Nats can’t hold Giants for second straight day, fall on road

Placeholder while loading article actions

Josh Rogers threw the pitches he needed to escape a base-loaded jam Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park. A slider away from southpaw Brandon Crawford induced a soft flyball to the shallow left. A player four seams away from right-hander Thairo Estrada got a grounder for shortstop Alcides Escobar, ripe for a late-inning double play.

But the Washington Nationals couldn’t score one against the speedy Estrada, who beat César Hernández’s off-line throw first, scored a run and extended the San Francisco Giants’ rally in fifth. Their next hitter, pinch hitter Mauricio Dubon, slapped a single down the left side that scored Darin Ruf.

The streak prompted the Giants to a 9-3 to win on Nationals (7-16) at Oracle Park. The two earned runs were added to a messy line for starting rookie Joan Adon.

“[Adon’s] the fastball location wasn’t great today; he threw a lot of balls,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters at Oracle Park. “I spoke to him earlier; his stuff is so good, and he kinda kept us in the ballgame there. But then, in the fifth inning, the first two guys get along and his pitch count increases. … His fastball was strewn all over the place today.

Adon acknowledged through a team interpreter that things got out of hand inside him in the fifth.

“Sometimes I start playing with my throws and try to work my way through the area,” Adon said. “But I have to stay more focused and attack the area more.”

Adon, 23, recorded 12 strikeouts on 86 shots in his second outing of the season against the Giants (14-7). Three walks, two hits and four hits halted his effectiveness – three singles and a double. Early on, he was able to limit the damage with five strikeouts. Two of the singles, however, came at the wrong time.

Charged to hold a 2-2 tie in the fifth, Luis Gonzalaz beat Adon for the first single and Ruf collected the second. Then Adon walked Wilmer Flores, loading the bases with no outs, and Martinez hung him for Rogers, converted to reliever only this month. Martinez first described Rogers as a multi-inning option when a starter failed to go deep, as Nationals pitchers have done too often this season. A high debt situation, however, did not seem to be part of the immediate plans.

After Dubon hit that single against Rogers, Martinez called on veteran right-hander Erasmo Ramírez — who, like Rogers, didn’t kick the team out of spring training — to complete the frame. And after Ramírez did, and once Victor Robles pulled the Nationals into a run on an RBI single against Giants starter Logan Webb, Jason Vosler opened up the sixth by taking Ramírez deep into McCovey Cove. Nine-hole hitter Curt Casali followed with a single.

Kyle Finnegan replaced Ramírez and the Giants scored three more points in the sixth. Finnegan walked the first batter he faced, gave up two singles, and bounced Flores into a double play. But the next ground ball short, a play that should have knocked him out of the inning, resulted in a throwing error for Escobar and Crawford returning home. Crawford was in scoring position after stealing second, timing Finnegan’s delivery so he was at least three steps away from second before it started.

Washington’s bullpen isn’t deep enough, or healthy enough, to use tested arms early and late in big spots. The Giants’ six runs on fifth and sixth are a good example. So it took five pitchers – Adon, Rogers, Ramírez, Finnegan and Andrés Machado – to register those six outs, though the defense didn’t help.

“Mistakes, man… we need to clean that up. We really do,” Martinez told reporters. “You can’t give good teams 28, 29, 30 outs. It just can’t happen.

Was round seven better for the Nationals? Not really. Another runaway play led to another pitching error for Escobar. Luke Williams, who had reached with no outs, then moved on a wild Machado pitch. Then he moved up to third when Machado fended off a takedown attempt to second, setting up Vosler to tackle Williams with a sacrifice fly.

What did the offense do after scoring 14 points Friday night? Was very successful, 11 all in all, I just didn’t enjoy it enough. The biggest missed opportunity was the opening player, Hernández, who got into a double play with one out and the bases loaded in the fourth. Hernández was also sent off at home by Giants right fielder Gonzalez on a Josh Bell single in the third. Hernández was called a safe until a review revealed he slid past the plate without touching it.

Otherwise, Robles was a bright spot again, getting two singles and a walk against Webb, who was on the wrong end of all Nationals hits on Saturday before the Giants bullpen dominated. Robles has reached seven of his nine on-set appearances on the show.

What did top prospect Cade Cavalli look like in Rochester on Saturday? For one thing, Cavalli went 5⅓ innings and allowed no hits, an impressive feat by any standard. But on the other, he struck out just one batter, walked three and threw just 41 of his 81 pitches for strikes. No hits for the Syracuse Mets showed obvious promise. These latest stats, however, underscored what the Nationals want Cavalli to continue improving with the Class AAA Red Wings. They are looking for the 23-year-old to throw more shots and have more confidence in his off-speed throws in the area.

It was Cavalli’s fourth start after taking a 10-day break between second and third. From there, the right-hander is expected to stay on a regular starting schedule every five games.

About Mildred B.

Check Also

The need for reading glasses is part and parcel of the aging process – The Mercury

An unwelcome gift of aging as many reach their 50s is the need for reading …