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Nationals swept in three-game set with Blue Jays; 8-6 loss in series finale...

Washington split two games in New York, then dropped three in Toronto on a disappointing road trip. Now it’s back home for two with the Yankees tomorrow in D.C.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing by a run in the eighth, and facing a potential sweep on the road in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, the Washington Nationals rallied to tie it with Juan Soto singling to left field, taking second on a wild pitch, and scoring on a one-out single to make it a 6-6 game, but the Nats left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, and the Blue Jays hit back-to-back homers off Ryan Madson in the bottom of the inning to complete the sweep with an 8-6 win.

Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte’s homers were the first off Madson since joined the Nationals last July.

Up next: One and a half with the New York Yankees in the nation’s capital tomorrow.

Roark vs the Blue Jays: Tanner Roark was on the mound for one of the Nationals’ three shutout losses in the past week, a 3-0 loss to the Yankees this past Tuesday night in NY’s Yankee Stadium, in which he gave up six hits, two walks, and three earned runs over six innings.

Two of the three runs he allowed came on two pitches, both to Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorius, who hit two home runs in the Bronx.

“Bad curveball, and bad two-seamer, so yeah, he hit them out,” Roark said. It was the third straight outing (one in relief in Atlanta) in which the Nats’ starter surrendered a home run, after he’d given up just one in 34 innings in five May starts.

This afternoon in the Rogers Centre in Toronto, the right-hander gave up an early homer on a first-pitch fastball inside that Randal Grichuk took for a ride to left, lining a two-out homer a half-inning after the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

With the score 3-1 Nats in the third, Roark gave up three-straight two-out hits, the third an RBI double to left by Kevin Pillar, whose 21st two-base hit of the season made it a one-run game, 3-2. Roark’s 31st pitch of the inning was ball four to Grichuk for the second of back-to-back walks that loaded the bases and forced in a run, respectively, 3-3.

A leadoff single, one-out hit-by-pitch, and two-out RBI single by Kendry Morales put the Blue Jays on top, 4-3 in the fourth, and Roark’s 20-pitch inning ended his outing after 96 pitches overall.

Tanner Roark’s Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 61 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

Gaviglio (guh-VEE-lee-oh): Winless in his last three starts, in spite of the fact that he tossed seven scoreless in one of them, Blue Jays’ righty Sam Gaviglio, who put up a 4.96 ERA and a .270/.329/.460 line against in 16 13 innings over that stretch, took the mound in the series finale with the Nationals hoping to help Toronto to a sweep of their three-game set against Washington.

Gaviglio gave up a run early this afternoon, with Michael A. Taylor singling with one out in the second, stealing second base, taking third on a groundout, and scoring on a two-out RBI single to left by Wilmer Difo, 1-0. Difo stole second, and took third on a throwing error by Jays’ catcher Russell Martin on a pick attempt at second base, before feigning a move towards home and getting Gaviglio to flinch and balk in a run, 2-0. #DifOBP!! #DifAKE

It was 2-1 Nats in the third when Anthony Rendon doubled with one down and scored on an RBI single to center field by Daniel Murphy (who got thrown out trying to take second on the play), 3-1 Nationals.

Toronto rallied to tie it up in the third, and the Blue Jays took the lead in the fourth. Gaviglio left the mound after four innings in which he threw 77 pitches overall.

Sam Gaviglio’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 77 P, 49 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

MAT Making Things Happen: Davey Martinez has assured Michael A. Taylor that though he’s going to sit on occasion with the outfield mix a little crowded right now, the Nats’ first-year skipper loves Taylor’s defense, and what the 27-year-old outfielder has done with a bat in his hands over the last month-plus.

After a rough start offensively, Taylor took the field today having hit safely in 16 of his last 21 games, over which he’d gone 22 for 66 (.323 AVG) with seven doubles, two triples, two HRs, 10 RBIs, seven walks, six stolen bases, and seven runs scored.

Taylor had hits in 17 of 22 after a one-out single in the second, and he added a seventh steal and eighth run scored in that stretch when Wilmer Difo drove him in from third base with a soft RBI liner to left field that made it 1-0 in the second.

Taylor was 3 for 3 on the day and 4 for 4 on the basepaths after he reached on an infield single in the sixth, stole second, and scored on a double to center by Brian Goodwin, 5-4 Blue Jays.

With a runner on second in the eighth, and the Blue Jays up by one, 6-5, Taylor tried to get a bunt down twice, but failed to do so, then after falling behind 1-2, he K’d swinging in a weird at bat. 3 for 4. Reporter: Davey, did you have the bunt sign on there? Did Michael decide on his own ... twice?

BULLPEN ACTION: Righty Joe Biagini took over for Toronto in the top of the fifth, retiring the side in order, and the Blue Jays went up 5-3 on the Nationals when Washington right-hander Shawn Kelley gave up a one-out blast by Randal Grichuk, who hit his 2nd HR this afternoon and the fifth home run Kelley’s allowed in 14 IP in 2018.

Tim Collins came on to finish off the Blue Jays’ fifth after Kelley gave up a double to right by Devon Travis.

Biagini gave up an infield single by Michael A. Taylor and an RBI double by Brian Goodwin in the top of the sixth inning, 5-4 Blue Jays. Wilmer Difo connected for his second hit in the at bat that followed, and Jays’ skipper John Gibbons went to the pen with runners on first and third, with one out, and pinch hitter Adam Eaton sent a 1-0 fastball from Seunghwan Oh to left via third base for a game-tying single, 5-5, on which Difo got thrown out at third.

Collins came back out in the bottom of the sixth, and worked around a single for a scoreless frame to keep it a 5-5 game.

John Axford tossed a quick, scoreless seventh for the Jays.

Justin Miller gave up a leadoff single by Kevin Pillar, who made a diving catch in center field to end the Nats’ half of the seventh, then stole second after reaching base, and advanced to third on a fly to center off Russell Martin’s bat before scoring on an RBI single by Grichuk, 6-5 Blue Jays.

Tyler Clippard gave up a leadoff single on a 3-2 change to Juan Soto, who took second on a wild pitch in the next at bat, and scored one out later on an RBI single to short left by Brian Goodwin, 6-6, who took second base on an ill-advised and off-target throw to the plate.

Jays’ closer Ryan Tepera took over for Clippard with two down and Goodwin still at second base, and fell behind 3-0 on Pedro Severino and walked the catcher to put two on in front of Trea Turner, who reached on a swinging bunt to load the bases in front of Bryce Harper, who was 0 for 4 with two Ks on the day and 1 for 15 on the road trip when he stepped in.

Harper fell behind 0-2 quickly, and popped out to center to end the threat, 6-6, and the Jays took the lead in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back homers by Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte, which were the first home runs Ryan Madson gave up in 42 23 IP as a National going back to last July, 8-6 Toronto.

Tepera came back in the ninth and retired the side in order.


Final Score: 8-6 Blue Jays

Nationals now 37-31