After a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay, the Washington Nationals came back out down 3-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers in the top of the eighth at 11:46 PM and about 45 minutes later, a two-out rally brought in a run on an RBI single by Trea Turner, 3-2, and back-to-back walks by Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon loaded the bases in front of Juan Soto, who hit a two-run single to center, 4-3, before a wild pitch to Ryan Zimmmeran with Rendon on third lifted the Nats to 5-3 lead in what ended up a 5-4 win.
Strasburg vs the Brewers: Stephen Strasburg earned his first win since May 27th last time out on the mound, in Citizens Bank Park, holding the Phillies to two runs on five hits in six innings of work in what ended up a 5-3 win. Opposing hitters had a .308/.372/.564 line against him in his first two starts back, but Strasburg showed signs of improvement in his start against the Phillies. Would he take another step tonight?
Going up against the Brewers in his third start back from his second DL stint of the season, the 30-year-old right-hander tossed three scoreless to start, on just 26 pitches, with seven-pitch innings in the first and third.
Two walks in the fourth had him throw more pitches than he’d throw in the previous three innings, but he stranded both runners and picked up three Ks to complete four scoreless with a 32-pitch inning leaving him at 58 total on the night.
The Brewers got on the board in the fifth, however, with Mike Moustakas doubling to right field on a first-pitch fastball and scoring on a grounder to third base off Jonathan Schoop’s bat that bounced off Anthony Rendon’s backhand and shot into short left, 1-0.
A single by Manny Pina put two on with no one out, and after getting a force at second for out No. 2, Strasburg gave up an RBI single to right by Christian Yelich, who went down for the first pitch change he got and lined it out to Adam Eaton, 2-0.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 93 P, 57 S, 7/0 GO/FO.
*Seven Nation Army riff goes here* pic.twitter.com/3pE8z6dKn5— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
Mr. Anderson goes to Washington: Chase Anderson, 30, took the mound tonight in the nation’s capital unbeaten in his last seven starts (3-0), with a 4.79 ERA and .239/.297/.507 line against in 35 2⁄3 IP over the stretch.
Two of the three wins over that stretch came in his previous two starts before taking on the Nationals, which saw him give up nine hits and six earned runs in 11 innings of work, striking out nine without walking any batters.
Anderson held the Nationals hitless through three before giving up a one-out single by Trea Turner, who was doubled up on a 4-6-3 DP off Bryce Harper’s bat as the Brewers’ starter got through his fourth scoreless frame on 51 pitches.
Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back, one-out singles in the Nationals’ half of the fifth, and Wilmer Difo followed with a hard-hit grounder to first base that ate up Jesus Aguilar and allowed Soto to score, 1-0, while Zimmerman took third. Zimmerman and Difo were stranded two outs later, however, as Anderson worked his way out of a jam with only minimal damage.
Chase Anderson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 79 P, 51 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
It's not goodbye, it's See. You. Later. pic.twitter.com/gQ4fPA8jcw— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
#DifOBP: Though he hasn’t necessarily been hitting for average (8 for 36, .222/.263/.472) since taking over second base following the trade that sent Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs, Nationals’ infielder Wilmer Difo did have a double, triple, and two homers in the 10 games since Murphy was dealt heading into tonight’s matchup.
Difo had also already set career highs in RBIs (33) and extra base hits this season (23), while matching his previous career-high for home runs (5) with his last blast, and the 26-year-old started the night with a .308/.362/.459 line in 60 home games this season.
Difo’s first hit of the night, in the fifth, was a grounder to first base that got by Jesus Aguilar, driving in the Nats’ only run off Brewers’ starter, Chase Anderson.
BULLPEN ACTION: Xavier Cedeno tossed a quick, scoreless sixth for the Brewers, who were back up by two a half-inning later when catcher Manny Pina hit a 97 mph 2-1 fastball out off Nationals’ righty Jimmy Cordero for a one-out solo home run in the top of the seventh, 3-1.
Tim Collins finished off the seventh for the Nationals.
Corbin Burnes gave up a one-out double to right by Juan Soto (2 for 3), but stranded the one batter to reach base in a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Wander Suero got the eighth for the Nationals, but took a liner off his wrist right before the tarp came out in the nation’s capital.
Matt Grace took the mound at 11:46 PM in Nationals Park, after a 1-hour, 56-minute rain delay, and got the second out of the inning before Greg Holland came on to face pinch hitter Hernan Perez, or so Davey Martinez thought. Craig Counsell burned Perez to get Curtis Granderson up against the right-hander.
Granderson worked the count full, and walked to load the bases in front of Manny Pina, who popped out to Ryan Zimmerman, who made an impressive, over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory in short right.
Joakim Soria got two quick outs, but gave a two-out double by Adam Eaton and an RBI single by Trea Turner as the Nationals got within one, 3-2.
Soria worked around Bryce Harper, putting him on in front of Anthony Rendon, who worked the count full and walked to load the bases.
Juan Soto got a new pitcher, Dan Jennings, and singled to center on a 2-2 fastball to make it 4-3 Nationals. Rendon scored on a wild pitch with Ryan Zimmerman up, 5-3.
Go ahead, young man! Juan Soto hits a 2-R single with the bases loaded for a 4-3 lead! pic.twitter.com/YihbNWOtFE— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 2, 2018
Justin Miller came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and gave up a solo home run to left by Tyler Saladino and a two-out single by Jesus Aguilar before he locked down the win.
Final Score: 5-4 Nationals
Nationals now 68-68