Guardians 6, Nationals 4: Chad Kuhl struggles, Nats drop another close one

The Nationals have continued to drop tight and winnable games, and the same occurred Saturday, where the Nats built up a lead early but couldn’t hang on.

Washington did get on the board in a hurry though, as in the first inning they took a 3-0 lead. Alex Call led off the game by reaching base on a Jose Ramirez throwing error which was followed up by a Dominic Smith single, and the scoring opened from there: Joey Meneses, Jeimer Candelario (double), and Keibert Ruiz all came through with RBI hits.

It was another day of Washington’s offense not being able to provide after early production, though. Luis Garcia singled to lead off the fourth and Ruiz drove him in for his second RBI of the afternoon for the Nats’ fourth run of the ballgame, but after that, the Nats had five hits and no runs in the final five innings.

And, defensively, it was another rough start for Nats starter Chad Kuhl. He yielded just a run through three innings on a Myles Straw RBI single in the second, though the fourth and fifth were the game-changing innings. After giving two free passes on balls, Will Brennan and Straw — his second of the day — struck RBI singles to tie it up at 3-3 in the fourth.

The Guardians then took a 5-4 lead in the fifth, as Ramirez socked a two-run long ball and Kuhlh was pulled 2/3 into the fourth. Kuhl’s final line was seven hits, five runs, three walks, and only two strikeouts.

Washington’s bullpen was solid for the most part. Erasmo Ramirez finished the fifth for Kuhl before hurling two scoreless innings, though Anthony Banda would start the eighth but only get 1/3 of the way through before Thaddeus Ward was summoned on to finish the inning after Banda served up a pair of hits. Ward would get out of the inning but Cleveland grabbed an insurance run off the righty in the ninth off Josh Bell‘s RBI double.

The two sides gear up for the series finale Sunday afternoon, as the Nats hope to avoid the sweep.

Sunday @ 1:05 p.m. ET: Patrick Corbin vs. RHP Shane Bieber

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