Aníbal Sánchez got the win in his first career start in Detroit’s Comerica Park as a member of the opposition with a six-inning outing in which he gave up just one run on six hits, and the Nationals won for the first time ever in the Tigers’ home (after losing the previous five), taking the series opener by a final score of 3-1.
Juan Soto hit a 418ft bomb of a home run to right off lefty Daniel Norris in the top of the second inning, Adam Eaton drove in a run with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, and the Nationals added to their lead with a two-out RBI double by Howie Kendrick in the eighth, and held on for their fourth straight win and their 22nd victory in the last 31 games.
Sánchez vs Detroit: Unbeaten in five starts since an IL stint last month, with a 2.45 ERA, four walks, 24 Ks, and a .198/.239/.330 line against in 29 1⁄3 IP over that stretch, Aníbal Sánchez took the mound tonight in Comerica Park, (where he started for the Tigers from 2012-2017), (3-6) in 14 starts in 2019, with a 4.02 ERA, a 4.48 FIP, 29 walks (3.64 BB/9), 65 Ks (8.16 K/9), and a .238/.312/.413 line against overall in 71 2⁄3 IP this season.
Sánchez’s 15th start with the Nationals and first career start against the Tigers began with 4 2⁄3 scoreless innings in which he gave up just three hits, but the fourth hit was a bomb that went out over the right-center field wall off of Nick Castellanos’s bat on a first-pitch fastball that got the home team on the board, down 2-1 in the series opener in Detroit.
A 23-pitch fifth left Sánchez at 93 pitches overall, and he came back out for the sixth and worked around a one-out single in a 17-pitch frame that ended his outing...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 110 P, 73 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Norris vs Washington: Tigers’ lefty Daniel Norris took the mound tonight in Comerica Park winless in his last eight starts (0-5) with a 5.48 ERA and a .287/.322/.500 line against in 46 innings pitched over that stretch, which left him with a 4.69 ERA and a .288/.328/.477 line against in 80 2⁄3 IP overall in 16 games and 13 starts on the season.
Norris was going up against the team that started the night with a .285/.358/.494 line vs left-handers this season, good for 3rd/3rd/5th across the line amongst MLB teams.
Juan Soto, who started the night with a .315/.381/.554 line and four of his 13 home runs off of southpaws this season, crushed an 0-2 fastball from Norris in the first at bat of the top of the second, hitting a solo shot out to right that bounced off the facade of the second deck, some 418 ft from home plate, 1-0.
Norris kept it there through four, but Victor Robles singled with one out in the fifth, stole a base, moved up on a groundout, and scored on a two-out RBI single to right field by Adam Eaton, 2-0.
Norris’s outing was apparently cut short by a cut on the thumb on his left (throwing) hand, which was bleeding enough it became an issue...
Daniel Norris’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 77 P, 49 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Win in Motown?: Coming into tonight’s game, the Nationals had never won in the Tigers’ home, getting swept in three and two-game sets in June of 2010 and July of 2013, respectively. They took two games of three when the two teams last met, in the nation’s capital in 2016, however, with Max Scherzer’s 20-K game in that series on May 11, 2016 if you’d somehow forgotten.
Soto is (on-base) streaking: With a homer in the fourth inning of last night’s game in Miami, (his 13th), Juan Soto extended his on-base streak to 12-straight games, over which the 20-year-old outfielder was 16 for 42 (.381 AVG) with two doubles, two triples, three homers, 12 RBIs, seven walks, two stolen bases, and nine runs scored.
Soto extended his on-base streak with a solo homer in the first at bat of the second, on a 91 MPH 0-2 fastball from Daniel Norris that bounced off of the facade of the second deck in Comerica Park: 14 HRs, 13-game on-base streak.
Zimmerman’s Back: In his first game back after a 53-game absence and serving as the DH in the AL park, Ryan Zimmerman singled the first time up, beating out a grounder to short, and he walked in his second plate appearance. A groundout the third time up left him 1 for 2, BB, and Zimmerman’s night at the plate ended with a 1 for 3 with the walk.
BULLPEN ACTION: Buck Farmer took over for the Tigers in the top of the sixth, and retired the Nationals in order in a 15-pitch frame.
Right-hander Victor Alcántara took over for the home team in the top of the seventh, and worked around a one-out single by Brian Dozier to keep it a one-run game.
Javy Guerra got the bottom of the seventh for the Nats, and retired the side in order (with a little help from a diving Adam Eaton in right field for out No. 2 and a slick play by Trea Turner at short for out No. 3) in a 13-pitch frame.
Lefty Daniel Stumpf gave up a leadoff walk to Adam Eaton, who tried to tag and take a bag on a fly to the track in left-center by Anthony Rendon in the next at bat, but Tigers’ center fielder Victor Reyes made an amazing throw in to second base to get the out for the 9-4 DP.
José Cisnero took over for the Tigers after a two-out walk to Juan Soto in the eighth, and an RBI double by Howie Kendrick in the next at bat made it 3-1 Nationals.
Tanner Rainey got the eighth for the Nats and gave up back-to-back, one-out walks. but he got a force at second for what looked like a 3-4-6 put-out, with Howie Kendrick diving to knock a one-hopper over to Brian Dozier who got the out at second, on a play that held up under review. Rainey threw an 1-2 slider by Niko Goodrum for a check-swing strike three and out No. 2.
Austin Adams retired the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth.
Fernando Rodney [gasp] got the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order, with some filthy changeups along the way.
Nationals now 41-40