Jefry Rodriguez struggled on the mound, giving up seven hits and seven walks in just 4 2⁄3 IP, and the Washington Nationals’ righty was charged with seven runs total in what ended up being a 9-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, who took 2 of 3 in the nation’s capital.
Rodriguez vs the Brewers: Jefry Rodriguez tossed six scoreless against the New York Mets last week in Citi Field, in what ended up a 15-0 win, and the Nationals’ 25-year-old rookie right-hander talked after the outing about getting more comfortable throwing his change, which he did more than in any previous outing, and how the additional pitch was making him tougher to face for opposing hitters.
“It was an adjustment I had to make which I did,” Rodriguez explained.
“I kept throwing it and got more comfortable with it. And the majors leagues, that’s what it’s about, making adjustments, and I have been able to do so and I feel good now throwing it and more comfortable with it.”
Trying to build on that outing in his ninth appearance and seventh start of the season this afternoon in the series finale with Milwaukee in D.C., Rodriguez found himself in trouble early, issuing back-to-back walks to the first two batters he faced and giving up a one-out single to left that loaded the bases in the top of the first.
Mike Moustakas stepped in with the bases juiced, and sliced an 0-2 curve out to left for a two-run single and a 2-0 lead after a 1/2-inning.
Moose doing Moose things. pic.twitter.com/kPSSDCJW8h— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 2, 2018
With the score 2-1 Brewers in the third, Rodriguez issued three consecutive two-out walks, loading the bases in front of Keon Broxton on his 30th pitch of the inning, and the 66th of the day overall, before getting an out on a weak grounder to third base.
Given a 4-2 lead to work with Rodriguez issued his sixth walk to Curtis Granderson with two out in the top of the fourth, but got a force at second to end the inning with his 82nd pitch of the game.
Eric Thames doubled with one down in the Brewers’ half of the fifth inning, and Manny Pina hit a weak chopper back to the mound that Rodriguez couldn’t handle, before Keon Broxton crushed a 2-0 fastball and hit a three-run homer out to center to make it a 5-4 game in the visitor’s favor.
OH BABY!— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 2, 2018
Here's how new dad @KeonDDBroxton got the Brewers big 5th inning started: pic.twitter.com/K4B76flBpv
A single and walk in the next two at bats ended Rodriguez’s outing... but both runners came around to score.
Jefry Rodriguez’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 50 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Junior in D.C.: Brewers’ right-hander Junior Guerra took the mound this afternoon winless in his last eight starts, with a 7.28 ERA and a .356/.407/.607 line against in 38 1⁄3 innings in that stretch, which went back to a win against the Atlanta Braves on July 8th and included a loss at home to the same Washington Nationals he was facing today in the finale of the Brewers’ series in the nation’s capital.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with before he took the mound, Guerra tossed a scoreless, 15-pitch first, but Wilmer Difo went all oppo on the righty in the second, hitting a 1-0 fastball out the other way for a two-out solo shot that cut the Brewers’ lead in half. Difo’s 6th of 2018.
Over the wall and on the board! pic.twitter.com/QTogEhp6Lq— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
Adam Eaton singled with one down and Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon took back-to-back, two-out walks in the third, loading’em up in front of Juan Soto, who got up 3-1 then lined a fastball to center for a game-tying RBI single, 2-2.
Mark Reynolds followed with his own single to center in the next at bat, driving in two more as the Nationals took a 4-2 lead.
Not tied anymore! pic.twitter.com/Glt4YNngcp— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
Junior Guerra’s Line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 58 P, 32 S, 2/1 GO/FO.
Difo = Power, Power: Wilmer Difo did it again, homering in the second to top his previous single season mark of five home runs, set last season. Difo went the other way for No. 6 in his first at bat against Brewers’ righty Junior Guerra in the second, hitting a 1-0 heater into the left field/visitor’s bullpen.
Good Juan: Juan Soto’s two-strike approach paid off again last night, when he hit a go-ahead single to center in the eighth. He got hold of a 3-1 pitch in the home-half of the third in Nationals Park this afternoon, lining a game-tying, two-run single to center field in what ended up a three-run inning that put the Nationals up 4-2.
With the single, Soto was 1 for 2 early in the series finale with hits in eight of his last nine games, over which he’d gone 14 for 32 (.438 AVG) at that point.
Soto singled again in the sixth, 2 for 3, which left him 7 for 10 in the series with Milwaukee, and he ended the day 2 for 4 (7 for 11).
BULLPEN ACTION: Brandon Woodruff took over for the Brewers in the bottom of the fourth inning and threw a quick, scoreless frame.
Tim Collins took over on the mound for Jefry Rodriguez with two on and two out in the top of the fifth, and issued a base-loading walk to Hernan Perez before Christian Yelich hit one out to center for a grand slam that made it 9-4 Brewers. Ouch.
.@ChristianYelich is having a great season.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 2, 2018
No, make that a GRAND one.#ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/56CLDXgrwa
Austen Williams made his MLB debut in the top of the sixth, picking up a swinging K for his first strikeout with a 1-2 curve to Mike Moustakas. He worked around a one-out walk in a 21-pitch frame.
Congrats to Austen Williams on recording his first career @MLB strikeout. pic.twitter.com/fiDBFeL7u5— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
Williams returned to the mound in the seventh and worked around a two-out walk in a 12-pitch inning that left him at 33 total after two scoreless.
Austen Williams’ MLB debut: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 33 P, 19 S, 0/2 GO/FO.
Brewers’ skipper Craig Counsell stuck with Woodruff through the sixth, and sent the right-hander back out for the seventh. He worked around a pair of singles for four scoreless in relief.
Sammy Solis tossed a scoreless 21-pitch top of the eighth, picking up a strikeout.
Xavier Cedeno worked around a Mark Reynolds single for a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Koda Glover worked a clean top of the ninth.
Corey Knebel came on to end it in the bottom of the ninth inning and retired the Nationals in order to end it.
Final Score: 9-4 Brewers
Nationals now 68-69