Saturday’s game in American Family Field was tied up at 4-4 after seven and a half innings, but the Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of a catcher’s interference call, single, and hit-by-pitch, loading the bases before a second hit batter forced in a run and put the Nationals behind by one.
With the bases still loaded, Javy Guerra, gave up a grand slam that put Washington behind by five, 9-4, but they still battled back in the top of the ninth, with a walk, single, and walk loading the bases before a one-out single by Carter Kieboom drove in a run, 9-5, and then 9-6 on a bases-loaded, two-out walk by Tres Barrera.
That’s how it ended though.
“You know the big thing is — I give our guys credit, we fell back, we gave up the grand slam, and they battled back,” Davey Martinez said, after the loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Nationals.
“We had the winning run up at the plate,” he continued, “so I love the way that they’re just battling every day. It’s unfortunate that we made a couple mistakes, as I talk about always, sometimes the little things are going to get you and they got us today.”
Little things like four hit batters, two walks, the call on Barrera for catcher’s interference, and lapse on defense that allowed Kolten Wong to score from third base on a pop-up off first, close to the on-deck circle on the first base side, when no one covered home on an out that Ryan Zimmerman caught.
“The walks, the hit batsmen, the interference, not covering home plate, those things, those are the little things that we need to get better at. It’s all the little things,” Martinez said.
“These guys, they’re playing well, they’re doing well, but when we do all the little things right we’re on top of these guys, and today it just didn’t happen.”
If you’re looking for positives, the Nationals’ top three: Lane Thomas, Alcides Escobar, and Juan Soto were a combined 6 for 10 with four runs scored, and four walks, with Thomas 2 for 3 with two walks and three runs in his third start in five games since being called up by the club following the deadline deal with St. Louis that sent Jon Lester to the Cardinals.
“He’s getting an opportunity to play and he’s going out there and playing the game the right way,” Martinez said.
“I talked about it yesterday. He’s working good at bats, a couple walks for us today, a couple big hits for us today, playing good defense.
“I love his attitude, I love his work ethic, he’s doing well, so like I said, I want to get him out there, I want him to play, and so far he’s done well.”
Thomas is back out there again this afternoon, for the series finale in Milwaukee.