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Washington Nationals drop 5th straight overall with 6-4 loss to Seattle Mariners

There’s another one to play at 6:05 PM today. Will the Nationals avoid a 6th-straight loss in that one?

Seattle Mariners v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Gray vs SEA:

Josiah Gray piled up a career-high 11 Ks from 23 batters faced in a six-inning, 100-pitch outing against Philadelphia’s Phillies last week in Citizens Bank Park, with just four hits and two runs allowed, both of which came on solo home runs by a red-hot Kyle Schwarber.

“I’ll live with a solo shot here and there,” Gray told reporters as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“As long as I’m executing my game plan, and it doesn’t knock me off my path to execution and providing for the team, I’m fine with it.”

“Josiah said, ‘Hey, I fell behind, and I did everything I can,’” manager Davey Martinez told reporters. “But I told him, I said, ‘When [Schwarber is] like that — we’ve seen it, he gets that ball up, down, away, it doesn’t matter, he puts a good swing on the ball and he can hit them a long way.”

Gray kept the rest of the Philly hitters pretty much in check.

Going up against Seattle’s Mariners this afternoon, Gray struggled with his command early, walking two of the first three batters he faced before he grooved a 96 MPH fastball to Eugenio Suárez, who hit it 439 feet to left field for a three-run home run and a 3-0 Mariners’ lead in the first inning of the first game of today’s doubleheader in D.C.

Gray held the Mariners off the board in the second and third, as he went breaking ball-heavy while continuing to struggle to locate his fastball, but Jesse Winker got him in the fourth, on a 2-1 slider the Mariners’ left fielder hit out to center for a 395-foot solo shot and a 4-0 lead.

Gray left an 0-1 change up to Adam Frazier one out later in the fourth, and he gave up his third home run of the game, 5-0. 358 ft. this time.

Gray was up to 79 pitches on the day after a 34-pitch fourth, and 97 after he retired the side in order in the fifth, but that was it for the 24-year-old right-hander today...

Josiah Gray’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 97 P, 57 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

Flexen Flossing vs D.C.:

Chris Flexen, 28, and a 2012 14th Round pick by the New York Mets who signed with Seattle in December of 2020, won two of his first 10 starts this season, going (2-8) with a 4.23 ERA, a 4.54 FIP, and a .273/.332/.437 line again in 72 13 IP, but coming into tonight’s game he was on a three-start win-streak, over which he put up a 3.06 ERA, 3.44 FIP, and a .242/.315/.364 line against in 17 23 IP.

Flexen took the mound this afternoon with a 3-0 lead and tossed two hitless to start, with a two-out walk to Juan Soto in the first the only blemish.

Two singles with two out in the third gave Soto a runner in scoring position in his second trip to the plate, but he grounded out to end an 11-pitch inning which left the Mariners’ right-handed starter at 34 total after three in D.C.

Seattle Mariners v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It was 5-0 when he came out for the fourth, and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch frame which left him at 45, but Flexen gave up a leadoff single by Keibert Ruiz in the first at-bat in the Nationals’ fifth, and then he hit Maikel Franco, before Lane Thomas singled to center to load them up for Luis García, who hit a sac fly to center to get the home team on the board, 5-1 Mariners.

Josh Bell grounded out, giving Juan Soto two in scoring position, and the visiting team did decide to pitch to Soto, for two pitches at least, before they walked him intentionally for the second free pass today, loading the bases for Nelson Cruz, who grounded out to end the threat and a 26-pitch frame by the Mariners’ righty.

César Hernández singled and Keibert Ruiz doubled off the right field wall with one out in the home-half of the sixth, but both were stranded at the end of a 14-pitch frame by Flexen.

Chris Flexen’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 85 P, 55 S, 8/6 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Hunter Harvey took over for Josiah Gray in the top of the sixth, and the hard-throwing right-hander retired the side in order in an eight-pitch frame.

Mason Thompson retired the Mariners in order in a seven-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh.

Mariners reliever Ryan Borucki took over for the visiting team in the seventh, and retired two batters before walking Juan Soto.

Andrés Muñoz took over with Nelson Cruz due up, and Cruz hustled around to second base for a double on a line drive to right, but Juan Soto got caught between third base and home and tagged out in a rundown for out No. 3.

Cory Abbott struck out the side on 15 pitches in the top of the eighth. That’s 3.0 scoreless and hitless by the bullpen on 30 pitches total.

Abbott returned in the top of the ninth, however, and gave up a leadoff home run by Cal Raleigh, 6-1 Mariners.

Penn Murfee got the ninth for the Mariners, and the righty gave up back-to-back, one-out hits by Lane Thomas and Luis García, and a two-out, three-run home run to left by Juan Soto, who hit a first-pitch slider to left field for an opposite field blast, his 18th of 2022, 6-4 Mariners. 395 feet the other way for Soto.

Paul Sewald took over for Murfee, with a two-run lead, and Nelson Cruz at the plate, and popped him up to end it. Final Score: 6-4 Mariners.

Nationals now 30-59