HARPER GOES YARD TWICE, NATS STILL FALL TO MARINERS
On Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field, the Washington Nationals’ attempt to sweep the Seattle Mariners fell just short, as the Nats fell 5-3 despite a big day from young outfielder Bryce Harper.
Washington put the game’s first points on the board, scoring in three consecutive innings.
In the top of the second inning, Harper (3-for-4, 2 RBI) got his banner day started when he took an 0-1 pitch to deep right to give the Nationals the early one-run lead. The following inning, Washington tacked on a second run when Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4, RBI) led off the inning with his own solo shot. In the fourth, Harper hit his second homer of the day.
As the Nationals continued to steadily score runs, the Mariners were able to score their first run when Dustin Ackley singled to score Brad Miller.
While the Nationals scored early, the Mariners scored late and stole the series finale from Washington.
Staring down a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning, Ackley delivered another blow to Nationals’ starter Tanner Roark. On a 2-0 pitch, Seattle’s left fielder took Roark’s pitch deep over the right field wall to put the Mariners in front for good, 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, Seattle added one more run for a little extra insurance when Endy Chavez doubled off of Craig Stammen to score a pinch-running James Jones. The earned run was charged to Jerry Blevins who walked Kendrys Morales to leadoff the inning.
Down to their final three outs, Harper continued his productive day with a leadoff single, but finished the game stranded at second after Jose Lobaton (0-for-1), Asdrubal Cabrera (0-for-3, BB) and Schierholtz all went down in order.
Roark (6.1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 4 K) was handed his ninth loss of the season as the Nationals fell 5-3.
On Monday night, the Nationals are in Los Angeles to begin a three-game series with the Dodgers. For the series opener, Gio Gonzalez will be squaring off against Los Angeles’ Robert Hernandez. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM EST.
- While Seattle found success with runners in scoring position (4-for-9), Washington missed their fair share of opportunities. On the day, the Nationals went 0-for-7 with RISP and left six runners on base.
- For the fifth time in his career, Bryce Harper hit at least two home runs in one game. His solid performance on Sunday afternoon ended a strong August. In the past month, he hit seven homers and 15 RBI.
- In the top of the seventh inning, the Nationals did have one last good opportunity to score a run. With a pinch-running Danny Espinosa just 90 feet from home and Denard Span (1-for-4) at the dish, the Nationals’ lead off man grounded out a 2-2 pitch on the seventh pitch of the at bat to end the inning.
Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!