In this doubleheader, manager Dave Martinez needed a starter for today’s first game. They called up Jefry Rodriguez for the critical Game 1 start. JRod didn’t disappoint. He went 5-innings of one-run baseball and probably could have gone deeper in this one as he earned his first MLB win in this 8-3 game. Rodriguez on the season now has gone 9 2/3 innings against the Braves and given up only one-run.
This was a huge win for the Nationals with two innings where they scored four-runs. Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman each had 3-hits a piece and Bryce Harper and Juan Soto had 2-hits each. Soto added 3-walks for a perfect day at the plate while reaching all 5 times.
The second four-run inning was keyed by a Spencer Kieboom walk and a Jefry Rodriguez double. The big blasts were home runs by Bryce Harper to get the Nats on the board and tie the game and Ryan Zimmerman homered after Harper.
“He did a great job,” Dave Martinez said about Jefry Rodriguez. “His stuff was good. Throwing 94-95 and his stuff was sinking.”
The game changed quickly when Spencer Kieboom smashed a liner in the second inning that hit Braves starter Max Fried squarely in the lower back. The Braves reported that he pulled his groin. The liner was hit at 104 mph.
There was some drama early in the game when Juan Soto hit a ball off of the centerfield wall which looked like a catch when it bounced off of the Braves centerfielder and rebounded into the glove of their leftfielder who was backing up on the play. The 3rd base ump was the only one who motioned that it was not a catch and third base coach did not communicate to Trea Turner who was at 2nd base and sprinted back to 1st base and Soto crossed him on the base paths which meant Soto was out. It was unfortunate but luckily did not factor into the outcome of the game.
The newly acquired Greg Holland pitched a scoreless 7th inning while walking one and striking out three batters. Matt Grace and Wander Suero each gave up a run for the bullpen that covered 4-innings. None of the Nats relievers worked too hard except for Holland and Suero who each threw 22 pitches in this game as the other relievers did not throw more than 11 pitches in this game. Sammy Solis got 3-outs on 5-pitches. Conversely, the Braves relievers threw a lot of pitches with Allard at 43, Jackson at 36, Carle at 29, and Venters at 11.
The Nationals bullpen is in much better shape for tonight with Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera totally rested.
For the first game, the announced attendance was 26,965 and they got to see a great game with no rain which seemed to rain everywhere but at Nationals Park as lightning could be seen and thunder was booming most of the 8th and 9th innings. With this win, the Nationals moved within 5.0 games of the first place Phillies while picking up a game against the Braves.