August 31, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 129 Review: Strasburg Pulled Early, Nats Beat Marlins

The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Sunday afternoon despite starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg being pulled after four innings pitched.

Strasburg threw 60 pitches and 43 strikes in four innings while giving up four runs and two home runs on seven hits while striking out three batters. According to the team after the game, Strasburg left with an upper back injury not considered to be serious. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 29

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 2-1, on Saturday night. Syracuse starter Richard Bleier pitched lights-out baseball, only allowing one run and three hits over seven innings. Dan Butler drew a walk to drive in a run and a Kevin Keyes sacrifice fly put the Chiefs ahead for good.

Lehigh Valley (60-75) struck first against Syracuse in the top of the fifth inning.  Syracuse (61-74) answered two innings later in the bottom of the seventh. Jason Martinson singled to left field to start the inning. Matt Skole then doubled off the right-field wall, putting runners on first and second. After a Sizemore groundout that held the runners, IronPigs starter David Buchanan intentionally walked Caleb Ramsey to load the bases. Butler followed the intentional walk with a walk of his own, plating Martinson and tying the game at one. Keyes then came to the plate to pinch-hit for Bleier. Keyes hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Skole from third to seal the game at 2-1 in favor of Syracuse.

Starting pitchers Bleier and Buchanan were locked in a duel for most of the game. Buchanan lasted seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out three Syracuse batters. Bleier was even more impressive, only giving up one run while only allowing three hits and no walks. The Syracuse bullpen shut down the IronPigs as well. Matt Grace pitched one perfect inning, striking out one. Rafael Martin came in to pitch the ninth, striking out a batter while earning the save.

The Chiefs and IronPigs will play the second of a three-game home set Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Right-hander A.J. Cole will take the mound for Syracuse opposite Lehigh Valley right-hander Sean O’Sullivan.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Senators rallied from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth only to lose in walk-off fashion in the last of the ninth, 7-6 to Erie. It was the 11th walk-off loss of the year for the Senators. The Senators fell to 63-70 with the loss while Erie improved to 58-74.

The three-hour game was delayed by rain for 23 minutes in the top of the eighth inning. The game started slowly as Erie sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning, knocking Senators starter John Simms out after nine batters. Erie scored six runs to take the lead.

The Senators rallied for four runs in the fourth with an RBI double by Chris Bostick being the only run scoring hit in the inning. They drew a run closer in the fifth when a run scored on a balk. They finally tied the game in the eighth when after the rain delay Drew Vettleson walked and then raced home on a double by Adrian Sanchez.

Bostick had three hits and scored twice in the game. He was the only Senator player with more than one hit. The bullpen was fantastic for Harrisburg with Dakota Bacus (3.0 IP), Nick Lee (1.1 IP), and Erik Davis (2.0 IP) combining to go 6.1 innings without allowing a run. Losing pitcher, Paul Demny, pitched a perfect eighth before giving up the winning run in the ninth.

The final game of the four game series is Sunday afternoon with RH Lucas Giolito on the hill for the Senators. Game time on Sunday is at 1:35 p.m. It’s also the final road game for the Senators in the 2015 season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (61-70-Overall, 30-38-Road, 27-33-Second Half) scored two runs in the top of the first and never trailed, adding runs in the seventh and eighth in the 5-1 win in Game Three over the Salem Red Sox (60-71-Overall, 31-37-Home, 22-39-Second Half) at LewisGale Field on Saturday night.

Potomac jumped on Salem’s RHP Ty Buttrey (8-9, 3.98) in the top of the first inning to plate two runs and take a lead they would not relinquish in the ballgame. CF Rafael Bautista tripled to begin the game and then RF Narciso Mesa reached on a fielder’s choice ball that saw Bautista, who broke for home on contact, put out at home plate for the first out. Mesa swiped second base and 1B Grant DeBruin was then issued a free pass. After a DH Brenden Webb groundout moved both runners up a bag, 3B Drew Ward knocked in both Mesa and DeBruin to give the Nationals that 2-0 lead.

For the Nationals, the knuckle baller RHP Jeff Howell (1-1, 2.45) made his second start of the 2015 season with Potomac, still looking for his first Carolina League win. Howell allowed at least one base runner in every inning he was on the mound and only faced three batters once in the contest, the bottom of the third. Salem had two runners on in the bottom of the first after Howell issued two free passes. A nice defensive play by LF Estarlin Martinez kept Salem off the board.

Salem received a one out walk in the second inning and nothing else before picking up a lead-off single in the third that was erased when 2B Wendell Rijo hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

In the fifth Howell again issued two walks, for a total of six in the ballgame, but stranded both runners on the base paths in what proved to be his final frame. The six free passes are a new season high for Howell.

Howell left in line for the win, pitching five innings and he allowed three hits and one run (earned) on six walks and he struck out one, earning his first Carolina League win.

Against Buttrey, Potomac scored the two runs in the first and then were held off the scoreboard until the top of the seventh, Buttrey’s last inning. 2B Khayyan Norfork, snapped a long stretch of futility at the plate with a one-out double before coming home on the Martinez RBI single that extended his hitting streak to five consecutive ballgames and push the lead to 3-1 Nationals.

Buttrey logged seven innings and was responsible for three runs (all earned) on six hits, three walks and he struck out five in the loss.

LHP Justin Thomas entered the game in relief of Howell in the sixth inning and faced three men in the frame courtesy of a double play ball to keep the 3-1 lead. Thomas then retired the Red Sox one, two, three in the seventh and allowed two runners to reach base on singles in the eighth before recording two strikeouts and a groundout to dance out of the jam in the eighth.

Ward, in his third game back from the disabled list, hammered a pitch from RHP Chandler Shephard over the right field wall for a two-run home run, bringing home DeBruin, who reached on an infield single. The two-run homer was the sixth of the season for Ward and it gave the Nationals a 5-1 lead in the top of the eighth. Ward finished the ballgame two-for-four with four RBIs, a season high in runners driven in.

Shephard pitched two innings and allowed the two runs on the Ward home run on two hits and a strikeout.

Thomas logged three innings and allowed only three hits and no runs, while not issuing a walk and striking out three in his outing.

RHP Phillips Valdez entered for the bottom of the ninth and hit 3B Deiner Lopez with two outs before recording the final out a ground ball that DeBruin fielded and flipped to Valdez covering the base to end the ballgame.

Lynchburg won again, their fifth win in a row, and eliminated the Nationals from the postseason contention.

The series finale this afternoon will see RHP Tyler Mapes (4-3, 2.70) for Potomac against LHP Trey Ball (8-13, 4.85) for the Red Sox.

First pitch is set for 4:05 pm from LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (29-32, 64-65) surrendered four runs in the top of the sixth inning to the Kannapolis Intimidators (26-34, 61-68) on Saturday night, resulting in a three-run deficit and eventually a 9-4 loss in front of 2,168 at Municipal Stadium. It was the first time this season the Suns have played in front of more than 2,000 fans at Municipal Stadium.

Trailing 4-3 entering the sixth, CF Louie Lechich and 1B Alexander Simon began the frame with back-to-back singles for the Intimidators. Shortstop Toby Thomas followed with a double to left, bringing home both base runners to wind up giving Kannapolis the lead for good. Thomas had moved to third following his double on a throw to the plate to try and gun down Simon, and Thomas was able to score from third when DH Mason Robbins reached on a fielding error by Suns 2B Dan Uggla. The former National League All-Star was making his second rehab start this season with the Suns. Robbins not only reached base, but also advanced to second on Uggla’s error. Robbins then advanced one base each on back-to-back groundouts to make it 7-4.

Uggla also committed an error in the third, which helped the Intimidators plate their first three runs of the game. With two on and one out in the inning, Uggla threw wide of second after cleanly scooping up a ground ball. That allowed catcher Daniel Gonzalez to score and two runners to wind up in scoring position. A wild pitch by Suns starting RHP Luis Reyes then allowed 2B Ethan Gross to score from third and RF Michael Suiter to advance to third. Suiter scored the third run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to put the Intimidators up 3-0.

However, Uggla made up for his error and the Suns stormed back to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Uggla came to the plate with two runners in scoring position and none out, and he smacked a fly ball off the left field wall, bringing both runners in with a double to make it 3-2. Later in the inning, Uggla scored on a double to right by LF Matthew Page to even the score at 3-3. Catcher Raudy Read scored the go-ahead run before the inning came to an end on a fielder’s choice, giving the Suns their only lead of the night.

Kannapolis added a run each in the eighth and ninth to salt the game away. In the eighth Gonzalez hit a two-out RBI line drive single to left. Gonzalez was making his Intimidators debut and that was his first hit of the night. In the ninth Lechich hit an RBI double to right to set the final score.

RHP Kevin Perez (0-3) suffered the loss for Hagerstown. After taking over for Reyes, who left the game due to injury in the third, Perez went 2.1 innings, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits while striking out three.

These teams will continue their five-game series at Municipal Stadium with game two on Sunday, August 30. The Suns will send RHP Justin Amlung (3-3) to the mound for his seventh start and 18th appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Luis Martinez (4-13) for Kannapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05pm.

Washington Nationals Game 128 Review: Zimmermann, Zimmerman lead Nats over Marlins

THREE HOMERS POWER NATS, EAST LEAD AT 5 1/2

Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven solid innings, Ryan Zimmerman homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 5-1 at Nats Park.

Coupled with the New York Mets 3-1 loss to Boston, the Nats cut their deficit in the N.L. East to 5 1/2 games. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 28

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Rochester Red Wings, 9-2, Friday night at Frontier Field. Tyler Moore, playing his first Syracuse game of the year on Major-League rehab, homered and drove in three runs as the Chiefs took the final meeting of the year between the clubs.

Syracuse (60-74) started the scoring in the first. Emmanuel Burriss reached on a bunt single with one out. Moore followed with his first RBI of the game, a double to left field, to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

Kevin Keyes continued the scoring in the second. Keyes launched his seventh home run of the season off starter Taylor Rogers to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Chiefs put the game out of reach in the third. Burriss led off with a single. Moore then stuck again, launching a two-run homer into the bullpen in left field to push the lead to 4-0. Syracuse didn’t stop there. Jason Martinson reached on an error on shortstop Danny Santana. After a groundout, Kevin Keyes singled to put runners on the corners. Caleb Ramsey followed with an RBI single to give the Chiefs a 5-0 lead. The Red Wings went to the bullpen and Tim Shibuya came in to pitch. Shibuya allowed a triple to Scott Sizemore, scoring Keyes and Ramsey to break open the game at 7-0. Dan Butler followed with a double to finish off a six-run third inning and give Syracuse an 8-0 lead.

The Chiefs added a ninth run in the eighth inning. Three straight hits from Sizemore, Butler and Darin Mastroianni loaded the bases with no one out. After Alex Meyer retired two straight batters, Sizemore scored on a passed ball by catcher Eric Fryer to score the Chiefs’ ninth run.

Syracuse returns home to open a three-game series with Lehigh Valley. Richard Bleier is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite David Buchanan for the IronPigs. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Behind 18 hits, the Harrisburg Senators blitzed the Erie SeaWolves in a 14-1 drubbing on Friday night at Jerry Uht Park. Harrisburg (63-69) jumped out to a 10-run lead after three innings and cruised the rest of the way to win the second game of their four-game series.

Each Harrisburg starter except second baseman Reegie Corona had at least two hits in the offensive explosion. Seven of the original nine in the lineup scored at least one run with Chris Bostick leading the way with three scores. Isaac Ballou kept the hot bat going as the outfielder drove in four runs on a double and triple. Adrian Sanchez went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Brian Goodwin chipped in three hits as well.

Harrisburg starter Brian Rauh threw seven strong innings allowing only one run on three hits and one walk while striking out six. Staked to the early lead, Rauh (2-4) was efficient and attacked Erie hitters as he threw only 86 pitches. Matt Purke, just activated off the disabled list, and Abel De Los Santos each worked a scoreless inning in relief.

The Senators square off against the SeaWolves in the third game of their four-game set on Saturday evening with John Simms on the mound, starting at 7:05 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Friday evening at Salem Memorial Ballpark in front of a sellout crowd (6,324) overlooking LewisGale Field, the Potomac Nationals (60-70 Overall, 29-38 Road, 27-33 Second Half) were thumped by the Salem Red Sox (60-70 Overall, 31-36 Home, 22-38 Second Half) in an 8-1 one-sided clash.

A series Game Two victory for Salem assured the Red Sox of at least a series split in the four-game set.

Nationals starter, LHP Matthew Spann (2-7) was hit with his seventh loss of the 2015 journey after allowing four runs (two earned runs) on just three hits in 4.0 frames. Spann walked three, fanned four, hit a batter with the bases loaded, and unleashed one wild pitch.

Meanwhile, Salem LHP Daniel McGrath (3-6) earned his third win with 6.0 innings of one-run hurling. McGrath allowed just two base hits, a single off the bat of Potomac 3B David Masters and a double socked by C Zach Wright while walking a pair and striking out a quartet.

Potomac arms walked a total of eight Red Sox hitters and tossed three wild pitches in the contest as Nationals reliever, LHP Jake Walsh was hit hard and could not find the strike zone consistently. Walsh pitched 3.0 innings and served up four earned runs on four hits, five walks, and two wild offerings.

The Nationals’ lone run scored in the 5th inning as Potomac SS Stephen Perez earned a leadoff free pass to first base and later in the frame scored on a sac fly lofted by Masters to right field.

P-Nats RHP Derek Self turned in the only one-two-three inning for the Nationals’ defense on the night in the 8th with one strikeout to his line.

The Red, White, and Blue have now committed six errors in their last two games after making three errors in their set opener with Salem and three more defensive miscues on Friday night.

Potomac left nine men on base and went hitless (0-for-5) with runners in scoring position.

The P-Nats’ elimination number in the second half playoff race is now one with their loss.

Nationals RHP Jeff Howell (0-1, 3.00) looks for his first career Carolina League win in a standoff with Red Sox RHP Ty Buttrey (8-8, 3.99) on Saturday night in series Game Two.

Howell, a former professional catcher, converted to a mound worker just this season.  First pitch is at 6:05 p.m.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (29-31, 64-64) could not score after the second inning on Friday night, falling to the Lakewood BlueClaws (33-27, 66-62) by a final of 4-1. The win secured the series win and the season series win for the BlueClaws, while the three losses for Hagerstown in the series officially eliminated the Suns from postseason contention.

Starting RHP Erick Fedde (0-2) suffered the loss for the Suns. He threw five innings, surrendering three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four.

In the third game of the series on Thursday night the Suns held Lakewood scoreless for the first eight innings en route to a 3-1 win. Starting RHP Andrew Lee (3-0) set the tone for Hagerstown by giving up just two hits and no walks while striking out five over five innings to earn the win. LHP David Napoli followed, going 2.2 innings without allowing a run and striking out four. RHP Koda Glover earned his fourth save of the year, despite surrendering one run in the ninth. In 1.1 innings he gave up the one earned run on three hits while striking out three. Suns pitching totaled 12 strikeouts in the game, one shy of the team’s high for a game this season.

In game two of the series on Wednesday night 1B Damek Tomscha broke a 6-6 tie with a solo homerun over the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth to give Lakewood the 7-6 win. Hagerstown had two homeruns of its own in the game, including a grand slam by RF Jeff Gardner in the second inning. It was RHP Ryan Brinley (1-2) who gave up the game-winning homerun to Tomscha, and thus he got tagged with the loss. In one inning in relief that was the only hit he allowed.

In the first game of the series on Tuesday night the Suns fell behind 6-0 after three innings and could never recover, dropping the game by a final of 6-3. All six Lakewood runs were charged to Suns starting RHP Justin Amlung (3-3), who got tagged with the loss. Despite his early struggles Amlung wound up pitching seven innings for a second consecutive start. He allowed nine hits, walked one, struck out two, and five of the six runs charged against him were earned.

In total Lakewood out-scored Hagerstown 18-13 in the series, and the BlueClaws outhit the Suns 31-25. The Suns next head back home to Hagerstown to take on the Kannapolis Intimidators (24-34, 59-68) in a five-game series beginning on Saturday, August 29. The Suns will send RHP Luis Reyes (6-7) to the mound on Saturday for his 24th start and appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Kelvis Valerio (1-2) for Kannapolis. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Game 127 Review: National drop opener to Marlins 4-3

NIHILISM COMES TO THE NATIONALS CLUBHOUSE, LOSES 4-3.

August is where baseball seasons go to die, and the Nationals’ campaign is all but dead.

Though their elimination is not yet complete, you’d have struggled to find evidence of that Friday night at Nationals Park. The Marlins leapt out to a 4-1 lead off Nationals ace Max Scherzer, and a lackluster injury-depleted lineup could not compete with the 51-77 Miami Marlins, who remain without the service of their mammoth offensive machine, Giancarlo Stanton.

Scherzer completed seven full, surrendering two home runs among the six hits, and striking out eight. The blasts from Marcel Ozuna and Martin Prado were enough to put the Marlins on top for the evening. Though Scherzer would recover to throw four strong innings after giving up the runs, it was enough to doom his outing.

Trea Turner, starting at 2nd base, was a bright light for the Nationals in the field, making a series of nice plays that demonstrated his incredible speed. He left the game in the eighth inning as part of a double switch.

Danny Espinosa started in left field tonight, only moving to 2nd base as part of a double switch in the eighth. Espinosa acquitted himself well in the outfield, including making a long run to retrieve a foul fly ball.

Ian Desmond put the Nationals on the board in the 2nd to tie the game at one, and Wilson Ramos would deliver another blast in the 5th to narrow the lead to 4-2. The Nationals had every chance to take the lead in the sixth inning, as the wheels came right off Marlins starter Adam Conley. A double by Jayson Werth into the bullpen, a single by Anthony Rendon and a Bryce Harper walk loaded the bases with no one out.

Kyle Barraclough came out of the bullpen to face Ryan Zimmerman, who delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3. Ian Desmond struck out swinging, but Espinosa walked to re-load the bases for Wilson Ramos. Despite Ramos’ earlier towering blast, Barraclough came in to attack the zone against the Buffalo, getting him to ground out to end the threat.

Felipe Rivero pitched 1.1 innings of perfect relief, his stellar control on display before the Nationals Park crowd. Blake Treinen finished off the 9th, despite allowing a double and a hit batsman.

The 9th inning saw the Nationals get the tying run to 2nd, but that was all they could muster against A.J. Ramos. Ian Desmond started things off with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Espinosa. Wilson Ramos struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Clint Robinson, batting for the pitcher’s slot, flew out harmlessly to end the threat.

HERO: Ryan Zimmerman gets half a hero for his RBI tonight, but sac flies are pretty terrible.

GOAT: Yes. Every last lily-livered player. There’s no fire out there right now, no passion, just workman-like losses over and over and over again.

NATS NOTES:

  • Per the Nationals and Elias: Ryan Zimmerman has now driven in a run in 12 of his last 13 plate appearances with the bases loaded (dating to July 2014).

NEXT UP: Your next appointment with sadness is tomorrow at 7:05pm. Tom Koehler vs. Jordan Zimmermann. Bring all of the bourbon you can.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 27

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Rochester Red Wings, 6-0, Thursday night as the five game home-and-home series shifted to Frontier Field. The Red Wings strung together six runs in their first seven batters to take an early lead off Chiefs starter Taylor Jordan en route to the win.

Syracuse (59-74) allowed just four hits the rest of the game after the six run first, thanks to four and one-third scoreless innings of relief by Bruce Billings. Offensively, the Chiefs could not solve Michael Bowden, who held Syracuse scoreless in seven innings of work. Matt Skole did pick up two hits for the second straight night.

Syracuse and Rochester play the finale of this five-game series Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Paolo Espino is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Taylor Rogers for the Red Wings.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Isaac Ballou went four-for-four with a home run and two doubles, but it wasn’t enough for the Senators as they fell to Erie 5-4. With the loss the Senators drop 62-69 while Erie improved to 57-73.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead in the first on a single by Wilmer Difo and a run scoring double by Reggie Corona. Trailing 2-1 into the 2nd, Isaac Ballou homered and Derrick Robinson drove in Adrian Sanchez with a single to give the Sens a 3-2 lead. They extended the lead when Corona scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.

Austin Voth started and took the loss, going five innings and allowing all five runs. Wander Suero and Gilbert Mendez pitched the final three scoreless innings for the Senators.

Along with Ballou’s four hits, Corona had three in the game drove in a run and scored a run.

Game two of the four-game series is Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with RH Brian Rauh on the mound for the Senators.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Salem (59-70-Overall, 30-36-Home, 21-38-Second Half) broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the bottom of the seventh before adding two more in the eighth and cruising to the 5-2 win over the Potomac Nationals (60-69-Overall, 29-37-Road, 27-32-Second Half) in the series opener at LewisGale Field on Thursday night.

The bottom of the seventh, where Salem broke the tie was a wild one with RHP Jake Johansen (1-7, 5.84) on the mound in relief of the Starter RHP Austen Williams, who logged six innings and allowed three hits, one run (earned), four walks and he struck out four. RF Franklin Guzman laced a triple high off the left-centerfield wall but was then called out on appeal at second base for the first out. 1B Jordan Betts then reached on the third error charged to 3B Drew Ward and after a fielder’s choice ball allowed 3B Deiner Lopez to reach safely, an infield single by SS Mauricio Ramos loaded the bases. 2B Wendell Rijo laced a two-run single into left field to break the tie and give Salem a 3-1 lead. On the play, Rijo was caught in a rundown between first and second base after LF Estarlin Martinez’s throw came to the plate. Ultimately Ramos tried to score from third and the putout went 7-2-4-3-2 with Ramos being tagged out at the plate by C Craig Manuel. CF Forrestt Allday then grounded out to end the inning but the damage was done.

Salem took an early 1-0 lead against Nationals the starter Williams, who was making his ninth start of the season with Potomac. In the bottom of the second after a scoreless first frame, Williams issued a one out walk to C Jordan Procyshen. Guzman singled and then Betts took a free pass to load the bases. Lopez then worked an RBI walk, pushing home Procyshen for the 1-0 Salem lead.

Potomac, against RHP Kevin McAvoy (10-9, 3.93), was held off the scoreboard through the first six frames. The Nationals offense generated only four hits in those six innings and had their best chance to score in the fifth. They got back-to-back singles from 3B Drew Ward and SS Stephen Perez to begin the frame. Ward was retired on a fielder’s choice ball by 2B Khayyan Norfork and then a double play ball from Manuel ended the inning.

Williams, after walking in the run in the second, faced only two hitters over the minimum from the third through the sixth. Williams finished with six innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned) with four walks and he struck out four. He didn’t factor into the decision.

Potomac scored the equalizer in the top of the seventh in McAvoy’s final frame. A one-out walk to RF Brenden Webb, who then stole second base, began the rally. Two batters later, with two out, Perez came up and laced an RBI single in left-centerfield to tie the ballgame at 1-1.

McAvoy earned the win for his seven innings of work. He allowed one run (earned) on five hits, he walked two and struck out five.

Salem broke the tie against Johansen, who took the loss, in the seventh before adding two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. DH Kevin Heller walked against J.J. LF Yoilan Cerse dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Heller to third after he swiped the second base bag and Procyshen brought him home with a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead. Guzman then hit a ball that might still be going over the left field wall for a solo home run, his fifth of the year, to push the lead to 5-1 Salem.

Johansen pitched two innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits, a walk and he did not record a strikeout in the outing.

RHP Kyle Kaminska (SV 3) came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning before Salem added to their lead and then closed out the 5-2 win. Potomac did push across a run in the ninth after 1B Grant DeBruin extended his hitting streak to three games with a lead-off triple. Webb brought him home for his third RBI with the Nationals by lofting a ball out to right field and the score was 5-2.

Kaminiska pitched two innings, giving up one run (earned) on two hits and he struck out one.

That was final in the opener from Salem. Lynchburg picked up another come-from-behind win over Carolina so the elimination number for the Nationals is now at 3 with 10 games to play and Potomac falls to 6-9 against the Red Sox in 2015.

Game Two tonight at 7:05 will see LHP Matthew Spann (2-6, 4.67) against LHP Daniel McGrath (2-6, 4.05) for the Red Sox.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): As an 11th-round draft choice out of Tennessee this June, Andrew Lee was hardly considered a hotshot major league prospect.  But the Hagerstown Suns right-hander has been brilliant in his first few months of professional baseball.

On Thursday night, Lee pitched five dominant innings, getting the Suns off to a good start in a 3-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws.  In his third minor league start, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Lee allowed two hits — both singles — didn’t walk a batter and fanned five.  Lee retired the final 13 he faced and didn’t allow a runner past first base.

In his hop, skip and jump through three Single A stops this summer, Lee has pitched 36 1/3 innings, allowed just 14 hits and six walks while fanning 38. He hasn’t allowed a home run and his ERA (0.28) and WHIP (.066) are microscopic.  After working in relief in his first 11 minor league appearances, Lee has taken over a spot in the starting rotation for Hagerstown. In his three starts — each lasting one inning longer than the previous — Lee has allowed only three hits, two walks and one run in 12 frames.

On Thursday, Hagerstown (64-63, 29-30 second half) got all the runs it needed in the third and fourth innings.  Jeff Gardner led off the third with a single, moved to second base on Conor Keniry’s walk, to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Osvaldo Abreu.  In the fourth inning, Bryan Mejia had a two-out RBI triple and scored on the play as Lakewood right fielder Herlis Rodriguez committed a throwing error to put the Suns up 3-0.

Lee wasn’t the only Suns pitcher who excelled.  David Napoli fanned four in 2 2/3 relief innings and Koda Glover earned his fifth save, escaping jams in the final two innings.  Entering in the eighth with two out and runners on second and third base, Glover fanned Drew Stankiewicz with a 96 mph fastball.  In the ninth inning, when Glover surrendered three hits and a run, he induced a pop out from Deivi Gruilon with two out and runners at the corners.  Lakewood (65-62, 32-27) can win the series tonight when it hosts Hagerstown in the finale of the four-game set.

Washington Nationals Game 126 Review: Nats Squeak by Padres, Injuries Arise

The Washington Nationals beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Thursday night in D.C. but suffered quite a blow in regards to injuries.

Outfielder Michael A. Taylor and third baseman Yunel Escobar were down for the count by the end of the night but Washington still managed to sneak by the Padres.

Taylor ran into the outfield wall tracking down a fly ball and came up lame and needed help get off the field with a knee contusion. Escobar was hit by a pitch in his wrist — which drove in a run — and left the game.

Starting pitcher Joe Ross threw six innings of one-hit, one-run ball while walking two batters and striking out seven for the Nats. He threw 77 pitches and 48 strikes. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 26

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs were shut out 6-0 by the Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Jose Berrios struck out 12 Chiefs and allowed only three hits in seven shutout innings of work. Matt Skole had two hits against the Red Wings in the loss.

The Chiefs and Red Wings continue their five-game home-and-home series on Thursday night at Frontier Field in Rochester. Syracuse sends right-hander Taylor Jordan to the mound against right-hander Michael Bowden. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators got shutout at Richmond 3-0.  The Senators will travel to Erie for a four game series beginning tonight at 7:05

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium, the Potomac Nationals (60-68 Overall, 31-32 Home, 27-31 Second Half) rocked the Frederick Keys (61-68 Overall, 28-38 Road, 29-30 Second Half) 10-0 in their rubber match series finale.

The Nationals’ triumph represented their 15th shutout victory this season (most in the Carolina League).

This was the final meeting between the Northern Division “Battle of the Beltway” rivals in 2015.

Potomac pounded out 11 base hits and scored in each of the first four innings of the game while Frederick scattered just six base knocks in the clash.

The Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Keys starter, LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-11), the losing pitcher, in the opening inning as Potomac 1B Grant DeBruin smacked an RBI double down the left field line that scored the leadoff single of CF Rafael Bautista. P-Nats RF Narciso Mesa, who collected four RBIs in the affair, cranked his second home run of the season, a three-run shot off the very top of the left field foul pole. Rehabbing Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla (back spasms), who ripped a first-pitch single into left field, and DeBruin were both summoned home on the blast.

Uggla went 1-for-4 with one run scored and one strikeout. Washington Nationals LF Tyler Moore, who like Uggla was down with Potomac on rehab (left ankle sprain), walked twice while going 0-for-2 with one run scored.

Potomac plated three runs in the 2nd inning to make it a 7-0 game courtesy of a throwing error committed by Frederick 1B Yaisel Mederos, a DeBruin RBI walk, and a sacrifice fly from Mesa.

The home club added one run in the 3rd on a run-scoring double raked by Bautista before the Nationals brought home two runs in the 4th on a pair of wild pitches hurled by Frederick RHP Dylan Rheault. Moore, who walked, came around to score along with DeBruin, who doubled.

Gonzalez lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up eight runs (six earned runs) on eight hits, two walks, and a wild pitch in suffering his 11th loss in ‘15.

Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark, who was optioned yesterday to Potomac, was stellar through 4.0 scoreless frames in his first career start for the P-Nats. Roark allowed three singles, walked no one, and struck out five batters.

Roark did not go the minimum 5.0 innings to qualify for the win. P-Nats RHP Brian Dupra (3-0) came out of the bullpen to capture his third win and stay undefeated in the circuit. Dupra tossed 4.0 scoreless innings and turned in a near-identical line to Roark’s performance. Like Roark, Dupra fanned five and allowed three hits. Dupra walked only one.

Keys LHP Matt Taylor, RHP Stefan Crichton, LHP Donnie Hart, and LHP Cody Wheeler each dealt 1.0 innings of relief per arm and did not allow a run.

Nationals RHP Derek Self worked a perfect 9th inning to finish the game.

This evening in Salem, VA, the Potomac Nationals begin their final road series of the 2015 regular season, a four-gamer against the Salem Red Sox (Boston) at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The set opener begins with a 7:05pm first pitch on LewisGale Field.

Nationals RHP Austen Williams (4-4, 2.62) opposes Red Sox RHP Kevin McAvoy (9-9, 4.08) in series Game One.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):  After making the South Atlantic League playoffs for three straight seasons, 2015 has been an uncharacteristic waltz around the .500 mark for the Hagerstown Suns.  Never this year has the team been better than four games over the break-even mark or worse than four games under.

Wednesday night at Lakewood, Hagerstown’s gravitational pull toward .500 continued with a 7-6 loss to the BlueClaws.  After 126 games, Hagerstown (63-63, 28-30 second half) is right where it has been for much of the season — stuck in neutral and unable to put together any kind of definitive streak, positive or negative.

Hagerstown got all of the runs back in the top of the second inning, scoring them with one swing of the bat.  After Raudy Read and Matthew Page singled and Bryan Mejia reached on an error, Jeff Gardner ripped a grand slam home run to right off Lakewood starter Elniery Garcia.

The Suns obliged with a Mejia solo home run in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single an inning later from SAL RBI leader Jose Marmolejos which tied it 6-6.  Hagerstown will try to salvage the final two games of the series, playing tonight and Friday in New Jersey.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 25

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Rochester Red Wings, 4-1, on Tuesday night. Syracuse starter A.J. Cole pitched a gem for the Chiefs, striking out seven and only giving up three hits. The win improved Syracuse to an International-League-best 17-6 in August.

Syracuse (59-72) scored first against Rochester after being shut out in Monday’s game. Second baseman Scott Sizemore led off the bottom of the third with a double to deep right-center field, his second hit in as many Chiefs at-bats. The next batter, Steve Lerud, flied out to center, deep enough to advance Sizemore to third. With one out, Darin Mastroianni singled in Sizemore to give the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs continued the scoring in the bottom of the fourth off of Rochester starter Pat Dean. With one out, Jason Martinson singled. Following Martinson, Matt Skole singled to center and advanced Martinson to third. Ricky Hague continued the rally with an RBI single to left that scored Martinson and pushed Skole to third. Mario Lisson then stepped to the plate, grounding into a fielder’s choice that scored Skole to bring the Chiefs’ lead to 3-0. With two outs, Sizemore walked to put runners on first and second, and then Lerud lined a single to right field that scored Lisson.

Rochester (67-64) ran into myriad trouble against Cole. The right-hander pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing one run and striking out seven while only allowing three hits and one walk. This was Cole’s fifth straight start in which he left the game with a lead.

Syracuse and Rochester will play the final game between the two teams at NBT Bank Stadium on Wednesday night before the series shifts to Rochester for two games. Right-hander Taylor Hill will be on the hill for the Chiefs to face right-hander Jose Berrios with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): For the second night in a row, the Senators entered the ninth inning trailing and for the second night in a row, they put two runners on with no outs but on Tuesday they couldn’t move the runners around the bases and lost 2-1. Richmond evened the series with the win, improved to 63-64 on the season while the Sens dropped to 62-67.

Lucas Giolito started for the Senators and went 6.2 innings allowing two runs, both earned, while striking out eight. He was bettered by Kelvin Marte of the Flying Squirrels who went eight innings and struck out a career high in moving to 10-5 on the season. Brian Harper retired the only batter he faced and Wander Suero pitched a scoreless eighth for Harrisburg.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the Senators scored their lone run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Reegie Corona, scoring Chris Bostic which tied the game. Richmond came right back with a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead and from there, the pitchers really took over. The Senators went oh-for-six with runners in scoring position while Richmond was one-for-eight. Both teams stranded six on the bases and both teams stranded three runners in scoring position. The Senators managed just four hits, all singles.

The rubber game of the three-game series is Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Diamond in Richmond. RH Colin Bates is on the hill for the Senators against LH Matt Lujan for Richmond.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Nationals (59-68-Overall, 30-32-Home, 26-31-Second Half) and the Keys (61-67-Overall, 28-37-Road, 29-29-Second Half) traded shutout victories in the twin bill with Frederick picking up a Game One 4-0 win and Potomac coming back with a Game Two 7-0 win on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

RHP Taylor Mapes (4-3, 2.70) made the start in Game One that featured Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla and OF Tyler Moore in the lineup behind him.

Uggla made three trips to the plate, finishing 0-for-3 with a strikeout but did make three defensive plays in the field at second base. Moore started at first base and finished 0-for-2, reaching on an error and then flying out to left field.

RHP David Hess (9-3, 3.58) was brilliant for the Keys, logging the first complete game victory in his professional career in the 4-0 shutout win for Frederick. Hess gave up just one hit in his seven innings of work while issuing one walk and striking out five Nationals and improving his second half record to 7-0 with an ERA of 1.34.

The game was scoreless until the top of the third when Frederick scored three times when SS Adrian Marin walked to kick off the rally. 1B Yaisel Mederos singled, putting men on first and second. After a DH Conor Bierfeldt comebacker, 3B Derek Peterson lined a two-run single into centerfield for a 2-0 Keys advantage. LF Josh Hart then put a double into the left-centerfield gap bringing home Peterson for a 3-0 lead.

Frederick added an unearned run in the top of the third when C Wynston Sawyer struck out against Mapes but was able to reach base on a passed ball charged to C Craig Manuel. A RF Tad Gold groundout moved Sawyer to second base and Mederos reached on an error charged to 3B David Masters that brought home Sawyer from second base, an unearned run, that gave Frederick a 4-0 advantage.

Mapes lasted five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits, two walks and he struck out three. Mapes hurled 85 pitches with 55 hitting the zone in the loss.

LHP Justin Thomas came out of the bullpen and was exceptional for Potomac. Thomas pitched two perfect innings and of the six men he retired he struck out five of them.

Potomac mustered only one hit against Hess and he issued one free pass. The Nationals also had two men reach on errors in the ballgame but both were erased on the base paths.

Game Two saw RHP Ian Dickson (3-2, 3.57) make the start against RHP Mikey O’Brien (3-5, 1.94), who was coming off a seven inning no-hit effort against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

Potomac cracked the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third when LF Estarlin Martinez reached on an error charged to 3B Anthony Caronia and then scooted to second base on a CF Rafael Bautista groundout. After a wild pitch from O’Brien moved Martinez to third, DH Alec Keller brought home Martinez with an RBI infield single for a 1-0 advantage.

The Nationals added two runs in the bottom of fifth, which proved to be O’Brien’s last inning, when 2B Khayyan Norfork walked. Two batters later Martinez hit an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap that scored Norfork from first base and pushed the National advantage to 2-0. Martinez moved to third on a Bautista infield single and then scored on a wild pitch, the second of the ballgame, by O’Brien for 3-0 lead.

O’Brien didn’t last the fifth inning, pitching 4.2 frames and three runs (two earned) scored against him on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in the loss.

Dickson danced through five innings of work just allowing one hit but walking four and setting a new season high with six strikeouts, throwing 85 pitches with 44 in the strike zone.

LHP R.C Orlan pitched a scoreless sixth inning, issuing two, two-out walks but ultimately ending the inning.

RHP Garrett Cortright entered the game and the Nationals, in the bottom of the sixth, blew the game open with four runs in the inning. With two outs and a runner, RF Brendon Webb, on second base after doubling, SS Stephen Perez snuck a ball through the right side for an RBI single to make it 4-0 Nats’. Norfork then walked and C Zach Wright lined an RBI single into left field for a 5-0 lead. Martinez hit a little comebacker and Cortright air-mailed the ball over the first baseman allowing both Norfork and Wright to score for a 7-0 lead for the Nationals.

That was the final as RHP Phillips Valdez entered in the top of the seventh and faced four men closing out the 7-0 nightcap victory for the Nationals.

Potomac is now 14-9 in shutout ballgames and 8-8 in double header games in 2015. The Nationals are now 8-13 against the Frederick Keys and their elimination number is down to 6.

The rubber match series finale tonight will see the newest member of the Potomac Nationals, RHP Tanner Roark (0-0, 0.00) make his first start in the Carolina League this season against LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-10, 6.79) for the Keys.

First pitch is set for 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns are on the verge of elimination from the postseason in the South Atlantic League.  On Tuesday night they showed why as they were out-hit, out-pitched and out-fielded by the Lakewood BlueClaws in a 6-3 loss.

Lakewood got nine hits to five for Hagerstown and played flawlessly in the field while the Suns made two errors, both coming in run-scoring frames for the BlueClaws.

Lakewood (64-61, 31-26 second half) got all the runs it needed in the second inning when its first five hitters reached via base hits off Suns’ starter Will Amlung (3-3).  Lakewood starter Austin Davis (4-5) got the win, giving up four hits in five innings and surviving a momentary fitof wildness in the fifth when he surrendered all of the Suns’ runs.

On consecutive at-bats, Davis hit Austin Davidson and Stevenson with pitches and then issued a bases-loaded walk to Osvaldo Abreu. Jose Marmolejos followed with a two-run single, expanding his RBI lead in the SAL.

Entering the evening, the first baseman had driven in 77 runs, seven more than any player in the league.   In the final four innings, Hagerstown (63-61, 28-29) went quietly getting only two men on base against Jairo Munoz, who fanned four in three innings, and Matt Hockenberry, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.  The series continues tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 24

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Rochester Red Wings, 9-0, on Monday night.

Syracuse (57-72) could not solve Rochester starting Logan Darnell who pitched a complete game shutout. The left-hander pitched a gem for Rochester, throwing a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Emmanuel Burriss broke up the no-hitter on an infield single in the seventh.

Syracuse and Rochester play the second of five consecutive games on Tuesday at NBT Bank Stadium with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Right hander A.J. Cole will get the start for Syracuse against left-hander Pat Dean of Rochester.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): For just the fourth time this season the Senators won a game when trailing after eight innings, rallying for three in the ninth at Richmond to beat the Flying Squirrels 4-3. With the win the Senators improve to 62-66 while Richmond falls to 62-64.

Trailing 3-1 into the ninth inning, Brian Jeroloman singled with one out. Isaac Ballou and pinch-hitter Adrian Sanchez followed with walks to load the bases off of Richmond closer Derek Law. After the walk to Sanchez, Richmond summoned Tyler Mizenko in to pitch. Wilmer Difo reached on an infield single, scoring Jeroloman, and trimming the Richmond lead to 3-2. Brian Goodwin followed with a two-run single driving in the tying and go ahead runs for the Senators. On the play Difo was thrown out trying to advance to third.

Paul Demny pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, pitching around a leadoff single, to record his fifth save on the season. Nick Lee pitched a perfect eighth inning to earn the win and move to 2-0 with the Senators.

Harrisburg scored their first run in the second inning when Ballou hit into a bases-loaded fielder’s choice, scoring Shawn Pleffner. Chris Bostick was the only Senator with two hits in the game.

John Simms started for Harrisburg and pitched six shutout innings allowing five hits while striking out nine but took a no-decision when Richmond scored three times off Erik Davis in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Game two of the three game series is Tuesday night with RH Lucas Giolito on the hill for the Senators against LH Kelvin Marte for Richmond.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Tonight’s series opener between the Potomac Nationals (58-66-Overall, 29-31-Home, 25-30-Second Half) and the Frederick Keys (60-66-Overall, 27-36-Road, 28-28-Second Half) was postponed at Pfitzner Stadium due to weather and has been rescheduled for tonight as part of a double header.

A late blooming storm came in about an hour before first pitch was scheduled and rained consistently for over an hour creating an unplayable baseball field.

First pitch in Game One of the twin bill is set for 5:00 pm with the gates opening at 4:30 pm. Game Two will follow 30-40 minutes following the conclusion of Game One and both games will consist of seven innings.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): OFF.  The Suns will travel to Lakewood to begin a four game set tonight at 7:05

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