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Washington Nationals sweep two-game set with Tampa Bay Rays with 5-3 win in D.C.

Aníbal Sánchez put together a solid outing and the Nats beat the Rays 5-3 for two in a row in the nation’s capital.

Photo used with permission of rights holder.
Photo used with permission of rights holder.

Aníbal Sánchez tossed five scoreless innings vs the Tampa Bay Rays before running into a bit of trouble in the fifth, and he gave up one run while he was on the mound and had the two runners he left on come around, but it was a solid start for the Washington Nationals’ righty, in what ended up a 5-3 win which gave the home team a sweep in their two-game set in the nation’s capital.

Sánchez vs the Rays: Aníbal Sánchez didn’t make it out of the fourth last time out, when he went up against the Phillies on the road in Citizens Bank Park. The 36-year-old starter threw a total of 74 pitches to the 20 Philly batters he faced, giving up eight hits and four runs, just one earned, but was out early when the Nationals’ NL East rivals pushed his pitch count up.

“My command I think was there,” Sánchez said. “It’s hard when everything is coming out good. I think every contact that they did today, they found a hole.”

Sánchez retired the first five batters he faced tonight, before giving up a two-out walk to Manuel Margot, who took third on a weak grounder by Kevin Kiermaier in the next at bat, with Kiermaier reaching on a throwing error by Carter Kieboom, who bounced the throw from third. A two-out walk to Willy Adames loaded the bases with Rays, but Sánchez got catcher Michael Perez to chase a slider out of the zone for out No. 3 of a 22-pitch frame.

Sánchez retired the Rays in order in a 14-pitch third, then worked around a two-out hit in an 11-pitch fourth which left him at 59 pitches, with a 4-0 lead. A 15-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left him at 74 total, and the 36-year-old, 15-year veteran returned to the mound in the sixth and let the first two runners on with a single by Brandon Lowe and hit-by-pitch on Randy Arozarena.

Ji-Man Choi lined a single to right in the next at bat, and Lowe scored from second ahead of a throw in from Adam Eaton, 4-1 Nationals. That was it for Sánchez...

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 88 P, 50 S, 6/2 GO/FO.

Yarbrough vs the Nationals: Rays’ lefty Ryan Yarbrough was (0-2) in seven starts with a 3.65 ERA, nine walks, 26 Ks, and a .248/.310/.390 line against in 37 IP before he landed on the IL with groin tightness after an August 28th start.

In the nation’s capital tonight, the southpaw was going up against a Nationals’ club that had a combined .302/.350/.523 line versus left-handers, good for 1st/4th/2nd amongst MLB’s 30 teams.

Yarbrough was looking to break a streak of 15-straight appearances (all starts) without a win, which stretched back to August 11, 2019.

Yarbrough gave up a run in the first, hitting Victor Robles, who moved to second on a sac bunt by Adam Eaton, and after Trea Turner walked, pulled a double steal with Juan Soto at the plate, before scoring on Soto’s swinging bunt towards the left side, 1-0 Nationals.

Brock Holt (who improved to 11 for 17 in his last five games) doubled to right with two out in the Nationals’ half of the second, and scored on an RBI double to left by Carter Kieboom, 2-0, on Kieboom’s first extra base hit of the season.

Trea Turner doubled with one down in the third, Juan Soto singled, and Yarbrough hit Kurt Suzuki, loading the bases in front of Asdrúbal Cabrera, who hit a sac fly to left to bring in a third run, 3-0, and Josh Harrison singled to right to keep the train moving and make it 4-0.

Brock Holt stepped in next and improved to 12 for 18 in his last five with an opposite field single to left, loading them up, before righty Aaron Slegers came on for Yarbrough, and popped Kieboom up for out No. 3.

Ryan Yarbrough’s Line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 70 P, 43 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

HoltBeast/BrockStar?: Brock Holt started the night 10 for 16 over his last four games, and picked up hits in each of first two at bats against Rays’ lefty Ryan Yarbrough, improving to [checks maths] 12 for 18 in the last five games.

Holt finished the night 2 for 4 with a run scored.

BULLPEN ACTION: Aaron Slegers recorded the final out of the bottom of the third, leaving the bases loaded after inheriting a jam from the Rays’ starter, and returned to the mound in the home-half of the fourth and stranded two in a 23-pitch frame.

Slegers needed just 10 pitches in a quick, 1-2-3 fifth.

Wander Suero came on for the Nationals after three straight Rays reached in the top of the sixth and the visitor’s scored their first run, 4-1. Suero gave up an RBI double to left field by Yoshii Tsutsugo, 4-2. A swinging K from Kevin Kiermaier got Suero out No. 2, but a cross-up on a 2-2 curve let the Rays’ third run in on what was ruled a wild pitch, 4-3.

Suero walked Willy Adames to put runners on the corners with two out, but Michael Perez lined out to left to end the inning with the Nationals still ahead by one, 4-3.

Slegers returned to the mound in the sixth and hit Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles in the first two at bats of the inning. Adam Eaton bunted both runners over/gave up an out, to set Trea Turner up with an opportunity with two runners in scoring position. Turner cashed it in on a swinging bunt, 5-3.

Sean Doolittle retired the Rays in order in a 10-pitch seventh to keep it a two-run game.

Ryan Thompson set the Nationals down in order in an 18-pitch bottom of the seventh.

Tanner Rainey struck out two in a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth.

John Curtiss worked around a two-out double for a scoreless top of the ninth.

Daniel Hudson came on for the save opportunity and worked around a one-out single for a scoreless frame. Ballgame.

Final Score: 5-3 Nationals

Nationals now 16-25