Davey Martinez’s Washington Nationals were 23-10 in May and June going into the series finale with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon, with wins in 10 of their last 14, while Bruce Bochy’s Giants had won seven of their last 10, including the series opener of this weekend’s three-game set in D.C.
After the Nats evened things up with a win on Saturday, it was the visiting Giants who walked away with two out of three, taking the rubber match 2-0 to win their first series in the nation’s capital since 2010.
Derek Holland (5.0, 3 H, 0 ER) and Brandon Crawford (4 for 4, 2 2B, 2-run HR) led the Giants to the win, but the Nationals’ offense coming up empty was the bigger issue.
“We couldn’t get nothing going,” Martinez explained. “Holland threw pretty good, mixed his pitches up well, just couldn’t get really nothing going.”
The Nats’ first-year skipper was asked what he thought his players needed to do in order to get more consistent offensive output.
“For me it’s, like I’ve said, take our walks,” Martinez said, “... and if you noticed yesterday, we hit a lot of balls in the middle of the field, which was kind of nice to see, but other than that, I mean, sometimes you’ve got tip your hat to the other guy too.
“Holland kept us off-balance, his changeup was good, mixed his pitches up really well, so it’s one of those days.”
The few times the Nationals did start to put something together, things fell apart, with a 5-3 double play off Michael A. Taylor’s bat after back-to-back singles started the second, a pick at first after Trea Turner reached base in front of Bryce Harper in the third, a grounder from Max Scherzer in the fifth to end a two-on, two-out rally, and an out at second base in the seventh when Taylor walked and tried to put himself in scoring position but was caught stealing when his foot slipped off the bag.
“We’re trying to play aggressive,” Martinez said, “... and that one, Trea, he thought [Holland] balked, but he didn’t, and then Michael had the base stolen, he just came off the base, but we want to be aggressive.”
With the loss, the Nationals are now 15-16 at home in the nation’s capital this season, but now they head back on the road, where they’re 21-11 so far in 2018.
Up next, it’s two with New York’s Yankees, then three in Toronto before the Nationals return home to finish the series with the Yankees that was rained out last month, and play the final three with Baltimore in this year’s Battle of the Beltways.