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Washington Nationals drop fourth straight, 5-2 San Francisco Giants in D.C.

Davey Martinez’s club is struggling, and their fourth loss in a row leaves them 6-11 on the season ...

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Sanchez’s Nationals Debut:

Aaron Sanchez got a double play grounder out of Brandon Belt after Mike Yastrzemski got on via a shift-beating bunt single to start today’s game, but a walk to Darin Ruf, a single by Joc Pederson, and an RBI single by Brandon Crawford put the visiting San Francisco Giants up 1-0 in the first inning, in the second game of three in D.C., and in Sanchez’s debut with the Nationals, after signing in mid-March and starting at Triple-A Rochester in Washington’s system this season.

Sanchez picked Pederson off second base to end the top of the first, then proceeded to set nine-straight Giants’ batters down to keep it a 1-0 game through three and a half innings.

His streak of retired batters ended in the fifth, with a leadoff double by Wilmer Flores, who took third on a Thairo Estrada single in the next at-bat, and scored on a sac fly to left field by Luis González, 2-0, and it was 3-0 in the Giants’ favor when Estrada scored on a one-out line drive single to left-center field by Curt Casali which ended Sanchez’s outing.

Aaron Sanchez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 64 P, 43 S, 5/4 GO/FO.

Bell Exits:

Josh Bell dealt with some swelling in his left knee earlier this week, leaving Wednesday’s game in-between the third and fourth innings when he felt something was off, but a precautionary MRI came back clean, and the veteran first baseman returned to the lineup for Thursday’s finale with the D-backs and the series opener with the Giants last night.

Bell walked the first time up today, took second on a Maikel Franco single, and was then stranded at third, but though he didn’t do anything obvious to tweak anything, he left in-between innings again, with Lucius Fox coming on to play third as he did on Wednesday night, and Franco again shifting over to first base.

We’ll have to wait for an update from Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez after the game since the Nationals generally don’t release injury updates in-game...

Wood Takes Washington:

Alex Wood, a familiar face for Nationals fans, who started in the division pitching for Atlanta and has faced Washington a total of 13 times in his career with a 2.77 ERA & .254/.295/.389 line against when facing the various iterations of the Nats’ roster between his debut in 2013 and his last start against the franchise before today back in 2019.

Wood worked fast and efficiently on the mound, throwing four scoreless on just 54 pitches, and he got two outs in the fifth, before Riley Adams hit a low, 2-2 slider out to left field for a solo home run that landed in the entrance to the visitor’s bullpen, 5-1. No. 1 of 2022 for the Nationals’ backup backstop.

Victor Robles doubled in the at-bat that followed Adams’ home run, and he scored on the third straight hit, an RBI single to center field by Lane Thomas, 5-2.

Alex Wood’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 77 P, 47 S, 7/3 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Sam Clay took over on the mound for the Nationals in the top of the fifth, with one on and one out, and the lefty gave up a single by Austin Slater, then hit Brandon Belt, loading the bases in front of Darin Ruf, who grounded into a force at second, but a run scored on that play, 4-0, and 5-0 on a shift-beating single by Joc Pederson that followed.

Leadoff and one-out singles and a two-out walk loaded the bases with Giants with sidearm reliever Steve Cishek on the mound in the top of the sixth, but Brandon Belt K’d swinging at a diving 2-2 slider inside to leave’em loaded and keep it a 5-2 game after the Nationals put a couple runs on the board in the home-half of the fifth.

Maikel Franco and César Hernández hit back-to-back, two-out singles off reliever Dominic Leone in the home-half of the sixth, but Alcides Escobar lined out to a diving Austin Slater in center for out No. 3. Still 5-2 Giants.

Francisco Pérez retired the Giants in order in the top of the seventh, and Tanner Rainey got a bit of work in the eighth, with a 1-2-3 frame that kept it a 5-2 game in San Francisco’s favor.

Kyle Finnegan got the top of the ninth, retiring the Giants in order, but Giants’ closer Camilo Doval wrapped up the second straight win for the visiting team in D.C.

Nationals now 6-11