WASHINGTON, D.C.: Five straight one-out singles for Boston and a three-run home run to center field by Xander Bogaerts in a 33-pitch fifth inning for Washington Nationals’ starter Tanner Roark, turned a 3-2 lead into a 9-2 advantage as the visitors from Beantown won a second game in a row in the nation’s capital. 11-4 final.
Roark vs Red Sox: Taking on a tough Red Sox’ lineup tonight, Tanner Roark tossed a quick, scoreless, seven-pitch first inning, but after the Nationals squandered a two-on, no-out opportunity in the first, the Red Sox hit back-to-back singles (by Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts), and a one-out, three-run HR to left by Eduardo Nunez to jump out to a 3-0 lead for the second straight game.
Roark worked around a leadoff double and walk in the fourth, getting a called third strike on Rafael Devers and a 4-6-3 DP out of Nunez this time around.
Mark Reynolds and Roark drove in runs with RBI singles in the home-half of the fourth, but the Red Sox strung together three straight one-out hits in the fifth to load the bases up for J.D. Martinez, who hit the fourth to left for a two-run single, and a 5-2 lead, and then Steve Pearce got in on the singling as well, 6-2. And 9-2 on a three-run home run to center field off Xander Bogaerts’ bat.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 7.0 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 98 P, 66 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Johnson vs Nationals: After starting in his first appearance of 2018, Red Sox’ left-hander Brian Johnson worked out of the bullpen exclusively until an injury to Steven Wright gave him an opportunity to return to the rotation.
He returned with a four-inning outing against the LA Angels on June 28th, giving up four hits and run in a 61-pitch effort.
In his third start of the season tonight, the 27-year-old southpaw was facing a Nationals’ roster that started the night with a .232/.313/.377 line vs lefties, which had them ranked 21st/18th/25th amongst major league teams.
Two of the Nationals’ left-handers connected for two of the first four hits off Johnson, however, with Juan Soto bunting for a hit in the first (before he and Trea Turner were stranded) and Bryce Harper doubling to right to start the fourth.
Harper took third on a groundout by Daniel Murphy, and scored on an RBI single to left by Mark Reynolds which made it a 3-1 game after the Sox jumped out to an early lead.
Reynolds took third on a fly to center by Pedro Severino, and scored on a two-out RBI single by Tanner Roark, 3-2.
When he took the mound in the fifth, Johnson had a 9-2 lead to work with, but had a single by Anthony Rendon put two on, and he was lifted after getting the second out of the frame.
Brian Johnson’s Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 77 P, 52 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Boras on Harper just because: Normally, this is where we’d put in some fun facts about the Nationals, particularly a player who’d done something good in the game, but seeing as how it just went 9-2 as we write this, we thought we’d include some thoughts that Bryce Harper’s agent Scott Boras shared when he spoke to reporters this afternoon in Nationals Park.
This one was about how opposing pitchers decided to walk Harper after he got off to a hot start and why they choose to attack Harper that way when they don’t do the same to some of the other superstars in the game. Spoiler: It’s the fear factor.
Oh, and the home run he’s referring to below is Harper’s 21st, which landed in the middle of the second deck in right on Monday night.
“You wonder why there’s a fear and then you see what happened last night,” Boras said.
“You see that ball — two curveballs you take, and then all of a sudden you see the ball leave the ballpark like that. That’s not a home run, that’s a memorable moment of fear for thirteen arms that are sitting over there and everyone that watched, because few people can hit the ball like that ... and the sound of it.”
BULLPEN ACTION: Heath Hembree took over on the mound for Brian Johnson with two on and two out in the fifth, with Mark Reynolds at the plate, and gave up a base-loading single to right, 2 for 3 for Reynolds. Michael A. Taylor stepped in next, with the bases loaded, and worked the count full before chasing a slider out of the zone for out No. 3.
Pedro Severino hit a solo shot to center off Hembree on the second pitch of the bottom of the sixth, 9-3. Severino’s first of 2018.
Brandon Workman tossed a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh. Still 9-3.
Tim Collins got the ball for the Nationals in the eighth and threw a scoreless, 15-pitch frame.
Matt Grace gave up a leadoff walk and a one-out, two-run home run by J.D. Martinez, 11-3 Red Sox.
Brian Goodwin took William Cuevas deep to right for a solo shot to lead off the ninth, 11-4.
Final Score: 11-4 Red Sox.
Nationals now 42-42