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Washington Nationals news & notes: Joan Adon leaves start with cramps in legs; Nats beat A’s 8-2 in D.C.

Notes and quotes from the Nationals and Athletics’ series opener in the nation’s capital...

Adon’s Early Exit:

Joan Adon was perfect through 5 23 innings in his first start in the majors in 2023, back on July 5th in Cincinnati, but he finally gave up a couple two-out singles and a three-run blast before recording the final out of the Reds’ half of the sixth inning.

“I think he ran out of gas,” manager Davey Martinez said of the end of the 24-year-old right-hander’s outing in what ended up a 7-3 win for Washington.

“We talk about the breaking balls,” the Nationals’ skipper continued.

“He started leaving the breaking balls up a little bit, fastballs started creeping up a little bit.

“We tried to get him through that sixth inning, he finished, but like I said, he did a great job.

“We had him pencilled in for about 80-85 pitches, I think he finished with maybe 86, so for six innings and 86 pitches, that was awesome.”

Adon said after the impressive start he wasn’t sure how things would have gone if he’d been able to keep the bid for a perfect game going.

“I don’t know what would’ve happened, because in that sixth inning, I started cramping,” Adon explained.

“That’s when I started feeling it. But no one wants to come out of a perfect game.”

The cramps returned for Adon in last night’s turn in the rotation in the nation’s capital, as he warmed up for the fourth, having allowed two earned runs, two hits, and two walks in three innings before he was pulled from the mound.

He was obviously uncomfortable, stretching his legs awkwardly as he tried to loosen up, and after a brief visit from Martinez and team trainer Paul Lessard, Adon left the mound.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Washington Nationals Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

“Cramps,” Martinez said after an 8-2 win over Oakland’s A’s. “His legs cramped up on him. Second time. He cramped up in Cincinnati as well. So we got to figure out how to get him — whether it’s drinking more fluids, we don’t know yet. I saw him drink a lot, but both his legs were cramped up.”


Cory Abbott took over on short notice, and gave the Nationals 1 13 scoreless, followed by Robert Garcia (1 23), Jose A. Ferrer (1 IP), and Jordan Weems (2 IP), who kept the Athletics from rallying as the offense added runs along the way.

“It’s hard, when your pitcher comes out like that, you know, but those guys,” Martinez said, praising the work his bullpen has done in recent weeks.

“They stepped up. And that’s challenging for those guys in the bullpen.

“I know Cory is always ready, but they don’t expect to come in like that. But he did a great job, him and then Robert came in, they all did, Ferrer came in, and then Weems finished it off. We have to check on Weems for tomorrow, but they threw the ball well.”

Rutherford Chasing First Hit:

Blake Rutherford, 26, spent six years in the minors with the New York Yankees (who selected the outfielder 18th overall in the 1st Round of the 2016 Draft) and the Chicago White Sox, (who acquired him in a 2017 trade), before he signed with Washington this past January, and tore up Double-A and Triple-A in the Nationals’ system to earn a call up to the majors in the first days of August.

Rutherford put up a combined .345/.395/.583 line in 62 games and 261 plate appearances at AA and AAA before making his MLB debut on August 4th in Cincinnati.

He went 0 for 4 that day and 0 for 3 the next, then he went 0 for 7 in the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, PA’s Citizens Bank Park.

“He definitely wants to get that one hit out of the way,” Manager Davey Martinez said before the finale with the Phillies.

“We need to get him to relax. Hopefully today in his first at-bat he gets it out of the way, and once you get that one you kind of relax and drop your shoulders a little bit.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

“But we’re really trying to get him to relax and — hey, look, he hit really well in Triple-A, and we feel like he can hit here, but like I said, we’re trying to get that first one out of the way. It’s tough. But it’s going to happen. I tell him, ‘Hey, it’s going to happen, so just give yourself a chance to go up there and try to hit the ball hard somewhere,’ but he’s going to get a chance to play.”

Martinez was asked if the former 1st Round pick was pressing a bit, trying to prove himself in his first shot in the majors.

“He’s a fairly quiet kid, but he comes in, he’s got a good routine, I’ve watched his routine in the cage and stuff, and like I said, he’s hit,” Martinez said. “He’s hit and he was really hitting the ball well in Triple-A. For me it’s all about getting yourself ready, being on time, and trying to stay in the middle of the field, and not try to do a whole lot, just give yourself a chance to square the ball up.”

Rutherford started for the third straight game in CBP, but went 0 for 2 in six innings, leaving him 0 for 16 to start his big league career.

Martinez gave the outfielder a day off in the series opener with Oakland in Nationals Park.

“Just a little mental day for Blake,” the manager explained.

“He’s going to work on some things with [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles] today, but I just wanted to give him a little break, just kind of relax a little bit.”

Will Rutheford be back out there hunting for his first hit in the majors in the second of three with the A’s in D.C. tonight?