TORONTO -- Ever since the Nationals acquired right-hander Ryan Madson in a trade last summer, he had not surrendered a home run in 42 1/3 innings. He acknowledged that streak had been on his mind lately, leading up to a sudden barrage Sunday afternoon in the eighth inning of a
TORONTO -- Ever since the Nationals acquired right-hander Ryan Madson in a trade last summer, he had not surrendered a home run in 42 1/3 innings. He acknowledged that streak had been on his mind lately, leading up to a sudden barrage Sunday afternoon in the eighth inning of a tie game at Rogers Centre, when Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte swatted back-to-back home runs off Madson to lead the Blue Jays to an 8-6 victory.
These were the first home runs Madson has allowed in more than a year, when he gave up a home run to Ryan Zimmerman on June 4, 2017, while pitching for Oakland.
"No command, really," Madson said. "Stuff was good, but no command of it. I think that was the major issue there with the fastball. Probably the wrong pitch and the wrong location."
That unlikely result from Madson spoiled what had been a bounce-back performance for the Nationals and their struggling offense, which had been shut out in three of the past five games. But Washington collected 13 hits on Sunday and scored six runs, coming from behind to tie the game in the sixth and eighth innings.
However, it was still not enough, as the Nationals were swept during this three-game series in Toronto, and they have now dropped five of their past six games.
"You never want to get swept, but I'm glad we swung the bats today," manager Dave Martinez said. "We haven't been swinging very well…. I'll take our chances every time we score six runs, I really will. I'm proud of them, they didn't give up, they fought the whole game."
There were encouraging signs from a few hitters. Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo each collected a pair of hits. Daniel Murphy looked healthier at the plate. And Michael A. Taylor provided a spark by collecting three hits and matching a team record with four stolen bases. The swipes moved him into the Major League lead with 21 on the season, and they helped generate a pair of runs for the Nats.
"Just the situation," Taylor said. "You know a lot of times when you get on base, you might want to steal, but the game doesn't dictate or allow it."
The Nats endured an abbreviated outing from normally steady right-hander Tanner Roark. He had tossed at least six innings in all but one of his 13 starts, but he did not have his best stuff from the outset of this game. He lasted just four innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and a pair of walks in his shortest start of the season.
"I stunk today," Roark said. "Didn't really have much working for me."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
If ever there were an opportune time for Bryce Harper to break out of his slump, it would have been with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning. Harper had a chance to give the Nationals the lead against right-hander Dennis Tepera, but he was retired on a weak fly ball that was chased down by Kevin Pillar in center field. Harper went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts on Sunday, lowering his batting average to .217 and his OPS to .834.
HE SAID IT
"It's part of the season you're going to go through. I don't even think it's that bad. Our personalities are good, our attitudes are good. We just want to play a game tomorrow." -- Madson, on moving on from getting swept
"Stay the same. Don't show any emotion out there on the mound. You have to be an actor at times when you don't have your 'A' game and you have your 'D' game. You have to be an actor. Sometimes you have to fake it." -- Roark, on pitching without his best stuff
The Nationals will resume a suspended game with the Yankees on Monday evening at Nationals Park, picking up with a tie game in the sixth inning. Harper will lead off the frame, and then things could get interesting depending on what strategy the team wants to employ the rest of the way. The suspended game resumes at 5:05 p.m. ET, with the makeup game to be played after its completion, where right-hander Erick Fedde will take the ball.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.