After all that had happened in the last day, Washington Nationals still had a chance to save a serial winner against the Atlanta Braves. They had struggled to generate offense all Sunday afternoon, mainly against riders, but had given way in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings.
Nobody boasted. Instead came the decisive blow in the top of the tenth on a two-run, shattered hit races from Atlanta's Johan Camargo, which created a deficit that the farmers could not overcome in a 4-3 loss at Nationals Park . On the tower, reliever Tanner Rainey tied around and then, as it once was a 97 mph fastball sailed over the wall in the right field, when the game and the series escaped.
"He just shook the ball" Manager Dave Martinez said about Rainey's pitch at Camargo. "He just shot really bad. It was going to be gone. It came in." The citizens put a rally at the bottom of the inning and scored one before they streamed two. It wasn't enough. The end-of-life consumption provided at the end of an 1
During this stretch, the citizens began to resettle as legitimate contenders in the NL East, completing a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies and securing a dramatic 4-3 victory over Braves on Friday night. On Saturday they built and maintained a lead that climbed up to four runs in the sixth.
Then everything was dissolved. Bullpen allowed as many races as it got outs (nine) in what was a 13-9 loss. Collapse catalyst, embattled reliever Trevor Rosenthal, was released before Sunday's game. The nations needed to set up a new Sunday starter, Austin Voth, because they had used one of their candidates, Joe Ross, out of the bull the night before.
If the compatriots had secured both games, they would be 4½ games behind the first place Braves heading in a series against the last place Miami Marlins. But Sunday's loss instead beat them down to 8½ games out.
"We know we're able to stop any of these guys," said catcher Yan Gomes. "We gave us a chance to win today. It just didn't come our way. But no shame, no hanging heads. We still have to look forward."
During the weekend's chaos, the team received stability from a surprising source that Voth shone in his season debut.
The spot starter gave the countrymen six effective innings, worked fast, knocked out seven, and one day one day Martinez seemed intimate that his fifth starting role was far from certain. Although Voth allowed solo home runs to Josh Donaldson and Ronald Acuña Jr. – The game only scores until the seventh – he still gave the citizens more than they could have expected.
"I really liked what I saw," Martinez said. "We want to see where he fits in, but I was very impressed."
Voth's increased command was made more impressive by his great jump in speed, which he attributed to 9 rest days since his last start and the fact that he got 10 pounds while training this offseason. Last year, during his first toe-dip in MLB, his four-nail fastball averaged 91.3 mph. In this he started on average 93.9 and regularly touched 95 and 96 mph on the corners, making conflicting Hitter's flail. In Voth's first twice through Braves' batting order, he hit the young Atlanta stars Acuña and Dansby Swanson both times with a fastball in this range.
"Curveball and change-up [kept them off balance] as long as I held them down was the most important thing," Voth said. "I threw a few seats that were open in the zone that I kind of got away with, but when I was down in the zone, it was enough when I was best."
Voth held citizens in the game as they needed it most, because the people looked overmatched on the plate for most of the first six innings. It wasn't as if Braves' starter Mike Soroka dominated.
The 21-year-old right-wing man, who has a 2.07 ERA and has been named as a foreign candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, left after two innings because Voth plunked him on the record with a fastball on what appeared to be that real forearm. Journeyman Reliever Josh Tomlin entered the third, allowed a leadoff single and then invisibly struck through the next 12 smashes he faced.
"They'll beat," Martinez said. "[Today was] just one of the days happening. We scored late, we had our chances and we couldn't capitalize."
In the seventh wakeful people's bats. Juan Soto got a hanging basket ball in the middle of the Grant Dayton plate and crushed it to a towering 385 foot home run landing a few rows in the right field bleachers. So in an echo of the offense they had tied together Saturday night, the countrymen used three consecutive singles and an error from Acuña in the center field to push the binding race over.
The nations had a chance to step forward in the eighth. They put runners on the first and second without outs, forced Braves to draw the infield and put one of their better left-handed heaters, Adam Eaton, on the plate against right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak. Eaton bundled and third baseman Donaldson charged, spun and threw the main runner out by a third.
Next hitter, slugger Anthony Rendon hit a rocket, but right next to Donaldson, who started a welcoming double game. Since the countrymen could not score in the next inning, after putting a runner in the second with two outs, the game went to extras. Ultimately, citizens paid their missed opportunities on Sunday. Time will tell if they will pay them again later.