat, ending an 18-pitch second that left Strasburg at 23 total after two.
3rd: James Jones bunted the first pitch of the third right back to Strasburg. Jesus Sucre singled to center on a 97 mph 1-0 fastball. Austin Jackson stepped in with a runner on first and dumped a broken-bat single into short-center. Dustin Ackley sent a fly to center for out no.2, deep enough for Sucre to take third. Robinson Cano got a two-out RBI opportunity. Jackson stole second with Cano up, but the Mariners' second baseman took a 97 mph 1-2 fastball for a called strike three. 14-pitch frame, 37 total after three.
4th: Kendrys Morales fouled strike three into Jose Lobaton's mitt. Kyle Seager K'd swinging over a brutal 0-2 change. Logan Morrison K'd swinging through a 97 mph 0-2 fastball. 12-pitch, 1-2-3, 3 Ks. 49 pitches overall.
5th: Chris Taylor popped out to first. James Jones sent a chopper to short for out no.2. Jesus Sucre lined to left and off Bryce Harper's glove for a two-out single. Austin Jackson singled to center on a soft pop that dropped in. Dustin Ackley stepped in with two on and two out and K'd on a check swing on an 0-2 change. 17-pitch frame, 66 total after five innings.
6th: Robinson Cano spun himself into the dirt striking out on a 91 mph 1-2 change. Kendry Morales got the change two. Two outs, two Ks. Kyle Seager fell behind 0-2 quickly and popped out to short left to end a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth that left Strasburg at 78 pitches overall.
7th: Logan Morrison took a 96 mph 1-2 fastball for a called strike three. Chris Taylor popped to center for out no.2. James Jones' pop to left ended a seven-pitch frame. 85 pitches total.
8th: Jesus Sucre sent a fly to center for out no.1. Austin Jackson sent a fly to Jayson Werth in right. Dustin Ackley? Home run to right on a 96 mph 2-2 fastball. 3-1 Nationals.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 69 S, 6/7 GO/FO.
3. Roenis Elias: Four years after he defected from Cuba and three years after he signed a minor league deal with the Mariners, 26-year-old left-hander Roenis Elias made Seattle's rotation out of Spring Training earlier this year.
In 25 starts before tonight's, the 6'1'' southpaw was (9-11) with a 4.01 ERA, a 4.05 FIP, 58 walks (3.63 BB/9) and 132 Ks (8.27 K/9) in 143 ⅔ IP, over which he held right-handed hitters to a .249/.329/.395 line and left-handed hitters to a .202/.295/.351 line.
After putting up a 4.54 ERA, a 4.29 FIP and a .241/.319/.408 line against in 19 starts and 113 IP in the first half of his first major league campaign, Elias was off to strong start in the second half heading into tonight's outing, having put up a 2.05 ERA, a 3.16 FIP and a .212/.331/.301 line against in six starts and 30 ⅔ IP.
In the Nationals, he was facing a team that's hit left-handers well in 2014, with a .273/.334/.397 line on the year, good for 3rd in average league-wide, behind only the Rockies and Angels (tied at .276) and the Tigers (.283), fourth in OBP vs lefties, (behing the Astros' .335, the Braves' .337 and the Tigers and Angels, tied at .338) and 11th in SLG amongst major league teams.
At home in Safeco Field before tonight, Elias was (4-6) in 14 starts with a 4.32 ERA, a 3.81 FIP and a .233/.317/.378 line against in 77 IP.
His fifteenth start of the year in Seattle began with an error on a fly to left-center by Denard Span on which Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson got tangled up and let the ball fall to the grass.
One out later, the rookie lefty threw a 93 mph fastball to Jayson Werth that ended up in the balcony of Edgar's Cantina in left field. 2-0 Nats. 22-pitch frame for Elias.
Bryce Harper walked to start the top of the second, but was doubled up on a 5-4-3 off Wilson Ramos' bat. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Lobaton hit back-to-back, two-out singles off Elias, but Denard Span popped to short to end a 19-pitch second that left the lefty at 41 pitches overall.
A 14-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Elias at 55 pitches total.
Ian Desmond singled to start the fourth, but was forced out at second on a bunt by Bryce Harper, and Harper was doubled up on a grounder to second by Wilson Ramos. 10-pitch frame for Elias, 65 total.
Jose Lobaton was 2 for 2 tonight and 10 for 27 (.370 AVG) in August after he singled to short with one down in the fifth. One out later, he scored from first on a two-out double to left-center by Anthony Rendon, whose 34th two-base hit of the 2014 campaign made it 3-0 Nationals. 24-pitch fifth for Elias, 89 pitches overall.
Elias was up to 102 pitches after a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
• Roenis Elias' Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 63 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
2. Eleven?: Mariners' bench coach Trent Jewett was impressed with the power display the Nationals put on in the 8-3 win in Friday night's series opener in Seattle.
"It's a good lineup," Jewett, who coached with the Nationals from 2011-13 in various roles, said after the game during which he served as the Mariners' fill-in manager.
"It's one that's been tough on the entire league. It was tough on us tonight. Hopefully it's not as tough on us tomorrow."
The Nationals' win last night was their 10th in ten games against the Mariners since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005. They improved to 11-0 with a win in the second game of three in Safeco Field.
1. The Wrap-Up: Dominic Leone took over for the Mariners' in the seventh. Jose Lobaton singled with one down, leaving the backup backstop 3 for 3 tonight. Lobaton was forced out at second on a Denard Span grounder to second, and Anthony Rendon K'd swinging to end the top of the seventh.
Tom Wilhelmsen took the mound for the Mariners in the top of the eighth and gave up a one-out single by Adam LaRoche but nothing else.
Matt Thornton took over for Stephen Strasburg with two out in the eighth and got Robinson Cano looking to end the inning. 3-1 Nationals.
It was still 3-1 Nats after eight and a half...
Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano!
Rafael Soriano took the mound in the ninth with a 3-1 lead looking for save no.30 of 2014. Kendry Morales backed Bryce Harper up to the track where the Nats' left field caught out no.1. ONE! Kyle Seager took a 1-1 pitch back up the middle for a one-out single. Logan Morrison fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 fastball knee-high outside for a called strike three. Endy Chavez stepped in with one on and two out singled to center to send Seager around to third. James Jones? Groundout to second. Ballgame.
Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!
Nationals now 76-57