With 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals and the Cup itself in attendance, the Washington Nationals evened things up with a 7-5 victory in the second of their three-game set with the San Francisco Giants in the nation’s capital.
Adam Eaton returned to the lineup and scored a run right out of the gate after 53 games on the Disabled List, but it was Bryce Harper’s solo shot in the fourth that ended up putting the Nationals on top for good. No. 19 of 2018 for Harper.
Gio Gonzalez didn’t last long on a day when he didn’t seem to have it, but the Nationals’ pen got the job done when they were called upon to do the heavy lifting again.
GIO vs SFG: Gio Gonzalez took the mound this afternoon in Nationals Park trying to extend a seven-start unbeaten streak, over which the 32-year-old lefty was (4-0) with a 1.81 ERA, 16 walks, 43 Ks, and a .200/.270/.313 line against in 44 2⁄3 IP.
The streak went all the way back to April 23rd in AT&T Park, when the Nationals’ southpaw gave up four hits, three walks, and three earned runs over five innings in what ended up being a 4-2 loss to the Giants.
Taking on San Francisco in D.C. today, Gonzalez tossed 2 1⁄3 scoreless before a one-out walk to Buster Posey, a two-out single by Evan Longoria, and a three-run homer by Nick Hundley, on an 0-2 curve up in the zone/over the plate, got the Giants on the board, down 5-3 in the third. Gonzalez ended up throwing a 36-pitch frame in the third.
After two walks, a single, and 23 pitches in the fourth, Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez went to the bullpen for reliever Justin Miller with the bases loaded and one out.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 55 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Son of Pudge: Selected in the 6th Round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, and signed by the San Francisco Giants this past November, after he was granted free agency, Dereck Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, made his major league debut back on May 29th, and his first start in the majors on June 3rd, when he held the Philadelphia Phillies to a run on five hits in six innings on the mound at home in AT&T Park.
This afternoon in the nation’s capital, where his father played his last two of 21 major league seasons, the right-hander took on the Nationals in the second game of the Giants’ series in Washington, D.C.
A hit-by-pitch, walk, and one-out RBI single put the Giants and Rodriguez down 1-0 after a 29-pitch first.
Spencer Kieboom, Adam Eaton, and Trea Turner all singled in the Nationals’ second, with Turner’s single bringing Kieboom in to make it a 2-0 game. Bryce Harper loaded them up with the fourth single of the inning, and Rendon grounded into a force at second, but beat the throw to first to allow Eaton to score, 3-0. It was 5-0 after Matt Adams doubled to right on a center-cut 2-2 fastball for his 7th two-base hit of the season.
Rodriguez was out after throwing 74 pitches in just 2 2⁄3 IP.
Dereck Rodriguez’s Line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 74 P, 43 S, 5/0 GO/FO.
Bubble Wrap Eaton, Please: Adam Eaton returned to the lineup after missing 51 games, and of course he got hit by a pitch in his first at bat back. Can we bubble wrap him to keep him safe? Eaton took second when Trea Turner walked, and scored on an RBI single to center by Anthony Rendon, and looked good doing it. Welcome back, Adam! 1-0 Nationals.
Eaton singled his second time up, taking a 2-1 fastball from Dereck Rodriguez back over the mound and into center field, 1 for 1, HBP. He grounded out his third time up, 1 for 2, HBP.
A pop to center in the fifth left him 1 for 3 on the day, and he lined out to left field in the seventh, 1 for 4, HBP, two runs scored.
BULLPEN ACTION: Ty Blach finished off the third for the Giants, after Dereck Rodriguez was done for the day.
Gio Gonzalez didn’t make it out of the fourth, loading the bases 23 pitches into the top of the inning on his 97th pitch of the game.
Justin Miller inherited the bases loaded, one-out jam, and gave up a sac fly to center on a 1-2 slider to Andrew McCutchen, 5-4 Nationals.
Blach came back out for the bottom of the fourth and gave up a one-out solo shot to right by Bryce Harper, who hit his 19th of the season on an 0-1 slider to give the Nationals a two-run lead, 6-4. Blach worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep it a two-run game after four.
The NL HR leader did an NL HR leader thing. pic.twitter.com/25QJw67L5W— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 9, 2018
Miller picked up two Ks in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth, which left him at 23P after 1 2⁄3 scoreless.
Sammy Solis struck out two in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth inning to keep it a two-run game in the Nationals’ favor.
After the Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Madson got the ball in the top of the seventh, and gave up back-to-back-to-back, one-out hits, with the third hit a line drive, RBI double to right by Nick Hundley, who made it a one-run game, 6-5 Nationals.
Madson struck the next two batters out to keep it there, however, and an RBI double in the Nationals’ half of the eighth, by Spencer Kieboom (off Cory Gearrin), brought Wilmer Difo in to make it a two-run game again, 7-5 Nats.
Tim Collins got the first out of the eighth, then Brandon Kintzler came on next and gave up a hit-by-pitch and a double that put runners on second and third base with two out before he called the trainer out to the mound and left the game rather abruptly.
Sean Doolittle came on for the four-out save, and got the first out of four to end the top of the eighth and keep it a 7-5 game in the Nats’ favor.
Doolittle came back out for the ninth and worked around a two-out single for save No. 16 of 2018.
Final Score: 7-5 Nationals
Nationals now 36-26