Joe Ross tossed eight scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants this afternoon in the series finale in the nation’s capital. Kyle Schwarber homered twice to lead Washington to a 5-0 victory in Nationals Park.
With the win, the home team earned a split of the four-game set with the NL West-leading Giants.
Ross vs the Giants: Joe Ross took another loss last time out when he faced the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, extending a winless start streak to seven outings, going back to April 24th.
Over that stretch, the recently-turned 28-year-old hurler has gone (0-5) overall, with the Nationals 1-6 in his starts, in which he’s posted a 4.91 ERA, 17 walks, 33 strikeouts, and a .236/.336/.394 line against.
Looking to snap that winless streak, Ross took the mound against the Giants this afternoon in the nation’s capital, and tossed a scoreless, 14-pitch first inning in which he stranded a two-out double, and he came back out for the second with a 1-0 lead and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch frame, then with the score 4-0 in the third, threw another quick, 11-pitch frame that left him at 36 total after three scoreless.
Ross was up to 44 pitches in four scoreless, and 11-straight batters set down after an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth, and he got up to 13-in-a-row retired before a two-out single by Donovan Solano in the top of the fifth snapped that streak, but a swinging K from Steven Duggar got the right-hander through five scoreless on 62 pitches.
After working around a one-out double in a 10-pitch sixth, Ross came back out for the top of the seventh and stranded a one-out single in an 18-pitch frame that left him at 90 total.
Ross returned to the mound in the eighth and worked around a one-out double in an 18-pitch frame.
Joe Ross’s Line: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 108 P, 72 S, 8/5 GO/FO.
Cueto vs the Nationals: With a loss to the Cubs last time out on the mound, Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto fell to (4-2) on the year, with a 3.70 ERA, eight walks, 40 strikeouts, and a .280/.315/.434 line against in nine starts and 48 2⁄3 IP before today.
That start left Cueto with a 3.14 ERA in five starts and 28 2⁄3 IP at home in San Francisco in 2021, but this afternoon he was back on the road, where he’d put up a 4.50 ERA over four starts and 20 IP.
At home in Oracle Park, Cueto had a .239/.276/.431 line against, but on the road this year, the 35-year-old starter had a .338/.369/.438 line against heading into today’s outing.
Would the Nationals take advantage of his struggles on the road this season?
Kyle Schwarber, leading off again, got the Nationals off to a good start, again, hitting 2-1 changeup to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard for a solo homer and a 1-0 lead after one at bat in the bottom of the first. Schwarber’s 11th of 2021.
Alex Avila singled to start the Nationals’ half of the second, and Victor Robles bunted for a hit in the next at bat, before a sac bunt from Joe Ross moved both runners up into scoring position in front of Scwhwarber, who hit his second homer in two at bats off the facade of the second deck in right field on a high, 94 MPH 1-2 fastball from Cueto that got out of the field of play in a hurry, 4-0.
Josh Harrison and Starlin Castro connected for back-to-back, two-out doubles in the fifth as the Nationals added to their lead, 5-0.
Three walks in the sixth loaded the bases and pushed Cueto up to 100 pitches total, and that was it for the right-hander’s day...
Johnny Cueto’s Line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 100 P, 60 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
Schwarbomb: Leading off in the day half of Saturday’s doubleheader, Kyle Schwarber hit a home run to right off Kevin Gausman on a 94 MPH 0-1 fastball, but with a left-hander going in the nightcap, the Nationals’ slugger moved back to the middle of the order. For today’s game, however, manager Davey Martinez put Schwarber back on top of the lineup.
“I think Schwarber likes it because like yesterday he’s a guy that can get something going right away,” Martinez explained.
Four pitches into the bottom of the first today, the Nationals had another 1-0 lead after the 11th home run of the 2021 campaign cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in right field for a leadoff blast by Schwarber, on a 2-1 changeup from Giants’ righty Johnny Cueto.
Schwarber did it again in the second, hitting a three-run shot off Cueto on a 1-2 fastball for his 12th of 2021.
So, will he lead off again tomorrow?
Kyle Schwarber's HR came on a pitch 4.19 ft above the ground, tied for the 2nd-highest pitch hit for a HR this season with Shohei Ohtani— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) June 13, 2021
Only higher pitch for a HR: 4.24 ft, by Willians Astudillo pic.twitter.com/YmRfMQpr7k
Bullpen Action: José Álvarez inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth, and got an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP out of Juan Soto to keep it 5-0 Nationals.
Jimmie Sherfy worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless seventh and came back with another scoreless frame in the eighth.
Sam Clay got the ninth for the Nationals and retired the Giants in order to end it. Ballgame.
Final Score: 5-0 Nationals
Nationals now 27-35