Joan Adon made the most of his opportunity in his MLB debut in Game 162, holding Boston to six hits, three walks, and two earned runs in 5 1⁄3 innings pitched.
Washington’s 23-year-old right-hander left the mound with the Nationals up 5-1 on the Red Sox in the finale of the regular season, but the bullpen coughed up the lead again with the visitors scoring one in the sixth and three in the seventh to tie things up at 5-5.
It was still tied in the top of the ninth, when Kyle Finnegan gave up a two-run shot to center by Rafael Devers that was the difference in a 7-5 win for the Red Sox...
Adon vs the Sox: In 21 starts and 105 innings pitched across three levels of the Washington Nationals’ system this season (most of them — 17 GS/87 IP at High-A), 23-year-old right-hander Joan Adon put up a 4.97 ERA, 40 walks, and 122 Ks, and the pitcher, who signed for $50K out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2016, got a chance to throw at a fourth level in one year when he was called up today to make his MLB debut in the series and season finale with the Red Sox in D.C.
“He’s been really good, he really has all year long,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said in his pregame Zoom call with reporters last night.
“He’s thrown the ball well. He changed a little bit of his mechanics as well, and he’s really throwing the ball well.”
Adon took the mound this afternoon and worked around a one-out walk in a 13-pitch top of the first, and he took the mound with a 1-0 lead in the second and worked his way out of a two-on, no-out situation, striking out a pair of Red Sox’ hitters before getting a groundout to third on his 16th pitch of the frame.
Three Ks around a walk in an 18-pitch third pushed Adon up to 47 pitches, with 6 Ks from 12 batters faced, but with the score 2-0 in the Nationals’ favor in the fourth, Rafael Devers hit a 1-2 sinker outside out to left-center for a leadoff home run that cut the Nats’ lead in half, 2-1 after three and a half innings.
A one-out walk and single in the top of the fifth earned Adon a mound visit from Jim Hickey, the Nationals’ pitching coach, as the bullpen got hopping out in right field, and a wild pitch on his next offering moved both of the runners into scoring position, but Kyle Schwarber hit a weak grounder to first for out No. 2, failing to advance the runner from third, and a Xander Bogaerts’ grounder to third ended a 14-pitch frame. Still 2-1 Nats.
Adon came back out for the sixth with a 5-1 lead, and gave up back-to-back, one-out singles before the Nationals went to the bullpen...
Joan Adon’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 57 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
Sale vs the Nats: Red Sox’ lefty Chris Sale had Tommy John surgery in March of 2020, but he returned to the mound this past July, and returned to the majors in mid-August, though he was diagnosed with COVID in September, missing some more time, but overall in eight starts since he’s been back in Boston’s rotation, the southpaw had a 2.90 ERA, a 3.83 FIP, nine walks, 45 Ks, and a .263/.320/.410 line against in 40 1⁄3 IP heading into today’s start.
Last time out of the mound before today, Sale, 32, suffered his first loss of the season, giving up four hits, a walk, and three earned runs in 5 1⁄3 IP.
Going up against the Nationals today, Sale struck out the side in an 18-pitch first, but Josh Bell doubled to start the bottom of the second and scored one out later on a Jordy Mercer double to left field, 1-0. No. 24 for Bell. Double No. 7 for Mercer.
Have Mercy!— MLB (@MLB) October 3, 2021
Jordy Mercer gives the Nationals the lead. pic.twitter.com/YltlCl2Crl
A leadoff walk by Lane Thomas, single by Alcides Escobar, and a one-out hit by Josh Bell in the bottom of the third loaded the bases in front of Ryan Zimmerman, who took a free pass to force in the second run of the game, 2-0. That was it for Sale...
Chris Sale’s Line: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 62 P, 37 S, 0/0 GO/FO.
We’re not crying, Zim’s crying...
Bullpen Action: Hirokazu Sawamura took over for the Sox with the bases loaded and one out after a walk to Ryan Zimmerman put the Nationals up 2-0, and the right-hander got a double play out of Jordy Mercer to end the threat and keep it close.
It was a 2-1 game when Sawamura worked around a one-out double by Carter Kieboom in a scoreless bottom of the fourth.
Garrett Richards got the ball in the fifth and a double by Alcides Escobar and walks to Juan Soto (IBB) and Josh Bell (UBB) loaded the bases in front of Ryan Zimmerman (again?) but a swinging K on a high 1-2 heater passed the opportunity on to Jordy Mercer, whose grounder back to the mound brought in run No. 3, 3-1.
Alex Avila, in his final game in the majors, doubled to right in the next at-bat to drive in two more and make it 5-1 Nationals.
Patrick Murphy took over for the Nationals with two on and one out in the top of the sixth, and got a fly to right for out No. 2, but it moved one runner (José Iglesias) to third, and he scored on a grounder up the middle in the next at-bat, an infield single for Sox’ backstop Christian Vazquez that made it a 5-2 game.
Red Sox’ lefty Martín Pérez worked around a two-out walk to Alcides Escobar in a scoreless bottom of the sixth.
Erick Fedde gave up three straight one-out singles and a run in the top of the seventh, 5-3 Nationals, and Alex Verdugo drove in two more with a double to right field as the Sox tied things up at 5-5.
Andres Machado took over to get the final out of the inning.
Garrett Whitlock retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Machado returned to the mound in the top of the eighth and retired the side in order.
Eduardo Rodriguez made quick work of the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth.
Kyle Finnegan got the ball in the top of the ninth, with the score still tied at 5-5, and had a runner reach on an error by Jordy Mercer before Rafael Devers went deep again, hitting a two-run shot to center that put the Red Sox up, 7-5. No. 37 for Devers.
Jhon Romero took over for the Nationals and finished up the top of the ninth.
Former Nats’ prospect Nick Pivetta came on for the Sox, and retired the side in order to end it, catching Juan Soto looking [gasp] for out No. 3.
Final Score: 7-5 Red Sox
Nationals finish 65-97