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Washington Nationals blow lead in 9th, lose 5-4 to Los Angeles Angels on walk-off single by Anthony Rendon...

Tanner Rainey took the mound in the 9th with a 4-2 lead, and gave up three runs, 5-4 Angels...

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Fedde vs LAA:

“I feel like a lot of soft contacts were hits today, and then I gave up a million hard-hit balls that were outs, so I’ll take what I can get,” Erick Fedde told reporters after giving up just a run on six hits over seven innings on the mound in Coors Field last time out before facing the Los Angeles Angels this afternoon in Anaheim Stadium.

“I thought I was ahead of a ton of counts,” the 29-year-old right-hander continued, “... and winning 1-1 counts as well — just something that I had been struggling with — and falling behind hitters in the last couple start prior.”

He also made some adjustments to deal with the elements pitching in the Mile High city of Denver, CO.

“I mean there’s some numbers that say certain pitches work better than others,” Fedde said.

“I mean today, I don’t think I got to my glove side all day, but I thought my sinker and cutter were really effective — and just kind of ran with them — and told myself keep the ball on the ground for the most part.”

Fedde generated 13 ground ball outs in Coors Field.

This afternoon in Angel Stadium, Fedde walked Mike Trout with one down, gave up a single by Anthony Rendon, and a base-loading, two-out walk to Jared Walsh, but got a force out at second on a grounder to short by Max Stassi for out No. 3 of a 23-pitch bottom of the first.

Fedde retired the Angels in order in a quick, seven-pitch second, and took the mound in the third with a 1-0 lead, but ran into trouble. Taylor Ward and Shohei Ohtani took leadoff and 1-out walks, respectively, and after a force at second on dazzling play by Alcides Escobar on a hard-hit, one-hop ground ball by Anthony Rendon, there were runners on first and third with two out when Jared Walsh sent a grounder back to the mound for out No. 3.

With a one-out walk and single in the fourth, Fedde had to work through a 21-pitch frame to keep it a 1-0 game, and he needed 19 pitches in a 1-2-3 fifth which saw him retire Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon in order, leaving him at 97 pitches overall on the day...

Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 97 P, 53 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

Sandoval vs Nationals:

Going into this afternoon’s series finale against the Angels and southpaw Patrick Sandoval, Nationals’ hitters had a combined .258/.351/.402 line against left-handed pitchers this year, good for 4th/4th/5th across the line amongst NL teams in the first month-plus of the 2022 campaign.

Sandoval, 25, took the mound with a 1.29 ERA, a 2.27 FIP, nine walks, 22 strikeouts, and a .200/.282/.240 line against in four starts and 21 IP on the season, in spite of the fact that hitters had a .526 AVG on his fastball (which he’d thrown 32.2% of the time before today). However, his change (25.7%; .000 BAA), slider (20.5%; .160 BAA); sinker (10.8%; .143 BAA), and curveball (10.8%; .000 BAA) read as pretty unhittable on his Baseball Savant page.

The left-hander tossed two scoreless to start, on 21 pitches, but a one-out walk and back-to-back singles in the Nats’ third loaded the bases, and a run scored on a Juan Soto grounder up the middle, though shortstop Andrew Velazquez, behind second in the shift, made a real highlight reel play, diving for the ball, sliding on his stomach, rising up with his upper body, and tossing it behind his back to second for the force as the first run of the game scored, 1-0 Nationals.

Yadiel Hernández, naturally, connected for the first hit of the season off Sandoval by a left-handed batter after Nelson Cruz took a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth, but both were stranded three outs later as Sandoval completed a 16-pitch frame at 66 total.

A 21-pitch fifth, in which he worked around a single and an error, left Sandoval at 87 pitches overall, but the lefty gave up a leadoff infield single up the middle by Nelson Cruz in the top of the sixth, and then a one-out shift-beating single to short right by Maikel Franco which sent Cruz around to third with Lane Thomas due up, before Cruz scored on Thomas’s sac fly line drive to right field, 2-0. Riley Adams’ two-out single to left ended Sandoval’s day...

Patrick Sandoval’s Line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 101 P, 66 S, 8/0 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Mike Mayers took over for the Angels with runners on first and second and one out in the top of the sixth, and he gave up a run on an Alcides Escobar single to center, then got out No. 3 at third when Riley Adams got thrown out trying to take an extra base on Mike Trout, 3-0.

Josh Rogers came on for the visiting team in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up a single by Jared Walsh and a walk to Max Stassi. Brandon Marsh bunted the runners over/gave up an out, so Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez went to Kyle Finnegan with one out, and two runners in scoring position, and pinch hitter Jack Mayfield sent a 1-1 sinker to right field for a two-run single, making it a 3-2 game.

Finnegan whiffed on a grounder back over the mound by Andrew Vazquez in the next at-bat, but it went right to César Hernández, who stepped on second base and threw to first for the inning-ending 4-3 DP.

Hernández singled to start the seventh and went first-to-third on a Juan Soto single off of Angels’ reliever Oliver Ortega. Josh Bell stepped in next and singled to right to bring in a run, 4-2, and send Soto around to third, where he was eventually stranded.

Bell started the day 12 for 32 (.375/.460/.531) with runners in scoring position on the season, and he was 0 for 1 with RISP on the day, before he came through with a hit to respond after the Angels rallied.

Finnegan came back out in the Angels’ seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Taylor Ward, then threw fastballs by Mike Trout (looking), Shohei Ohtani (swinging), and Anthony Rendon (looking) for three quick outs, still 4-2 Nationals.

Austin Voth struck out two around a groundout in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.

Tanner Rainey gave up a one-out walk to pinch hitter Luis Rengifo in the bottom of the ninth inning, and a single by Taylor Ward, who sent a line drive to right to send Rengifo around to third. Mike Trout stepped in next, and went down swinging at a 97 MPH 1-2 fastball up high for out No. 2. Shohei Ohtani? Two-run double to center field, 4-4. Anthony Rendon? Walk-off winner. Stunner.

Final Score: 5-4 Angels

Nationals now 10-20