Nationals have rough go vs. Giants

July 11th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The All-Star break can’t arrive soon enough.

The Nationals’ 10-4 loss to the Giants on Saturday at Oracle Park was an overall rough affair. was very unlucky, the defense committed multiple errors and the offense was generally quiet, all of which equates to the formula of a forgettable afternoon.

“I want to come out tomorrow and go one-and-oh tomorrow and leave the first half on a good note,” said manager Dave Martinez.

Lester was roughed up to the tune of eight runs (three earned) across 2 2/3 innings, but as evidenced by the five unearned runs, the veteran southpaw was the victim of bad breaks.

With one out and runners on first and second, Darin Ruf hit a towering fly ball to left field that faded at the warning track. Left fielder Gerardo Parra camped under the ball for what should’ve been the inning’s second out. Instead, Parra dropped the ball, allowing Ruf to reach base and load the bases. San Francisco wouldn’t let the opportunity go to waste and plated three runs, all of which were unearned.

Lester bounced back in the second inning and retired the side in order, but the full fury of the Giants’ lineup chased Lester before he could finish the third as they batted around the order for a second time. Fueled by an error by third baseman Starlin Castro on a routine grounder, Lester was tagged for five more runs, only three being earned, and the lefty was pulled from the game with two outs in the third.

“It is what it is,” Lester said. “It doesn’t really matter how hard they hit it, it’s still hits, still runs. Kind of the same song and dance as the last couple here. Maybe a little reset button and get ready for the second half.”

With Lester unable to finish the third inning, the onus, once again, fell on the bullpen, which has had to throw 14 2/3 innings over the last three games as Max Scherzer, Paolo Espino and Lester combined to go only 10 innings. Ryne Harper, Kyle McGowin and Jefry Rodriguez handled the remainder of the game, collectively allowing only two runs across the latter 5 1/3 innings.

“I can’t say enough about what Harper, McGowin and Jefry Rodriguez did for us. Saved the rest of our guys. Hopefully tomorrow, we can get some a little deeper from [Erick] Fedde and our bullpen will be sound.”

While McGowin was part of the relief troops, he was limited to just four batters and left the game in the middle of an at-bat against Thairo Estrada in the sixth inning. McGowin pointed to his pitching arm after summoning an athletic trainer to the mound, but Martinez said after the game that McGowin had suffered general fatigue and was being further evaluated.

Losing McGowin would only further hurt an already banged-up roster. Less than 24 hours earlier, catcher Yan Gomes left Friday’s game with an oblique strain, catching one warmup pitch prior to the bottom of the second inning before leaving the game.

While most of the afternoon was doom and gloom, save the four runs in the latter three innings, the team did have the opportunity to celebrate a grand debut.

Rookie catcher , who earned his first Major League callup just prior to game time, smoked a double with an exit velocity of 104.8 mph to notch his first hit in his first plate appearance. The accomplishment was acknowledged on Oracle Park’s video board and Reetz received a sizable applause from the home crowd.

“It’s awesome for him,” Martinez said. “We didn’t get him until the game started. He came out to the dugout, [we] saw him and it was a perfect opportunity to get him an at-bat and he hit a rocket into right field, which is awesome. Congratulations to him and his family.”