Dusty Baker needed six pitchers to get through last night’s game after Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer was scratched and placed on the 10-Day DL with what ended up being called left neck inflammation.
Matt Grace, Shawn Kelley, Joe Blanton, Oliver Perez, Matt Albers, and Sammy Solis got the Nationals through the game and the offense produced seven runs on nine hits in a 7-1 win.
Howie Kendrick went 2 for 5 with a home run in the first at bat of the game, all but one of the players (Matt Wieters - 0 for 3, BB, R) in the starting lineup connected for hits, and the Nationals came up big on defense to ease the burden on the bullpen.
Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to bring a potential home run back into the yard, and was ranging all over the outfield. Andrew Stevenson made a running catch in right field, Anthony Rendon showed off his arm at third base on an inning-ending play in the third, and the Nats turned two 5-4-3 double plays on the way to the win.
“We played some great defense, especially some outfield defense,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the game, “and we turned some key double plays.”
“Those guys out there, I mean, Michael made a couple great plays, Stevenson made a couple great plays out there, so any time you play defense, that certainly helps your pitchers, and I’m big on defense and those guys certainly came through tonight.”
An overall team effort gave the Nats their second straight win over the Padres and their seventh in the last ten as they’ve opened up a 14.0-game lead in the NL East.
“Just great to see everybody contribute,” Baker said on a night when he needed all of the help the Nationals could get from their lineup and relievers.
“All of them threw the ball well,” he added. “We had plenty of offense to go around. We just played a very good game tonight.”
Baker’s Nationals try to make it three straight tonight with Stephen Strasburg on the mound in his return from the DL.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE 3RD OF 4 WITH THE PADRES IN PETCO:
Updated - #Nats at #Padres: Stevenson RF, Sanchez SS, Rendon 3B, Zimmerman 1B, Kendrick 2B, Taylor CF, De Aza LF, Lobaton C, Strasburg RHP— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 19, 2017