Nats win one on another team’s bullpen in the 8th inning. Eaton/Kendrick go back-to-back to tie and win the game!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

Yesterday’s underperformer became today’s star as Adam Eaton with 2 outs in the 8th inning hit a game tying home run and Howie Kendrick followed Eaton with a home run to win the game. Eaton finished the game going 3-for-4 and was the offensive star. It took a tense 9th inning save for Sean Doolittle to seal the win. It happened to be Doolittle’s first save of 2019. Wander Suero who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning got the win. Anibal Sanchez pitched 7.0 full innings of 2-run baseball and pitched well enough to win, but Chris Archer was a little bit better. The Pirates lost this game from their bullpen just like the Nationals have done a few times this year. Nats fans can certainly commiserate and look no further than last night for the Nats who took a one run lead into the 8th inning.

With this win, the Nationals move back to a game above .500 with a chance to capture their third consecutive series with a win tomorrow with Max Scherzer on the mound. Good teams find a way to claw back into games, and while the team could not get the win for their starting pitcher — they got the win for the team.

Unfortunately, the Nats suffered another injury as Matt Adams stepped on Pirates pitcher Chris Archer‘s foot as he hustled to first base and was taken out of the game. Adams and Kendrick both earned starts today after both players had pinch-hit doubles in yesterday’s game. We await a status on Adams. The Nationals have few left-handed batters, and if Adams has to go on the IL, the team will have no lefties on the bench with the backup catcher, Kendrick, and Michael Taylor are all right-handed as the Nats are playing with a 4-man bench.

Seconds before Eaton’s home run, the Pirates were being praised as the best team in pitching. It is as if the bullpens juxtaposed themselves in the classic 180 degree turn. Wander Suero and Doolittle combined for a scoreless finish to the game to secure the win. With two games in a row for Doolittle, he most likely will be unavailable tomorrow.

With the good weather today, D.C. was hopping with a trio of events including the Cherry Blossom Festival, a Capitals playoff game, and the Nats game. With overlapping games, it provided for near simultaneous excitement as Brooks Orpik’s overtime game-winning shot for the Capitals at the Capital One Arena was mere seconds before Eaton scored the game tying shot for the Nats. The crowd announced at Nationals Park was 32,103 in a game that was well-attended and far exceeded the crowd at the Capitals game.

Not to be overlooked, Anthony Rendon hit a double marking this as his 10th game in a row with an extra-base hit, and that is a new Nationals record  Rendon scored the Nats first run of the game with two outs when Kurt Suzuki singled him home.

The Nationals played well today in all aspects of the game except pushing lots of runs across in the game, but today three was enough. Maybe the only mistake was Juan Soto diving for a ball that turned a single into a triple by Josh Bell. Eventually Bell scored and that run loomed large in this game which was just another in a series of super tight contests. The Nationals are now 3-2 in one run games which is a sharp contrast to last year.

 

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