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Washington Nationals take 2 of 3 from Milwaukee but drop finale to Brewers, 4-1

The Nationals took 2 of 3, but couldn’t sweep the Brewers in D.C.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Espino’s Opportunity:

Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen this season, Paolo Espino, 35, had posted a 2.03 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, four walks, 20 Ks, and a .228/.257/.317 line against in 20 games and 26 23 innings pitched before today’s game.

Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked at the end of May about the value of having an arm like Espino’s in the bullpen.

“We always talk about him, but he’s a life-saver, he really is,” Martinez said.

“He understands his role really well, and he knows he’s out there to get outs, and he does it well, knowing that he can pitch one inning, two innings, three innings, and feel good about it. It always helps — will help any manager in a pinch.”

Martinez named the right-hander his starter for the series finale after yesterday’s game, and he said Espino was stretched out enough to go 3-4-5 innings depending on the results.

Espino tossed two relatively quick, scoreless innings on 23 pitches to start the series finale with Milwaukee in D.C., but one- and two-out doubles in the third got the Brewers their first run, with Tyrone Taylor lining a 3-0 slider to left with one down, moving up to third on a fly ball, and scoring on a two-out double to left by Willy Adames, 1-0.

Espino got two outs into the fourth, on 53 pitches, two shy of tying his season-high, when skipper Davey Martinez went to the bullpen...

Paolo Espino’s Line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 53 P, 34 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Not That Jason Alexander, Obviously:

Jason Alexander, 29, signed with the LA Angels out of Menlo College in California in 2017, and stayed in the organization until 2020, then he signed with Miami (2021) before he got another minor league deal from Milwaukee this past winter, and earlier this month, after a total of 81 games and 328 23 innings pitched in the minors, he got the call to make his big league debut.

Alexander gave up seven hits, three walks, and three runs, two earned, in his first start in the majors on June 1st, against the Chicago Cubs, then followed up on that outing with a strong showing against the Philadelphia Phillies last time out before today, giving up just a run on a total seven hits and two walks in five innings.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s a tough journey and there’s tons of different roads you can go down to make it to the big leagues,” Alexander said of his own path to the big leagues, as quoted on MLB.com.

“I think it just shows that anything is possible if you work hard, stick to it, keep trying, keep learning, keep getting better.”

Start No. 3 for Alexander began with three scoreless as he worked around two singles in the first, and a one-out double in the second, then left the bases loaded in the third, completing three innings on 49 pitches overall.

Luis García singled off Alexander with one out in the fourth, but was caught stealing second in the next at-bat, as the righty completed a 12-pitch frame at 61 total.

César Hernández singled and Juan Soto walked with one down in the fifth, after Alexander’s teammates put two runs up in the top of the inning.

Nelson Cruz walked to load the bases, and Josh Bell hit a sac fly to left, 3-1, and that ended the Brewers’ starter’s day...

Jason Alexander’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 83 P, 50 S, 4/7 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Evan Lee took over with the bases empty and two out in the fourth, with the Brewers up 1-0, and the left-hander gave up a single on a fly to right the fell in-between a backpedaling César Hernández and a charging Juan Soto, but stranded the runner an out later to keep it a one-run game through four.

Lee returned to the mound in the fifth, and retired the first two batters he faced, but a two-out single by Christian Yelich extended the inning, and then Willy Adames got all of a 94 MPH 2-2 fastball and hit it out to left-center field for a two-run shot and a 3-0 Brewers’ lead.

With two on and two out in the Nationals’ fifth, Hoby Milner took over for the Brewers, and struck out pinch hitter Maikel Franco to end the threat after the home team put a run on the board, 3-1.

Lee took a comebacker off his leg, but completed a 1-2-3 sixth, and Andres Machado took the mound in the seventh and worked around a two-out single.

Brad Boxberger took over for the Brewers in the bottom of the seventh, and struck out two in a 1-2-3 frame.

Machado tossed another scoreless inning in the top of the eighth.

Devin Williams got the nod for Milwaukee in the bottom of the eighth, and the Brewers’ right-hander worked around a walk.

Carl Edwards, Jr.’s scoreless innings streak, which was up to 15 13 IP, ended with a solo shot by Andrew McCutchen in the top of the ninth, 4-1 Brewers.

Josh Hader came on with a three-run lead, and retired the Nationals in order to end it, striking out the side.

Nationals now 23-39