Davey Martinez’s club dropped both ends of the doubleheader with the Milwaukee Brewers on a rainy Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The Nationals jumped out to 1-0 and 2-1 leads early in the nightcap in Nationals Park, but then gave runs right back each time, and the Brew Crew battled for a 6-2 win which gave them the series with one more to play tomorrow afternoon.
Lester vs the Nationals: Winless in his first five starts with the Nationals, with a 5.33 ERA and a .295/.358/.495 line against in 25 1⁄3 IP so far this season, Jon Lester’s 2021 season hasn’t gotten off to the best start, especially considering he had surgery this spring and ended up on the COVID-IL before Opening Day.
In his last two starts before tonight’s, Lester, 37, gave up 13 hits and 11 runs (all earned in 9 1⁄3 IP) in a 7-3 loss to the Cubs and a 12-9 win over the Orioles.
Going for his first curly-W tonight, Lester tossed two scoreless on 30 pitches to start, giving up just two singles in the first two frames, and he stranded two runners, after back-to-back, two-out hits, in the Brewers’ third.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with before he returned to the mound in the fourth, Lester gave up a leadoff double to left by Lorenzo Cain, who scored one out later on an RBI single to left by Luis Urías, 1-1.
Jon Lester’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 74 P, 50 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Anderson vs the Nationals: Following back-to-back wins in his second and third starts of the year for the Brewers, lefty Brett Anderson was winless in four outings going into the nightcap of the doubleheader in National Park tonight, having given up a total of 17 hits and nine runs in just 12 IP over that stretch, for a 6.75 ERA, with a .340/.393/.640 line against in those appearances.
A leg injury in a late April outing limited the southpaw’s time on the mound in the starts that followed, but he went five innings last time out before tonight, holding Cincinnati to two runs, both on solo home runs, in a 65-pitch effort against the Reds in Great American Ball Park.
Tonight in Nationals Park, Anderson held the Nationals to three hits through three innings, but two of those hits were doubles by Ryan Zimmerman, the second an RBI hit that drove Trea Turner in from second to give the home team a 1-0 lead after three.
Anderson was up to 70 pitches after giving up the run in the third, and he had two runners reach base in the fourth, when Yan Gomes singled and Jordy Mercer followed with a roller out to third on which Luis Urías threw wide of second, before Mercer beat the relay to first. A walk to pinch hitter Josh Bell loaded them up and ended the starter’s outing...
Brett Anderson’s Line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 85 P, 46 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
Don’t Run On Yan: Lorenzo Cain was 4 for 4 in stolen base attempts this season before he tried to run on Nationals’ catcher Yan Gomes after singling to lead off the second inning in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader.
Gomes had thrown out 9 of 20 would-be base stealers before Cain’s attempt, and he made it 10 of 21 (48%) with a strong throw to second that beat the runner to the bag so that Jordy Mercer could tag him out and take the man off the basepaths for starter Jon Lester.
Luis Urías did manage to swipe a bag on Gomes in the fourth (10 for 22, 45% CS%), but that is still a pretty good mark.
Bullpen Action: Brad Boxberger inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from starter Brett Anderson. Trea Turner stepped in and sent a grounder up the middle that hopped on the shortstop, Willy Adames, and got into center, allowing a run to score. Josh Bell tried to go over to third on the play, but Jordy Mercer had stopped at third, leaving Bell stuck for out No. 2.
Turner stole second with Juan Soto up, so the Brewers put Soto on, and Ryan Zimmerman stepped in next and lined out (hard) to center to leave’em loaded, 2-1 Nationals.
Wander Suero came on for the Nationals in the fifth and gave up back-to-back hits, a single to center by Christian Yelich, which Josh Harrison bobbled, allowing Yelich to take second, and an RBI double by Kolten Wong, 2-2.
Trea Turner made a slick toss to third on a grounder to short in the next at bat, throwing behind the runner and catching Wong off the bag, and then, with Daniel Hudson on for Suero, Turner helped turn a slick, pirouetting double play on an Avisaíl García ground ball to second in the next at bat, 4-6-3 with a high degree of difficulty.
Brent Suter came on for Milwaukee in the bottom of the fifth and worked around a one-out single by Starlin Castro to keep it tied.
Hudson returned to the mound in the sixth, with the score still tied, 2-2, and walked Lorenzo Cain to start the inning, and one out later, Luis Urías doubled to left to put the Brewers up a run, 3-2.
After a walk to Travis Shaw, Urías took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly to center by Jackie Bradley, Jr., 4-2.
Sam Clay came on for Hudson with a runner on and two out and walked Christian Yelich in front of Kolten Wong, whose RBI single brought Travis Shaw in.
Willy Adames’s RBI double to left made it 6-2 before Clay got the Nationals out of the top of the sixth.
Devin Williams took over for the visitors in the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back singles by Andrew Stevenson and pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández, but Trea Turner flew out to right, Juan Soto K’d on a check-swing strike three, and Ryan Zimmerman, who K’d swinging to end the threat.
Paolo Espino got the top of the seventh for the Nationals and worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless frame.
Eric Yardley gave up a shift-beating single to left by Kyle Schwarber in the first at bat of the Nats’ seventh, but he was forced out at second on a Starlin Castro grounder to short. Josh Harrison grounded into another force at second for out No. 2, and Yan Gomes fell behind 0-2 quickly and grounded into the third force of the inning. That’s a wrap.
Final Score: 6-2 Brewers
Nationals now 21-27