César Hernández and Juan Soto hit back-to-back singles off Giants’ starter Alex Cobb in the first two at-bats of today’s game. Nelson Cruz hit a playable chopper to third in the next AB, but Giants’ third baseman Jason Vosler whiffed on it, and the ball bounced out into left field for what was ruled an RBI double* and a 1-0 Nationals’ lead.
* = the call was correctly changed to an E:5 before the first inning was over.
One out later, a two-run line drive to center by Yadiel Hernández drove in Soto and Franco to make it 3-0.
Keibert Ruiz and Victor Robles took back-to-back, two-out walks, to load the bases in front of Lucius Fox, and a balk brought Hernández in from third, 4-0, then Fox sent one rolling out to short slowly enough Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford didn’t have any shot at the out at first, 5-0. Fox’s first MLB hit.
César Hernández took a 2-out walk from Cobb to load the bases back up, and that was it for the Giants’ starter, who gave up five hits, three walks, and five runs in 2⁄3 of an inning, with a total of 40 pitches thrown to 10 batters faced.
Alex Cobb’s Line: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 Ks, 40 P, 22 S, 1/1 GO/FO.
Gray vs Giants:
Talking with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last Wednesday, the morning after Josiah Gray gave up seven hits, three walks, and four earned runs, striking out 10 of 27 hitters he faced in a 98-pitch, 5 2⁄3 inning-outing against the Miami Marlins, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said the start was a good example of the progress the 24-year-old pitchers had made since the July 30, 2021 trade which brought him over from Los Angeles.
“He’s got a chance to be a real force for us down the road,” Rizzo told the Junkies, “and I think you can see he’s learning something and improving each and every time out there.”
While noting there were things he’d have liked to have done differently, Gray said he was happy with the outing overall, especially the first time through the order.
“For the most part I thought I was in command of the game, command of my fastball, my breaking balls, and definitely a lot of positives,” he told reporters.
“First time through was great in terms of first-pitch strike, things like that, and just look to build on that for the next outing.”
Going up against the San Francisco Giants this afternoon in Oracle Park, Gray took the hill with a 5-0 lead, and retired the first seven batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Jason Krizan in the bottom of the third, but two outs later, the first runner to reach base on him in the series finale was stranded at second base.
Gray worked around a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth, completing four scoreless on 58 pitches, but gave up a two-out singles and back-to-back walks in the fifth inning that loaded the bases for Giants’ right fielder Darin Ruf, who K’d swinging over a 1-2 slider low and out of the zone for out No. 3 of a 13-pitch frame which left the Nationals’ starter at 81 pitches overall.
Gray returned to the mound for a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth, and was done for the day after six scoreless in which he gave up just one hit and four walks.
Josiah Gray’s Line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 93 P, 50 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Victor Robles 1 for 1 with a walk today after bunting his way on in the third, and 7 for 9 with a double and two walks in the three-game series in Oracle Park to that point, after going 7 for 46 in his first 18 games this season.
It didn’t just start this weekend, however, as the Nationals highlighted in the pregame notes for the series finale with the Giants:
“Across his last 13 games [before today], Victor Robles has recorded a .342/.390/.474 slash line...He is 13-for-38 with five doubles, seven RBI, three walks and eight runs scored across the 13 games...Robles has hit safely in eight of the 13 and reached base safely in nine of them.”
Robles was 2 for 3 on the day after he drove Yadiel Hernández in in the seventh to put the Nats up 8-0.
Lefty Sam Long took over for the Giants in the first, with the bases loaded, and two out, and struck Juan Soto out with a filthy 1-2 changeup, but it was 5-0 Nationals after a 1/2-inning of play in the series finale.
Jarlín García was the second lefty out of the pen for San Francisco, taking over on the hill in the top of the fourth and retired the side in order, and he was replaced by Yunior Marte with two out in the fifth, after giving up a single by Keibert Ruiz, who was stranded at first base.
Yadiel Hernández (2 for 3) doubled off Tyler Beede to lead off the top of the seventh, and he scored two outs later on an RBI single by Victor Robles (2 for 3), 8-0.
Victor Arano took over on the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh and gave up back-to-back singles by Thairo Estrada and Jason Vosler and a one-out, bases-loading walk to Joey Bart before an RBI single by Luis González drove in the Giants’ first run, 8-1.
Kyle Finnegan took over for Arano with the bases still loaded, and walked Darin Ruf on five pitches to force in a run, 8-2, and then 8-3, when a run scored as the Nats failed to turn a potential inning-ending double play on Wilmer Flores’s grounder to short. Another walk in the inning loaded the bases back up and ended Finnegan’s outing.
Steve Cishek took over and gave up a two-run liner to right by Mike Ford, 8-5, before he got the final out of the inning, mercifully.
César Hernández walked, Juan Soto singled, and Josh Bell got the intentionals an out later, loading the bases in front of Yadiel Hernández, who lined a 92 MPH 2-1 fastball from lefty Jake McGee to deep center to clear the bases and make it an 11-5 game in the Nats’ favor. Hernández’s 2nd double of the game left him 3 for 4 with two runs scored and 5 RBIs.
Cishek retired the Giants in order in the eighth, and Tanner Rainey finished it off with a scoreless ninth. Ballgame. 11-5 Nationals.
Nationals now 8-16