Moved to the six-spot as Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez mixed things up in the series opener with the Baltimore Orioles, Trea Turner responded with a 4 for 4 game in what ended up a 9-7 win in the nation’s capital.
Rodriguez vs Orioles: Jefry Rodriguez impressed in 4 2⁄3 scoreless against the Braves earlier this month in Atlanta, when he took over for injured starter Jeremy Hellickson in the bottom of the first inning. Rodriguez, 24, has impressed at Double-A Harrisburg as well this season, with a 3.31 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, 28 walks (3.71 BB/9), and 72 Ks (9.53 K/9) in 13 starts and 68 IP so far.
Called up tonight to make his first major league start, Rodriguez looked sharp on the mound early, throwing a fastball from 94-98, which sat 95-96, and a sharp breaking ball that got him his first two Ks in two scoreless on 41 pitches, but Caleb Joseph lined an 0-1 curveball to left to start the Orioles’ third, and one out later, Jace Peterson hit a first-pitch fastball to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard for a two-run blast the put the O’s on top a half-inning after Trea Turner’s solo shot off David Hess gave the Nationals an early lead, 2-1.
Mark Trumbo singled to left on a 96 mph 3-1 fastball in the first at bat of the fourth, and two outs later, he scored on a two-run home run to left by Trey Mancini, who took a 95 mph 2-2 fastball for a ride that ended in the left field bullpen, 4-1.
Back-to-back walks started the Orioles’ half of the fifth, pushing Rodriguez up to 89 pitches, and a hit-by-pitch on Adam Jones loaded’em up, before a run scored on a 4-6-3 double play off of Manny Machado’s bat, 5-1. Rodriguez struck Trumbo out to end the inning, limiting the O’s to one run in his final inning of work.
Jefry Rodriguez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 96 P, 60 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Hess vs Nationals: David Hess held the Nationals to one run on four hits in six innings on the mound in Oriole Park late last month, in what ended up a 2-1 loss.
It was a confidence-builder for the 24-year-old starter, who went head-to-head with Max Scherzer in that start and held his own.
“I think that the confidence is definitely growing,” Hess told reporters after the outing, as quoted by MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.
“I think that with every start,” Hess said, “I get a little bit smarter about what I need to do to have success and how to go about my business on an everyday basis.”
He followed up on that outing with another strong showing against Toronto (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER), but Hess got knocked around when he faced the Boston Red Sox last time out before tonight, in a 3 1⁄3-inning start in which he gave up five hits, four walks, and five earned runs.
Hess retired the first five batters he faced tonight, but a 1-2 fastball to Trea Turner ended up over the wall in left for a two-out solo home run in the second that put the Nationals up 1-0.
Hess gave up back-to-back singles and a walk in the Nationals’ half of the fifth, loading them up after the Orioles jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Brian Goodwin got a pinch hit opportunity but he popped out to the infield for the first out of the frame, then Adam Eaton sent a roller out to left field via short to bring two runs in and make it a 5-3 game in the O’s favor.
Juan Soto got up 3-1 in the next at bat, and walked to load’em back up in front of Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon, who hit a sac fly to center to make it a one-run game, 5-4.
Bryce Harper stepped in with runners on the corners and two out, and hit a 2-2 fastball up high to short left for a bloop double that brought in the tying run and ended Hess’s night, 5-5.
David Hess’s Line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 47 S, 1/6 GO/FO.
Turner turns up: June has not been kind to Trea Turner, who was 12 for 60 (.200/.262./267) with a double, a homer, four walks, and 12 Ks in 14 games heading into tonight’s series opener, though he had managed to hit in 22 of his last 27 games.
He got off to a good start, however, batting in the six-hole tonight, when he took a 90 mph 1-2 fastball from David Hess out to left for his 8th home run of 2018 to put the Nationals up 1-0 early.
Turner was 2 for 2 tonight after he led the fifth off with a single, and he took third on a line drive single to right by Wilmer Difo in the next at bat before scoring on a two-run single to left by Adam Eaton, 5-3.
After making a jump throw to home when the Orioles tried some trickery, sending a runner to second with runners on the corners and two out in the top of the sixth, and sending the runner on third home, where he got thrown out, Turner picked up his third hit of the game, singling to start the Nationals’ half of the inning, 3 for 3 ... though he got thrown out trying to steal second.
Kriss Kross'll make you... pic.twitter.com/b7S3BJbJRO— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 20, 2018
Turner was 4 for 4 on the night after a one-out double to center field off Mike Wright, Jr. in the bottom of the seventh as the Nationals rallied to take the lead... though he got caught up in a rundown and tagged out.
BULLPEN ACTION: Miguel Castro took over for the O’s with runners on second and third and two out in the Nationals’ fifth, and the score tied at 5-5, and got the final out of the inning.
Justin Miller took the mound for the Nationals in the sixth, and gave up a leadoff triple to right by Jonathan Schoop, that Adam Eaton tracked to the wall but couldn’t catch. Miller walked Danny Valencia in the next at bat, but Schoop got caught in a rundown and got tagged out for the first out of the frame, 1-2-5-1-6.
Miller walked Caleb Joseph to load’em up with one out, and Corban Joseph grounded into a force at second, but avoided a double play, 6-5 Orioles, but Danny Valencia tried for second in the next at bat, and Trea Turner caught the throw from Spencer Kieboom, quickly sent it back to the plate with a jump throw when Trey Mancini broke from third base and got the final out of the inning at home.
Miller came back out with a scoreless top of the seventh, and Eaton and Soto hit back-to-back singles off Tanner Scott to start the home-half of the frame, and Anthony Rendon drove them both in with a two-run double into the left-center gap, taking third on the throw home on the play, 7-6.
Rendon scored on a pinch hit single off new pitcher Mike Wright, Jr. by Michael A. Taylor, 8-6, and Taylor took third base on a Trea Turner double to center, and scored on an RBI single to center by Wilmer Difo.
Kelvin Herrera made his Nationals debut, a little less than six hours after he first arrived in Nationals Park, retiring the Orioles in order (with help from Trea Turner on a great play at short) in a quick, six-pitch frame, 9-6 Nationals.
Sean Doolittle came on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and gave up a one-out, solo homer to left by Joey Rickard, 9-7, before getting the final two outs.
Final Score: 9-7 Nationals
Nationals now 39-32