Nats win a one-run game behind nice pitching from Tanner, Madson and Kintzler save!

“The Firm” by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The Nationals move to 2-and-8 in one-run games behind a very nice effort from Tanner Roark who went 7-innings of 2-run baseball with a strong hold from Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler earned his first save for the Washington Nationals. Sean Doolittle had pitched 3-games in a row and was not available making this effort by tonight’s pitchers a big bonus.

Trea Turner started the night at the plate with a first-pitch groundout to begin the Nats’ effort, and then Trea kicked into gear and finished with 3 straight hits with a double and 2 singles driving in the winning run to raise his batting average to .284. Wilmer Difo had 2 big singles that both factored into scores. The first Difo single drove in the first run of the game, and Difo later scored on Turner’s single in the 4th inning. The Nats other RBI in the game came from Tanner Roark in this 3-to-2 victory.

The Nationals had runners on base all night with 9 hits and 3 walks but the middle of the order went hitless from Zimmerman-Harper-Kendrick. All the other spots in the Nats order had hits including the pitcher.

Trea Turner also punctuaited his 3-for-4 night with a swim move slide that showed his athleticism.

For the Pittsburgh Pirates, their 5-game winning streak ended tonight in this first game of this four game series. For the Washington Nationals, they have won 2-games in a row and have something to build on. Now if they can capitalize on the opportunities to run up the score, their manager, Dave Martinez would appreciate that.

“We have to start scoring runs [when we have the chances],” Dave Martinez said. “We have to start putting teams away when we can. We have had the opportunities. We have to capitalize.”

Martinez in the post-game did most of his talking about his bullpen usage. Sean Doolittle told his skipper that he was available, and Martinez told him that he would have the night off. The bullpen usage is more about the reliance on “The Firm” which is Doolittle, Madson and Kintzler. The Nats really need another bullpen arm to step up.

“Some of these other [relievers] are going to have to pitch in big moments as well, and it will happen,” Dave Martinez said. “But if we start scoring runs, we can start giving these guys days off. We’ve played so many one-run games already, it’s scary. I mean, it really is.”

Maybe Max Scherzer will have another gem in him for Tuesday and can go late in the game, and his offense can score a lot of runs to allow Dave Martinez to go easy on the bullpen. Wander Suero is now part of the roster and could see his MLB debut soon.

In other MLB news, the Nationals moved ahead of the Dodgers in the bottom half of the National League standings, but it was the words of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts who has vowed that his team will win the NL West that gave extra inspiration to the league’s top team Diamondbacks who beat the Dodgers last night behind 3 home runs from A.J. Pollock. That will be interesting especially since the Dodgers have lost their star shortstop, Corey Seager, for the season with an injured elbow ligament.

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