Jon Lester tossed seven scoreless on 81 pitches, striking out a season-high seven batters without walking any, and he hit a 419-foot, two-run home run to center field in Nationals Park, driving in the 11th and 12th runs of the game in an 18-0 win for Washington in the first game of their three-game series with the Miami Marlins this week.
Trea Turner tripled to drive in a run, Juan Soto hit a two-run shot to left, Josh Bell homered to left field, Tres Barrera hit his first MLB HR, Turner hit a two-run shot, Josh Harrison hit an RBI double, Gerardo Parra drove in a run with a single, Lester homered, and pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández drove in the 13th run with an RBI single in the seventh, Jordy Mercer hit a bases-loaded, two-run single later in that inning, 15-0, before Soto hit a three-run homer to make it a clean 18-0. It ended up 18-1.
Lester vs MIA: In his last four outings, after a solid five-start stretch in which he gave up two earned runs or fewer in each turn in the rotation, Jon Lester has struggled mightily, allowing 27 hits, 11 walks, and 25 runs, 17 earned in 13 1⁄3 IP (11.48 ERA) with opposing hitters putting a combined .409/.481/.682 line up against him over that stretch, which included an outing in Miami against the same Marlins he was facing tonight in the nation’s capital.
Pitching on the road in loanDepot park, the veteran lefty lasted just 2 1⁄3 innings, giving up five hits, three walks, and seven earned runs in an 11-2 loss to the Fish.
Last time out before tonight, Lester gave up nine hits, two walks, and eight runs, just three earned, and afterwards his manager gave him a show of support in saying that the 37-year-old would remain in the rotation in spite of his struggles.
Looking to bounce back and start the second half strong, Lester tossed a relatively quick, 15-pitch first, then came back out for the second with a 4-0 lead, and retired the side in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame, and it was 10-0 after two, when he threw a scoreless, 12-pitch inning, working around a two-out double, before retiring the Marlins in order in an eight-pitch top of the fourth, which left him at 48 pitches after four scoreless frames.
Lester was up to 59 pitches in five scoreless after working around two hits in the fifth, and he hit a two-run home run to center in the bottom of the inning, then came back out in the sixth and retired the side in order, picking up his season-high seventh K in a 13-pitch frame which left him at 72 total.
A nine-pitch seventh in which he stranded two batters ended Lester’s best start of the year, so far...
Jon Lester’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 81 P, 59 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Detwiler in D.C.: Ross Detwiler got the nod as the starter/opener for the Marlins tonight, in his fifth start of the season with the Fish.
A 2007 1st Round pick (6th overall) by the Nationals, Detwiler took the mound tonight in his one-time home with a 4.19 ERA, a 3.70 FIP, 13 walks, 41 Ks, and a in 34 1⁄3 IP so far in his 13th MLB campaign.
Four batters into the bottom of the first inning, Detwiler and the Marlins were down 4-0, with a leadoff single by Alcides Escobar, an RBI triple by Trea Turner, a two-run, opposite field home run by Juan Soto, and a solo shot to left field by Josh Bell before an out was recorded in the home-half of the opening frame.
Tres Barrera led off the second with his first MLB home run, 5-0, and Jon Lester singled and Alcides Escobar reached via HBP in the at bats that followed, setting Trea Turner up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in with a three-run shot to left field, 8-0, and that was it for Det...
Tres Barrera gets a brutal silent treatment after his first big league home run pic.twitter.com/mzdKif1ZbC— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) July 19, 2021
Ross Detwiler’s Line: 1.0 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks, 4 HRs, 38 P, 22 S, 0/2 GO/FO.
Soto Swinging It: Juan Soto started the night 7 for 13 (.538 AVG) with a double, three home runs, six RBIs, two walks, and five runs scored three games into the so-called “second-half” of the 2021 campaign, and he’d reached base in 29 of 31 games going back to June 13th, with a .433 OBP (38 hits &, 21 walks) over that stretch, as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes for tonight’s game, and Soto homered the first time up to make it 30 of 32 games in which he’s reached base since 6/13. He finished the night 3 for 4 with two homers and 5 RBIs.
Bullpen Action: Right-hander David Hess took over for Ross Detwiler in the bottom of the second inning, and gave up a double by Juan Soto and, one out later, an RBI double to left field by Josh Harrison, 9-0 Nationals, and 10-0 on an RBI single by Gerardo Parra.
Hess worked around a leadoff walk to Juan Soto in a scoreless bottom of the fourth, but he gave up a one-out single by Gerardo Parra in the fifth, and one out later, Jon Lester hit a 92 MPH 1-0 fastball out to center field for a bomb of a 419-foot home run that put the Nats up 12-0 after five.
Jon Lester is the oldest pitcher (37 years old) to homer in a game since Bartolo Colon did it on May 7th, 2016 against the Padres at 42 years old. pic.twitter.com/syrjGfBK5m— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 20, 2021
Marlins’ righty Andrew Bellatti took over in the bottom of the sixth and kept the Nationals off of the board.
Gerardo Parra doubled, Tres Barrera singled, and Yadiel Hernández hit an RBI single to make it 13-0 Nats in the seventh, and Jordy Mercer hit a bases-loaded, two-run single to drive in a couple more, 15-0, before Bellatti was lifted. Sandy León came on to pitch for the Fish, and gave up a three-run shot by Juan Soto, 18-0. Soto’s 2nd of the game and 16th of the season.
Wander Suero got the eighth for the Nationals and gave up a home run by Miguel Rojas, 18-1.
Jefry Rodríguez came on to end it in the ninth, with a 17-run lead, and worked around a single to wrap it up...
Final Score: 18-1
Nationals now 44-49