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Washington Nationals drop 5-3 decision to San Francisco Giants: Reynaldo Lopez struggles in 2nd MLB start

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Reynaldo Lopez struggled with his command, walking five in four innings of work, and the Washington Nationals dropped 5-3 decision to the San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked Reynaldo Lopez up in an MLB Network Radio interview before the 22-year-old right-hander made his MLB debut earlier this month against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"He's really throwing a lot of good strikes this year,” Rizzo said.

“That was the one improvement that he has made. He's kind of mastered each level so far. He's pitching extremely well at Triple-A."

"He's got electric stuff. He's mid-to-upper 90s with a power curveball and a good change-up. He throws a lot of strikes right now. He's got -- I would describe it as 'general command' right now -- he's throws the ball over the plate, but he's not a pinpoint guy.

“But for a six-footer, he gets a good down-angle for a six-foot guy, and really he's pitching as a starter at 95-97 mph."

Lopez averaged 96.3 MPH with his fastball in his debut, but the Dodgers knocked him around for 10 hits and six runs before he was done for the day. He did, however, strike out nine batters while he was on the mound.

This afternoon in AT&T Park, he made his second major league start in the third game of the Nationals’ four-game set with the San Francisco Giants, giving up three runs on four hits and five walks in just four innings of work in what ended up a 5-3 loss in which he received no decision.

Lopez worked his way out of a jam of his own creation in the Giants’ half of the second, popping up Eduardo Nunez (who stepped in with a .307 AVG w/ RISP this season) after giving up a double and two walks (one to the opposing pitcher) to load the bases.

A half-inning later, Lopez had a lead to work with...

Bryce Harper took a two-out walk in the top of the third on a questionable ball four called by home plate ump Chad Fairchild that both Giants’ starter Jake Peavy and San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy objected to, and Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run home run to left on a hanging 0-1 cutter in the next at bat, 2-0 Nats.

Ryan Zimmerman singled to start the fourth and scored on Danny Espinosa’s 12th double of the year, which bounced off the left field fence. 3-0 Nationals after three and a half.

Nunez got another shot at Lopez with the bases loaded in the fourth, after the right-hander gave up a walk, single and base-loading, one-out free pass, and the new addition to the Giants’ lineup came through with a two-run double to center, 3-2, which was followed by an RBI groundout by Angel Pagan as the Giants rallied to tie it, 3-3.

Reynaldo Lopez vs SFG: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 92 P, 51 S, 2/3 GO/FO.

Yusmeiro Petit came on to face his former team in the fifth and tossed two scoreless before he ran into trouble in the seventh.

Buster Posey singled with one down and moved up on a walk by Hunter Pence and a single by Brandon Belt before scoring on a sac fly to right by Joe Panik that put the Giants up, 4-3.

Oliver Perez issued a base-loading walk after coming on for Petit, and Blake Treinen walked in a run to make it 5-3 Giants.

Sergio Romo tossed a scoreless eighth, with help from Buster Posey, who threw Bryce Harper out at second after Harper took a leadoff walk and tried to steal a base.

Santiago Casilla worked a scoreless ninth to end it, 5-3 Giants. One more in AT&T tomorrow afternoon.

Nationals now 61-43

NATS NOTES:

  • With wins in the first two of four in San Francisco, Washington improved to 38-35 all-time vs the Giants, with the Nationals 18-10 against the NL West powerhouse since 2012.
  • San Francisco had dropped three straight overall heading into this afternoon’s matchup with the Nationals, and the Giants were 2-11 overall since the All-Star Break after the back-to-back losses to Washington.
  • Entering play this afternoon, the Nationals had the second-best record in the NL (61-42), ahead of the Giants (59-44) and behind on the Chicago Cubs (62-40).
  • The Giants’ rough start to the “second-half” cost them 5.5 games in the NL West with the Los Angeles Dodgers just 1.0-game back heading into plat doay.
  • Washington was ranked second in the majors in run differential too, at +116, behind only Chicago again (+166)
  • Jayson Werth walked in the second inning last night, extending his on-base streak to 32 games, over which he had 27 hits, 25 walks and a .387 OBP.
  • Hunter Pence returned the Giants’ lineup today after missing 48 games with a strained right hamstring. He went 10 for 24 (.417 AVG) in seven rehab games.
  • In today’s Giants-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment:
  • The Nationals started the day in the Top 5 in the NL in home runs (2nd, 138), walks (4th, 364), runs scored (4th, 479) and stolen bases (5th, 73)
  • Washington’s starters had a MLB-leading 665 Ks before today, and the second-lowest ERA as a group (3.34).
  • Nationals’ relievers’ collective 3.02 ERA was the lowest in the majors heading into this afternoon’s game.

Nationals now 61-43