Austin Voth held the Tampa Bay Rays to a run on four hits in five innings of work on the hill in Tropicana Field, and Asdrúbal Cabrera got the Washington Nationals on the board, and up by a run with a two-run blast in the top of the sixth, 2-1, but the Rays rallied to tie it on a two-out, two-strike solo home run by Brandon Lowe off Daniel Hudson in the bottom of the ninth, 2-2.
Luis García put the Nationals back on top, however, hitting a first-pitch fastball from righty Nick Anderson out to right field, 427 ft from home, for a two-run blast (thanks, free runner) to make it a 4-2 game.
Voth vs the Rays: Austin Voth started the day winless in eight starts this season (0-5), with the Nationals 1-7 in his outings, in which the 28-year-old right-hander had a 7.99 ERA, 14 walks, 27 Ks, and a .301/.379/.618 line against in 32 2⁄3 IP.
Voth talked after the first of back-to-back outings earlier this month against Atlanta’s Braves about trying to keep it simple after weeks of attempted tweaks and fixes.
“I’m just trying to keep it simple, not trying to think about too much other than my approach towards how I’m going to attack the hitters, and just laying it all on the line, giving it my all.”
Whatever he did today, it worked, after he gave up an early run.
Voth hit Rays’ outfielder Randy Arozarena with two out in the bottom of the first inning this afternoon, and Arozarena scored on a double to right by Nate Lowe, who hit the Nats’ right-hander’s 0-2 curve into the corner to drive in the first run of the game, 1-0.
After working around a leadoff single in a 17-pitch second, and two walks (one intentional) in a 26-pitch third, Voth stranded a two-out triple by Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth, to keep it 1-0 Rays, and he stranded a one-out double and two-out intentional walk in a 16-pitch fifth in what ended up being his final inning of work...
Austin Voth’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 88 P, 56 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
Nifty 5⃣0⃣.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/TtQ9dVoNzd— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2020
Pete Fairbanks vs the Nationals: Pete Fairbanks, a 26-year-old, 2015 9th Round pick by the Texas Rangers acquired in a 2019 trade, had made 22 appearances out of Tampa Bay’s ‘pen before today, when he was tabbed to be the opener for the first time in his career by Kevin Cash, the Rays’ skipper.
In 21 IP before today, the right-hander had a 3.00 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, and a .225/.340/.288 line against on the season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.86 and his FIP to 2.88 with a scoreless inning of work before he was done for the afternoon...
For Pete’s sake! pic.twitter.com/yHkBY8BRSS— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 16, 2020
SOTOBP: Juan Soto started the finale of the two-game set with the Rays with an 18-game on-base streak going, which stretched back to August 22nd, and over which he’d put up a .488 OBP. Soto walked to extend the streak with one out in the top of the sixth, and scored on a two-run home run by Asdrúbal Cabrera. 19-game on-base streak.
NATS ON TOP pic.twitter.com/tmHnmBVHan— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 16, 2020
BULLPEN ACTION: Right-hander Ryan Thompson took over for the Rays in the top of the second, with a 1-0 lead, and gave up back-to-back, one-out singles before the Rays went back to the bullpen for left-hander Josh Fleming, who walked Victor Robles with two down to load the bases, then retired Adam Eaton to preserve the lead.
Fleming worked around a single in the third, set the side down, 1-2-3 in the fourth, and retired the Nationals in order in the fifth as well, in a 17-pitch frame which left him at 54 pitches after 3 2⁄3 scoreless.
Oliver Drake came on for the Rays in the top of the sixth, and issued a one-out walk to Juan Soto, then gave up a two-run shot to right on a first-pitch splitter to Asdrúbal Cabrera that landed on the tarp covering the outfield seats to make it 2-1 Nationals.
Down 1 on the road? Need to drive a friend home?— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2020
Call A-CAB! #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/4wXfwbQpcg
Wander Suero came on for the Nats in the bottom of the sixth and struck out two in a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Aarn Loup retired the Nationals in order in an 11-pitch top of the seventh to keep it 2-1 in the visitor’s favor.
Kyle Finnegan gave up back-to-back, one-out singles in the Rays’ half of the seventh, but he struck out Yoshi Tsutsugo with a 95 MPH 3-2 sinker, but missed up high with another sinker to Nate Lowe, walking the batter to load the bases for Manuel Margot, who grounded out to short to end a 22-pitch frame. Still 2-1 Nationals.
Ryan Sherriff worked around Jake Noll’s leadoff single for a scoreless top of the eighth.
Will Harris needed just 11 pitches in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, getting two Ks and a pop to third.
Sherriff retired the side in order in the top of the ninth to keep it close.
Daniel Hudson came on for the save opportunity and retired the the first two Rays he faced before giving up a solo shot to right on a 2-2 slider to Brandon Lowe, 2-2. Lowe’s 13th.
Carter Kieboom started the 10th at second, and scored on a Luis García home run to right-center on a first-pitch fastball from Rays’ righty Nick Anderson, 4-2. No. 2 for García.
Who wants to see 20-year-old Luis García demolish a baseball 427 feet?— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2020
P.S. He's a future Gold Glove Award winner, too.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/BafurrGSin
Kyle McGowin came on for the second save opportunity of the game, and retired the Rays in order to end it, striking out the side. Slider Man!
Final Score: 4-2 Nationals
Nationals now 18-29