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Nats 4, Padres 2: Banged-up club wins 3rd straight series

Aug 27, 2015, 10:08 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Needing a win to take their third consecutive series — and then hoping beyond hope the Mets would actually lose a ballgame for a change — the Nationals turned to their surprising rookie right-hander and watched as he pitched yet another gem.

Joe Ross allowed only one run (unearned) on one hit (a bunt) over six standout innings before getting an early trip to the showers while the organization tries to limit his innings before he is expected to be shut down in the next couple of weeks. No problem, because that simply set the stage for the Nationals to use the back end of their bullpen as they’ve intended to use it for the last month.

Before that happened, they got some big hits to take a lead, including solo homers from Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. They also got a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to force in a run, though it came at a price: Yunel Escobar went down in a heap after taking that fastball to his right wrist and wound up leaving the game. The Nats also lost Michael Taylor to an apparent right knee injury on a scary collision with the center field wall, a potentially huge blow given the fact Denard Span wasn’t available to play when his back acted up after two games off the DL.

Despite a makeshift defensive alignment that saw Bryce Harper in center field, Trea Turner at second base and Danny Espinosa in left field, the Nationals somehow prevailed. And so they have won six of their last nine games, taking three straight series in the process as they attempt to go on a late-season surge.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There are few better signs for the Nationals these days than Werth and Zimmerman hitting with authority and hitting for power. We’ve begun to see it the last few days in particular, and saw both go deep in this game. Werth launched only his second home run since breaking his wrist in May; he now sports a .306/.405/.528 slash line since moving up to the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the lineup last week. Zimmerman, meanwhile, launched another home run to right-center field, the same location his grand slam landed in the other night. Those are especially encouraging developments for the Nats as September looms.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: What more can you say about the job Ross has done this season? He hasn’t merely pitched well, he has pitched well despite doing so under the weight of a pennant race as part of a star-studded rotation that collectively hasn’t lived up to its reputation. Ross was at it again in this game, allowing just one hit over his six innings. And that hit was a 15-foot bunt by Cory Spangenberg that was promptly thrown away by Wilson Ramos, letting Spangenberg advance all the way to third base. The decision to pull Ross after six innings and 77 pitches caught many by surprise, but the Nationals are dealing with a rookie on an innings limit. Perhaps by pulling him early in this game, they’ll be able to squeeze a few more out of him in the next week or two before he’s shut down.

KEY STAT: Escobar has been forced to leave a game injured eight times this season, five times with an injury to one of his hands or wrists.

UP NEXT: The Marlins come to town for a 3-game weekend series. It’ll be Max Scherzer (11-10, 2.79) vs. left-hander Adam Conley (1-1, 4.88) in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. opener.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    Denard Span back to the DL. Shoot

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:24 PM

      Say what?

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:28 PM

        Denard wasn’t running well last night. Turns out his hip is screwed up now. I wondered about DSpan when I saw that denDekker wasn’t in the Syracuse lineup. I’m distraught by this news.

  2. Drew - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    Span’s going back to the DL and Taylor’s hurt.

    This team cannot stay healthy.

    This has been a nightmare for the four guys in their walk years.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:36 PM

      Escobar hurt too … My word, the Nats can’t catch a break. Let’s all hope our guys are ok and not injured too extensively. MAT hit that wall hard.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    Wow, Span’s career as a National is probably over. This is so sad.

    And then MAT getting banged up, man, this hurts.

    • npb99 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM

      It’s a cursed season.
      Only way to lift the curse is have MW do his Babe Ruth impersonation in front of a full crowd at Nats Park.

      • nicefellow31 - Aug 28, 2015 at 8:43 AM

        Or…..we can just remove MW.

  4. breakbad1 - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    We.are.totally.doomed.

  5. nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    Just got back from the game-you literally heard MAT hit that wall. I heard Phil Wood say it was possibly only a contused knee. Let’s hope so but they are already discussing OF options.

    Unbelievably sad news about Span. On the bright side, Joe Ross continues to dazzle. He seemed to save his best pitches for the heart of the order. Just looked really solid out there.

    Other bright spot was our ability to hit a very good pitcher. I know he hasn’t been great this year, but he’s still really good. Surprised they left him in for 120+ pitches.

    Now we just need to Phillies to take the Mets another 10 innings or so and then win it…..

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:18 PM

      Nope…. Mets won.

      • nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:21 PM

        Damn Mrs B you ruined a perfectly good baseball buzz….Oh well someone had to do it.

  6. Section 222 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Mets haven’t won yet, but the Phillies just imploded in the top of the 13th. 8-5 Mets at this point.

    Really, expecting the Phillies to play more than 9 innings was too much.

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:35 PM

      Actually, Domonic Brown crushed a ball down the RF line in the 11th that sadly, just hooked foul by a foot or two. Thought they’d won it until I saw him go back to the plate and saw the replay. Of course, he K’d swinging on the next pitch.

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