After dropping the matinée to the Cincinnati Reds in a game in which they could push across only one score, the Washington Nationals badly needed a win in the evening game, and that’s what they got.
An offensive unit that was almost completely inept in the first game of the day-night doubleheader roared back to life this evening, plating at least one run in each of the first five innings. The Nats won this one 6-2, with starter Jeremy Hellickson netting his fifth win of the year and Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Matt Adams furnishing some sock in the lineup.
The game was marred by a couple of scary scenes at the plate, as Soto appeared to foul a ball into his hmms and spent an agonizing minute on the ground in pain before rising, flashing his young-Denzel smile at manager Davey Martinez, and getting back into the box (he worked a walk and then scored from first base on a double), and then later Bryce Harper was nailed by an errant slider from young Reds reliever Austin Brice, leaving him with what’s sure to be a nasty bruise (and hopefully nothing more) on the right kneecap that ultimately forced him from the game.
Ryan Madson certainly appeared to retaliate in the eighth inning when he reared back and drilled Joey Votto square in the leg with a two-out, first-pitch fastball. Votto did not appreciate it, appearing to ask the ever-stoic Madson, “Really? Really?” as he stomped down to first base, then got into an animated and mostly one-sided discussion with Matt Adams that included a lot of what I like to call “daddy words”. Afterward, Votto continued chirping at Madson, and Martinez appeared to get into a shouting match with Eugenio Suarez that included a few more daddy words. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings but chose not to respond to a couple of high-and-tight pitches from Nats closer Kelvin Herrera, who struggled with command in the ninth before finishing this one off.
It’ll be Tanner Roark vs. Luis Castillo tomorrow as the Nats (56-54) try to win this series. We all hope that the beanball display in today’s game doesn’t carry over into tomorrow, and that Harper will turn out just fine after that bit of sixth-inning Brice-on-Bryce violence.