February 22, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 62 Review: Ross goes eight strong to top Brewers

The Washington Nationals have struggled hitting in their past 20 games, and dropped the first two of a four-game weekend series from the Milwaukee Brewers. On Saturday, the bats woke up a bit and the Nats benefitted from a tremendous outing from their rookie pitcher to top the Brewers 7-2 at Miller Park.

Joe Ross, making his second start of the season, was stellar to earn his first big league win. He went eight impressive innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out eight. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper reached base each of his five trips to the plate while Yunel Escobar and Wilson Ramos homered to provide a welcome bit of offensive prowess.

The Nats broke out quickly. With one out in the first, consecutive singles by Anthony Rendon, Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper resulted in the first run of the game — and Harper’s 50th RBI with 100 games to go.

Milwaukee sent six men to the plate in the second, plating two runs. Adam Lind singled to lead off, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a ground out, and scored on Jean Segura’s infield single. Segura then scored on Scooter Gennett’s double to the right center gap.

The Nats retook the lead in the third. With one out, Anthony Rendon drew a walk. Then, on a 1-0 pitch, Escobar clubbed one over the wall in left center for a two-run homer. Harper and Wilson Ramos followed with singles, but Danny Espinosa popped up and Ian Desmond flied out to center to end the frame.

In the fifth, the Nats added to the lead. With two outs, Bryce Harper drew his 52nd walk of the season, then Wilson Ramos drilled one the opposite way for his 5th homer of the season. Espinosa followed with a booming double to left center and Desmond was hit by a pitch. Michael Taylor then bounced one up the middle that plated Espinosa to make it 6-2.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson gave up a single to Span and hit Rendon to start the sixth, so manager Craig Counsel lifted him in favor of Neal Cotts. Cotts retired Escobar, but Harper laced one to right for his third hit of the day, scored Span from second and extend the Nats lead to 7-2.

HERO: Joe Ross. The rookie, making his second start of the season, goes eight quality innings. He joins Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann as the only other Nats to go eight this season. His two-out walk in the eighth was his first in two starts, to set a Nats record for batters faced in a career (51) before issuing a walk.

GOAT: No goat. Nats win! Nats win!

NATS NOTES:

  • Yunel Escobar, Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos — the 3-4-5 hitters — all had multi-hit games. Amazing how getting on base leads to more runs scored.
  • In his final at bat in the ninth inning, Harper was hit just above the left knee by reliever Michael Blazek and left the game. Matt den Dekker replaced him. Harper was the third Nats batter hit on the day.
  • Danny Espinosa, who recently played left field for the first time in his career, started at first base and made several nice plays as if he’d played there his entire life.

NEXT GAME: Sunday at 2:10 pm Eastern. Max Scherzer (6-5, 2.13) faces Taylor Jungmann (1-0, 1.29).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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