Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams homered this evening in the first game of 2019 in the nation’s capital.
Now it’s a long two-day wait before the season opener on Thursday afternoon, when the New York Mets come to town for a three-game set...
Here’s what happened in tonight’s game...
Ah-knee-ball: Aníbal Sánchez got off to a good start with two scoreless on 29 pitches, but he left one up to Troy Tulowitzki on the first pitch of the third, and saw the 88 mph fastball soar over the left-center fence for a solo shot that cut the Nationals’ lead in half, 2-1.
Sánchez’s 20-pitch third left him at 49 total.
Three soft pops got Sánchez through a quick, nine-pitch fourth inning, and he worked his way around one and two-out walks in a 17-pitch fifth inning that left him at 75 pitches.
Sanchez issued his fourth walk of the game to the first batter in the Yankees’ sixth, then he picked up his fourth K in the next at bat, which ended up being his last...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 86 P, 47 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
Rendon Goes Deep: Anthony Rendon got all of a 92 mph, 2-1 fastball from New York’s left-hander, Stephen Tarpley, and Rendon hit it out to left field and 10-15 rows deep into the stands for his first home run in Nationals Park this season (though it still doesn’t count until Thursday), 2-0, with the two-run blast coming one out after Trea Turner reached on a grounder to first base, and took second on a wild pitch.
Line = Moving: Juan Soto hit an opposite field line drive single to left, and after Anthony Rendon (who walked more than he K’d in college) took a free pass from Yankees’ right-hander Tommy Kahnle, the second opposite field single of the Nationals’ half of the fourth inning, off of Ryan Zimmerman’s bat (and to right), loaded the bases with no one out. Kurt Suzuki connected for a sac fly to left one out later, making it a 3-1 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Brian Dozier followed with a gapper to right-center on a 2-2 slider outside from Kahnle that he went with (I thought he was a pull hitter) for an RBI single and a 4-1 lead.
BULLPEN ACTION: Aaron Barrett took over for Sánchez with a runner on and one out in the sixth, and surrendered a fly to left that Juan Soto couldn’t track down. One run scored as it bounced around the warning track after getting over Soto’s head, 4-2. Greg Byrd, who hit it out to left, took third base on a wild pitch from Barrett, but was stranded there.
Mt. Adams: Matt Adams connected with a 2-2 fastball from Yankees’ lefty Nestor Cortes, Jr. in the home-half of the sixth, and hit it over the out-of-town scoreboard for a one-out solo shot that put the Nationals up 5-2.
BACK TO THE PEN AGAIN: Kyle Barraclough, acquired from the Miami Marlins shortly after the 2018 campaign came to an end, got off to a good start this Spring with six scoreless in Grapefruit League action, but it was downhill from there for the veteran right-hander, who gave up five hits, three walks, and three earned runs in 2 2⁄3 IP over his final three outings in Florida.
Barraclough took over for the Nats in the top of the seventh inning tonight, and worked around a two-out single in a relatively quick, 19-pitch frame.
Trevor Rosenthal rode the bullpen cart to the first base dugout and took the mound in the eighth, but was lifted after giving up a leadoff double and one-out walk. A sac fly off Matt Grace let one of the runners Rosenthal left on score, but the lefty limited the damage, 5-3 Nationals.
Sean Doolittle rode the cart too (and had a new Metallica song for his walk-out music) and he retired the Yankees in order to end it in a nine-pitch frame.