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Washington Nationals drop second straight to Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-4: Josiah Gray has one to forget

It didn’t go well for Josiah Gray going up against the club that traded him to the Nationals.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Gray Struggles vs Former Team:

Josiah Gray’s May started with six innings of one-hit, shutout ball on the mound against the San Francisco Giants in Oracle Park, but in three starts which followed, heading into his 5th start of the month and ninth start this season, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up 12 runs in 17 13 IP (6.23 ERA, 6.91 FIP, .258/.311/.591 line against).

Gray bounced back from a rough start against Houston’s Astros (6 IP, 6 H, 3 HRs, 2 BBs, 6 R) with a solid start against the Miami Marlins (6 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 R) last time out before tonight.

“I felt like I threw a lot of strikes, was in control of all my pitches,” Gray said, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco, after the start left him with a 4.36 ERA, a 5.13 FIP, 18 walks, 46 Ks, and a .233/.319/.472 line against in 43 13 IP on the year.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

“The game plan was to just attack the zone. And I think we did just that. And it was a great outing for the team and I’m glad we got the win.”

Going up against the LA Dodgers who traded him to D.C. last July 30th, Gray fell behind in the top of the first, giving up a 1-out walk to Freddie Freeman and then surrendering a two-run home run on a 2-2 fastball up high Trea Turner hit out to center field in Nationals Park, 2-0. A single and a walk in the next two at-bats extended the inning and pushed Gray into the mid-30s with his pitch count, which was up to 40 by the time he got out of a long top of the first inning.

Gray’s teammates rallied for three in the bottom of the first, but he gave up a leadoff single and a walk to the first two Dodgers he faced in the second (Chris Taylor & Gavin Lux), and Mookie Betts followed with a 3-run shot to left on an 86 MPH 1-2 slider that cleared the left field fence, 5-3 Dodgers. HR No. 11 for Betts in 2022.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

A one-out hit-by-pitch on Justin Turner and two-out, two-run home run to right by Chris Taylor put the Dodgers up 7-3, and Gray’s 21-pitch third left him at 80 pitches overall in three rough innings on the mound.

Josiah Gray’s Line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 3 HRs, 80 P, 47 S, 0/1 GO/FO.

Buehler, Buehler?:

Walker Buehler took the mound tonight unbeaten in his last five starts (4-0) with a 2.32 ERA, 2.49 FIP, six walks, 28 Ks, and a .237/.286/.297 line against in 31 IP over that stretch.

Overall on the year, the 27-year-old, six-year veteran was (5-1) in eight starts before tonight’s outing, with a 2.89 ERA, a 3.17 FIP, 12 walks, 39 Ks, and a .250/.304/.350 line against in 46 23 IP.

Buehler took the mound with a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a two-run shot by Trea Turner, but gave up a run early, with César Hernández singling, taking third on a double by Keibert Ruiz, and scoring on a groundout by Juan Soto that cut the lead in half, 2-1, and 2-2 on an oppo single by Nelson Cruz, who tried to take third on a Josh Bell single in the next at-bat, and scored when the throw in from center by Chris Taylor skipped by third baseman Justin Turner and the bag and into the third base dugout, 3-2 Nats.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Dodgers’ starter settled in after the rough first, stranding two in the second, and setting six in a row down after the first two batters in the second reached base.

He was up to nine-straight set down after a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth which left him at 58 total pitches.

Juan Soto walked with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Nelson Cruz singled to get it to Josh Bell, who lined out to center to end a 24-pitch frame, which left Buehler at 82 total on the day.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth pushed Buehler up to 92 pitches on the night, with just the three runs allowed in the first on the board for the Nationals.

Walker Buehler’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 92 P, 59 S, 10/3 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Victor Arano took over on the mound for the Nationals in the top of the fourth, and gave up the fourth home run of the game and second by Mookie Betts tonight.

Betts hit a 1-1 slider down and in out to left for a solo shot this time and an 8-3 Dodgers’ lead after three and a half in D.C.

Josh Rogers got the call in the fifth, and the left-hander threw the first scoreless inning of the night for the home team.

In the sixth, Rogers got two outs around a single, then issued three consecutive two-out walks, with the third of them forcing in a run to make it 9-3 LA.

Carl Edwards, Jr. recorded the final out of the sixth, and came back out for the seventh, and picked up two Ks in a 1-2-3 frame.

David Price took over for LA in the bottom of the seventh, and he gave up leadoff, one-out, and two-out singles, by Dee Strange-Gordon, Keibert Ruiz, and Nelson Cruz, respectively, with Cruz’s driving Strange-Gordon in to make it a 9-4 game in the Dodgers’ favor, then a double steal by Ruiz and Cruz caused a tear in the space time continuum which might be irreparable...

Nationals now 14-30