Jun 3, 2015, 9:17 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Needing a win to avoid their second straight series loss, the Nationals turned to Taylor Jordan, filling in for the injured Stephen Strasburg, and hoped for the best. They didn’t get anything close to the young right-hander’s best, though, and with Mark Buehrle in peak form for the Blue Jays, they never really had a chance to take this game and this series.
Jordan was roughed up for seven runs in six innings, four of those runs coming during a painful top of the first in which Toronto’s first four batters all reached base. Jordan did recover enough to give the Nats six innings and not force Matt Williams to burn up his bullpen, but that wasn’t much of a silver lining to this one.
It might not have mattered how well Jordan or anyone else on the Nationals’ staff pitched, because Buehrle was flawless. The veteran lefty expertly used his sinker to induce groundball after groundball after groundball, pitching at a ridiculously quick pace and going the distance on only 93 pitches. That helped turn this game into a laugher, with the Nationals never seriously threatening to make it interesting.
HITTING LOWLIGHT: Nobody looked especially comfortable at the plate against Buehrle, but Ryan Zimmerman had an especially rough night because he was one of the few Nationals who came up to bat with runners in scoring position. After Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper singled with one out in the fourth, Zimmerman had a chance to get his team on the board. He instead struck out on four pitches. Two innings later, Harper delivered a 2-out double to right, again presenting Zimmerman an opportunity. This time, Zim sent a fly ball to left, ending that potential rally in a hurry.
PITCHING LOWLIGHT: After a strong start to his season in Syracuse and a solid outing in relief of Strasburg last weekend, the Nationals were hoping for good things out of Jordan. But his first inning was so ragged, that became an impossible task. Jordan walked Jose Reyes on four pitches to start the game, then gave up a double and two singles. It’s possible the right-hander was too strong when he took the mound, actually throwing through his sink. Once he got tired a bit, Jordan’s pitches were finally down in the zone. But it was too late for it to matter much on this night.
KEY STAT: Buehrle has thrown back-to-back complete games for the first time since 2004.
UP NEXT: The Cubs come to town for a 4-game weekend series and Round 2 of Bryce Harper vs. Kris Bryant. It’ll be Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.73) vs. Jake Arrieta (4-4, 3.18) on the mound at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
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