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Washington Nationals drop opener to Tampa Bay Rays, 6-1 final in Tropicana Field...

It wasn’t the opener, but the starter who came on in relief who shut the Nationals down in a 6-1 loss to the Rays...

Washington Nationals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Aníbal Sánchez ended up getting charged with six runs in 4 13 innings of work in Tropicana Field tonight, where the Washington Nationals dropped the series opener to the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-1 final. Carter Kieboom and Luis García had multi-hit games, and Juan Soto doubled and scored the only run. Those are your Nationals highlights...

Sánchez vs the Rays: Aníbal Sánchez gave up four hits, two walks, and three earned runs in five-plus innings pitched when he faced the Rays last week in Nationals Park, throwing five scoreless before putting three batters on in the sixth, all of whom scored, though two came in after he left the mound.

The Nationals took both games with the Rays in the nation’s capital, and Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames said after the second straight loss it was difficult going up against starters they don’t see all that much.

“It’s been a tough couple days,” Adames said, as quoted by Tampa Bay Times’ writer Marc Topkin.

“We’re not used to seeing the Nationals’ pitchers, not everybody knows all the pitchers, it’s not like we’re facing them all the time.

But that’s not an excuse. We couldn’t pick it up against the pitchers today and (Monday). We have to be better.”

Would they fare better going up against Sánchez for the second time in a week?

Sánchez tossed a scoreless, 21-pitch first, but a first-pitch curve to Nate Lowe with one down in the second went out to right field for a solo shot and a 1-0 Rays’ lead.

Kevin Kiermaier singled to center with two out in the Rays’ second, then moved up on a balk before scoring on an RBI single to left-center by Kevan Smith, 2-0.

A leadoff single by Austin Meadows, a HBP on Mike Brosseau, and a second balk by Sánchez put two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out for Manuel Margot, who sliced an RBI single into short right field, 3-0 when Luis García got to it but had nowhere to throw. That was it for Aníbal...

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P 58 S, 4/2 GO/FO.

Curtiss vs the Nats: John Curtiss, 27, started, or opened, one other game this season before the series opener with the Nationals tonight, going 1 13 innings in that outing.

But Curtiss had been working out of the bullpen for the most part this season, and he took the mound in the matchup with the Nationals tonight with a 1.53 ERA and a .215/.239/.354 line against on the year.

He was expected to go an inning or so in the series opener tonight. Davey Martinez said before tonight’s game his team was prepared for the pitcher parade.

“We talked about this last night and I think we pretty much — we staggered our lineup pretty good,” he explained. “So they can do whatever they want, we’ll be ready for it.

“But we know coming in that they use the opener a lot, but the biggest thing for us when these things happen, is to try to score first, score early in the game, and let them decide what they’re going to do then.

“We did well against them last time by scoring earlier, so let’s continue to do that.”

Curtiss tossed a scoreless, 12-pitch first, and he came back out for the second, but after a one-out walk, he was done...

John Curtiss’s Line: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 23P, 13 S, 1/0 GO/FO.

Jualk Soto: Juan Soto started the night with a streak of nine-straight games in which he’d taken a walk, with 15 total (eight intentional) over that stretch, in which he’d struck out in just eight at bats. He ... did not walk tonight. He did, however, double and score a run.

BULLPEN ACTION: Ryan Yarbrough was first out of the pen for the Rays, and he took over with a runner on first and one out and gave up a two-out single by Carter Kieboom, but a swinging K from Luis García ended the top of the inning.

Yarbrough retired the Nationals in order in the third, and he worked around a two-out HBP on Kurt Suzuki to complete 2 23 scoreless on 48 pitches.

Ben Braymer took over for the Nationals after the third run of the game scored on Aníbal Sánchez in the bottom of the fifth, on a bases-loaded single, and Ben Braymer took over, and issued a bases-loaded walk that forced in the Rays’ fourth run, 4-0.

A two-out, two-run single by Kiermaier followed, 6-0, before Braymer got the Nationals out of the inning.

Juan Soto doubled off Yarbrough to start the top of the sixth, moved up on a groundout, and scored on another grounder to get the Nats on the board, 6-1 Rays.

Aaron Barrett replaced Braymer on the mound with one on and one out in the Rays’ sixth, after a Brandon Lowe single, and he gave up a single by Mike Brosseau before getting an inning-ending 6-4-3 out of Yoshi Tsutsugo. Still 6-1 Tampa.

Yarbrough was still on the mound in the top of the seventh, and he gave up a two-out single by Luis García, who got doubled up on a soft pop off Victor Robles’s bat that Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames tracked down before throwing to first for the inning-ending 6-3 DP.

Barrett tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh as well.

Aaron Loup took over for the Rays in the eighth and retired the Nationals in order.

Ryne Harper needed just 10 pitches in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.

Ryan Sherriff gave up back-to-back, one-out singles (by Kurt Suzuki and Jake Noll), and then Carter Kieboom walked to load the bases and send Rays’ skipper Kevin Cash to the mound.

Nick Anderson took over with the bases loaded, and struck Luis García out for out No. 2, and got Yadiel Hernandez swinging as well to end it.

Final Score: 6-1 Rays.

Nationals now 17-29