With the San Diego Padres up 3-2 in the series opener in Nationals Park, a hanging slider to debuting infielder Carter Kieboom went out over the center field wall for a game-tying solo home run.
Kieboom’s first MLB hit tied it up at 3-3, but Sean Doolittle gave up a go-ahead homer in the top of the 9th that won it for the visitors, 4-3 Padres final in the first of three in Washington, D.C.
Scherzer vs San Diego: Max Scherzer was solid in his first two starts, but struggled in the next three before tonight’s turn in the nation’s capital, putting up a 5.95 ERA (13 ER in 19 2⁄3 IP) and a .321/.345/.481 line against in appearances against the Mets, Pirates, and Marlins.
Manager Davey Martinez said Scherzer’s location just wasn’t there against Miami, and he left pretty much everything up, but the second-year skipper said he expected Washington’s ace to bounce back after the rough stretch.
“I talked to him after the game,” Martinez told reporters, “and he said, ‘Hey look, I felt good I just didn’t make any pitches, and he said, ‘I know what I’ve got to do,’ so we’ll see him in five days.”
Scherzer looked sharp early in the series opener with San Diego in D.C., retiring the first nine Padres’ batters he faced, four via strikeout, on just 37 pitches.
He was up to 12-straight set down on 50 pitches after four, but the streak ended at 13, on an 0-2 fastball to Eric Hosmer with one out in the fifth inning, which the Padres’ first baseman hit it over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field for a solo homer that made it a 2-1 game a half-inning after the Nationals jumped out to a two-run lead.
It was still 2-1 in the top of the seventh when Wil Myers doubled to left to lead off the inning, and Manny Machado followed with an RBI single to center that tied things up at 2-2.
Hosmer doubled to left one out later, sending Franmil Reyes around to third (after he’d hit a pop to short right that Brian Dozier let drop to take the out at second). Ian Kinsler K’d on a 3-2 fastball in the next at bat, however, and Reyes got picked off third after a pump fake throw toward second by Yan Gomes when Kinsler stole the base.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 69 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Strahm vs the Nationals: Winless in four starts before tonight in spite of the fact that he put up respectable numbers in those outings (3.05 ERA, 5 BB, 13 Ks, .244/.294/.423 line against in 20 2⁄3 IP), Matt Strahm took the mound against the Nationals in the series opener in D.C., and the lefty tossed three scoreless to start, matching Max Scherzer, but Juan Soto reached on a swinging bunt in the bottom of the fourth and Yan Gomes followed one out later with a two-run blast to left on a first-pitch fastball, 2-0. Gomes’ second of 2019.
Two-Run G̶o̶m̶e̶r̶ Homer! pic.twitter.com/BKs5JiekAw— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 27, 2019
Strahm held it there through six, as the Padres scored one in the fifth and one in the top of the seventh to tie things up, and San Diego went to the pen at that point...
Matt Strahm’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 81 P, 55 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Adam Eaton in Streaking: Nationals’ leadoff man Adam Eaton started the night with a 10-game hit streak going after extending it in his final at bat on the road in Coors Field.
Eaton was 17 for 44 (.386 AVG), with two doubles, a triple, one homer, two RBIs, three walks, and 10 runs scored over the course of the streak, which he extended with a leadoff single to short right field in his first at bat against Padres’ lefty Matt Strahm.
Kieboom Debuts: Carter Kieboom, 21, told reporters before today’s game that all he wanted was an opportunity to show the Washington Nationals, who drafted him in the first round in 2016, what he could do.
Carter Kieboom drew the duck blue bc he's never seen a blue duck before and he wanted to see a blue duck. pic.twitter.com/tIYWHXTRBR— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 26, 2019
“An opportunity is all you can ask for as a player. That is all I ask for - an opportunity to show what I can do,” Kieboom said before making his MLB debut.
In his first MLB at bat, the top prospect in the organization took a called third strike and quietly took his bat back to the dugout.
He was 0 for 2 on the night after grounding out in the fifth, but came up with the Nationals down 3-2 in the eighth and hit a solo shot to center for his first MLB hit and home run. 400 feet to center. Break out your Key + Boom emojis!!!!
BULLPEN ACTION: Padres’ righty Trey Wingenter took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and retired the side in order, striking out two.
Kyle Barraclough got the top of the eighth for the Nationals, and the right-hander gave up a leadoff walk and one-out single before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Wander Suero vs Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Suero got a grounder back to the mound and spiked a throw to second base that Brian Dozier somehow picked, but a wild pitch in the next at bat let the go-ahead run in, 3-2 Padres.
Craig Stammen got the ball for the Padres in the bottom of the eighth inning, and left a 1-1 slider up for Carter Kieboom, who crushed it and hit a 400 ft+ home run to center to tie it up at 3-3.
Sean Doolittle came on in the top of the ninth and gave up a one-out home run by Hunter Renfroe on a 1-2 change (or splitter depending on your source) that cleared the left-center field fence, 4-3 Padres.
Kirby Yates came on in the bottom of the ninth, looking for the save, and retired the first two batters he faced before Yan Gomes singled for his third hit of the night (2 for 3, HR). Michael A. Taylor came on to run for the catcher, and almost got picked off first base (it looked he like was out on the replay, but was called safe on the play and the call was confirmed).
Taylor stole a bag with Brian Dozier at the plate to put himself in scoring position, and Dozier walked. Two on for Howie Kendrick? Another walk. Bases loaded for...
Carter Kieboom ... who fell behind 0-2 and spit on a splitter in the dirt, 1-2, took one inside, 2-2, and K’d chasing another out of the zone.
Nationals now 11-13