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Nationals rally after three-run Blue Jays’ 7th, but fall short in series opener, 6-5

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Adam Eaton lost track of a fly to right in the Blue Jays’ 7th, and Toronto ended up scoring three runs in the inning, including what ended up being the winning one, 6-5 final.

Washington Nationals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Adam Eaton misplayed a fly to right into a double that put runners on second and third with no one out in the bottom of the seventh inning tonight, and Nationals’ reliever Justin Miller, who hadn’t given up a run in 10 23 IP for Washington this season, gave up an RBI sac fly by Justin Smoak and a two-run home run by Yangervis Solarte as the Toronto Blue Jays busted a 3-3 game open with a three-run frame that decided the series opener with the Nationals in the Rogers Centre. 6-5 final.

Gio vs Jays: Gio Gonzalez hadn’t taken an L since April 23rd heading into tonight’s start in the series opener in the Rogers Centre. Over the course of that unbeaten streak, the lefty had a 2.44 ERA, 20 walks, 46 Ks, and a .216/.293/.335 line against in 48 innings, going 4-1 with the Nationals 6-1 in his outings (which included the suspended game against the NY Yankees that will be finished this coming Monday).

Gonzalez went just 3 13 innings last time out, however, throwing 97 pitches in an ugly start in which San Francisco Giants’ hitters ran his pitch count up and knocked him out early, in what ended up his shortest outing of the season so far.

Back on the mound tonight in Toronto, Gonzalez tossed two scoreless on 24 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but a leadoff single by Aledmys Diaz and a two-run shot to left by Devon Travis tied things up at 2-2 before Yangervis Solarte hit a 3-0 two-seamer to left to put the Blue Jays on top, 3-2 after three.

After a wild pitch from Aaron Sanchez with a runner on third allowed the Nationals to tie it up at 3-3 in the top of the fifth, Gonzalez tossed an 18-pitch bottom of the inning, working around a two-out double, then returned in the sixth with a scoreless, 15-pitch inning that left him at 94 pitches overall.

Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single by Devon Travis in the Blue Jays’ seventh, then had a fly to right field by Teoscar Hernandez fall in for a ground-rule double when Adam Eaton lost it in the night sky in Toronto and had it bounce over the outfield fence, to put runners on second and third with no outs...

That was it for Gonzalez...

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 104 P, 57 S, 7/5 GO/FO.

Sanchez vs Nationals: Blue Jays’ righty Aaron Sanchez was winless in five May starts, with a rough 5.96 ERA, 17 walks, 21 Ks, and a .277/.381/.436 line against in 22 23 IP in that stretch.

Sanchez snapped that streak in his first start in June, holding the Detroit Tigers to a run on two hits in six innings of an 8-4 win, and he followed up on that outing with a 6 13 innings on the mound against the Baltimore Orioles in which he gave up six hits and two earned runs, receiving no decision in what ended up a 4-3 Jays’ win over the O’s.

He was behind 1-0 early tonight, after giving up a two-out walk to Bryce Harper, (who stole second base) and an RBI single to right by Anthony Rendon, who drove Harper in with soft liner that fell in for a hit.

Juan Soto just missed a home run, bouncing a one-out double off the center field fence in the top of the second, and he moved up to third a groundout and scored on an RBI single off of Pedro Severino’s bat, 2-0.

With the score 3-2 in the Blue Jays’ favor in the fifth inning, Trea Turner singled to center with one down, took second base with two outs (for his 20th SB), and third on a Rendon single before scoring on a wild pitch from Sanchez to Daniel Murphy, 3-3 after four and a half.

Aaron Sanchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 104 P, 66 S, 6/4 GO/FO.

Matt Adams exits: Trying to bunt against the shift in the second, Matt Adams took a fastball off the fingers (keep your fingers behind the bat, Matt). Adams stayed in the game, but then exited after the top of the third with Mark Reynolds taking over at first base.

BULLPEN ACTION: Seunghwan Oh took over for the Blue Jays in the top of the seventh, and retired the side in order in a 16-pitch frame.

Justin Miller inherited a second-and-third, one-out jam from Gio Gonzalez in the Jays’ half of the seventh, after a leadoff single by Devon Travis and a fly to right by Teoscar Hernandez that Adam Eaton lost track of in the night sky in Toronto.

Justin Smoak stepped in with two on and hit a sac fly to right to put the Blue Jays up, 4-3.

Yangervis Solarte followed with his second home run of the game, and 14th of the season, a two-run blast that made it a 6-3 game.

Jays’ lefty Aaron Loup gave up a leadoff single by Bryce Harper in the top of the eighth, so Toronto’s skipper John Gibbons went to the pen again for John Axford, who gave up a hard-hit ground ball double to left by Anthony Rendon.

Daniel Murphy stepped in with two runners in scoring position (0 for 10 since he came off the DL), and lined a 1-0 pitch to left-center for an RBI single, 6-4 Jays.

Mark Reynolds grounded into a 6-4-3 DP in the next at bat, but Rendon scored from third to make it a one-run game, 6-5 Jays.

Blue Jays’ closer Ryan Tepera took over in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single by Wilmer Difo, who promptly stole second and took third on a fly to left by Brian Goodwin. A ground ball to second by Adam Eaton left Difo frozen at third. Trea Turner worked the count full ... and went down swinging.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 6-5 Blue Jays.

Nationals now 37-29