The Nationals have been the team that never gives up, and they came back from a 4-1 deficit to tie it up in the 9th inning and hang a blown save on the Braves bullpen. But Sean Doolittle gave up a home run to Josh Donaldson in the 10th inning, and the Nats had two runners on in the bottom of the 10th inning and could not push across any runs. Rewind back to the 6th inning when pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick walked and Trea Turner laced a double into the gap with no outs — but for some reason, third base coach Bob Henley windmilled Kendrick home and he was easily thrown out for the first out of the inning and the Nationals did not score in that inning. What was Henley thinking sending Kendrick who was recovering this year from an achilles injury and a hamstring injury. Howie is not the speedster he once was, and with Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto behind them in the order — you move the line!
The Nationals scored two of their runs from home runs courtesy of Juan Soto and a pinch-hit blast by Matt Adams. In the 9th inning, Kurt Suzuki singled in one run and the tying run scored on a bases loaded doubleplay by Gerardo Parra. For starter Anibal Sanchez, he was not overly sharp and gave up four runs in just 5.0 innings. The Nats “A” bullpen was great and helped by their defense and threw a shutout from innings 6-to-9, and to the point when Doolittle gave up the game-winner.
“These guys don’t quit. They keep fighting,” manager Dave Martinez said.
Martinez said in his postgame presser that he won’t question Henley’s questionable send of Howie Kendrick because he has the confidence him. The issue here is with no outs and the heart of your order coming up, you just do not make that send.
“I don’t blame Bob [Henley]. He’s really good at what he does. I support him,” Martinez said.
In the 10th inning, the Nats were in a good spot after a swinging bunt by Adrian Sanchez and Trea Turner worked a walk from an 0-2 count, but Adam Eaton popped up a ball on the infield for the second out, and then the bad news BABIP reared its ugly head as Anthony Rendon who has never hit a walk-off home run lined the ball just off the barrel — and it went directly to the Braves leftfielder for the hard-luck last out.
This game was going on while in the backdrop general manager Mike Rizzo picked up three bullpen arms in Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elias, and Hunter Strickland. The corresponding moves will come as each player is official.