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Washington Nationals earn split of two-game set with Toronto Blue Jays with 8-2 win down in Dunedin...

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Erick Fedde leads Nationals in 8-2 win over Blue Jays for a split in Dunedin, FL.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Erick Fedde tossed six strong in which he gave up just one run. Josh Harrison hit a three-run home run. Josh Bell hit a two-run opposite field blast. Trea Turner went 4 for 5 with two runs scored. What else, what else? Ryan Zimmeran had a two-hit game. Did we mention Fedde?

It was a good night for the Nationals, and a rare blowout-ish 8-2 win, as they earned a split of the two-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL’s TD Ballpark.

Now it’s back to D.C. for three with the Miami Marlins starting on Friday night...

Fedde vs the Jays: After a rough initial outing this season, Erick Fedde has settled into his spot in the Nationals’ rotation, with a 3.07 ERA, five walks, 17 Ks, and a .192/.276/.269 line against in his last three starts and 14 23 IP.

“He’s learning,” manager Davey Martinez said after Fedde gave up three runs on four hits and two walks last time out. “And his stuff the last three outings has been really good.

“I think he pitched well, for the most part he kept us in the game, and that’s all you can ask.”

The next step for Fedde?

“Longer outings,” Fedde said after averaging just over four innings per start in his first four outings this year. “Getting through that lineup not just through five innings, you know, just continuing to pitch successfully late in the games.”

Tonight in Dunedin, FL, the 2014 1st Round pick worked around a walk for two scoreless on 39 pitches, and took the mound in the third with a 3-0 lead and walked the first batter and gave up a two-out double by Bo Bichette, which sent catcher Danny Jansen around to third before an intentional walk to Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. loaded the bases. A ground ball to short by Randal Grichuk ended a 21-pitch frame which left Fedde at 60 after three scoreless.

It was 6-0 when Fedde returned to the mound in the fourth, and picked up two Ks in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame, and 8-0 in the fifth when Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. hit an 0-1 sinker out of the park for a leadoff blast that got the Jays on the board, 8-1. Gurriel’s 1st of 2021.

An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth, in which he picked up his seventh K from 23 batters faced, ended Fedde’s outing...

Erick Fedde’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 59 S, 5/1 GO/FO.

Matz vs the Nats: Acquired from the New York Mets over the winter, Steven Matz, 29, had impressed in his first four outings with the Blue Jays, going (4-0) with a 2.31 ERA, 3.23 FIP, eight walks, 25 Ks, and a .169/.250/.289 line against in 23 13 IP in those outings. His new team noted his background against the Nationals going into tonight’s start, however.

Taking on the Nationals for the 16th time in his career (15th start),” the Jays’ Game Notes mentioned, “... holding a 4.83 ERA (41 ER/76.1 IP) over those appearances.

“Went 0-2 (3 starts) in 2020 against the Nats, giving up 16 ER and 7 HR over 10.1 combined innings (13.94 ERA).

“Allowed a career-high 8 ER over 4.1 IP in his last home start vs. Washington (8/10/20).”

Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said though his club knew Matz well from his time in New York, the pitcher was a different one than the last time they saw him.

“He’s been good,” Martinez told reporters. “He’s been actually attacking the strike zone with all his pitches, locating his fastball really, really well. He’s going to be a tough opponent. We know that. I explained to the guys he’s a little bit different than he was, like I said, he’s attacking the strike zone with all his pitches. We got to be ready, we’ve got to get the ball kind of up a little bit and be ready to hit and hit the fastball.”

Matz tossed two scoreless on 29 pitches to start tonight’s game, but back-to-back singles by Victor Robles and Trea Turner started the third, and a hit-by-pitch on Josh Harrison put runners on every base in front of Ryan Zimmerman, destroyer of lefties, who sent one out into left field (via the 5-6-hole) to drive in two runs for a 2-0 lead.

Starlin Castro followed with a single up the middle that brought Harrison around, 3-0.

Victor Robles walked and Trea Turner singled on a pop to center with one out in the fourth, and Josh Harrison homered in the next at bat, hitting an 0-1 changeup out to center to get three more on the board, 6-0 Nationals. Harrison’s 2nd of 2021.

Steven Matz’s Line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 80 P, 54 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

Ring That Bell: Davey Martinez moved Josh Bell to 6th in the lineup for tonight’s game, in the hope that shaking things up and moving him out of the middle of the lineup might be beneficial for the slugger who started the night in an 0 for 17 slump.

“I kind of wanted to bump Josh Bell down in the lineup a little bit just to kind of get his mind off of stuff, and just let him go out there and just see the baseball and have some fun.”

Home runs are fun. Bell was 0 for 2 (and 0 for 19) after his first two trips to the plate, but in the fifth, the 28-year-old hit a 94 MPH 2-1 fastball from Ty Tice out to left-center for his 2nd homer of the season, a two-run opposite field home run that made it an 8-0 Nationals’ lead.

Bullpen Action: Ty Tice took over for Toronto with two out in the top of the fourth and got the final out of the inning, then returned to the mound in the top of the fifth and walked Kyle Schwarber to start the frame, before giving up a two-run opposite field home run by Josh Bell, whose second of the season made it an 8-0 game in the Nationals’ favor.

Trea Turner was 4 for 4 on the night after doubling to right to lead off the sixth, but Tice stranded him at the end of a scoreless frame.

Travis Bergen came on for the Jays in the seventh and worked around a HBP on Kyle Schwarber for a scoreless frame.

Sam Clay worked a scoreless, 14-pitch seventh, stranding two Blue Jays to keep it an 8-1 game in the Nationals’ favor.

Jordan Romano retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.

Daniel Hudson was greeted rudely by Bo Bichette, who hit a first-pitch slider out to left-center field for a leadoff home run in the bottom of the eighth, 8-2 Nationals.

Joel Payamps got the top of the ninth for the Jays and worked around a leadoff single by Ryan Zimmerman.

Brad Hand got some work in the bottom of the ninth, and retired the Blue Jays in order to end it. Ballgame.

Final Score: 8-2 Nationals

Nationals now 9-12