Nats Blast Their Way to a 6-1 Win Over Seattle

Offense hits three home runs. Gore goes seven, striking out eight

Keibert Ruiz hit one of the three Nats home runs. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

WASHINGTON, DC-Before last night, the Washington Nationals were 2-8 in their last 10 games. They were losers of two straight, and struggled to create offense to support decent starters and a strong bullpen. The Nats run differential this season is -21, evidence they have trouble crossing the plate, despite a 12-3 win over Minnesota on Monday. With the Seattle Mariners in town, they looked to right the ship in an interleague matchup.

The Mariners scored first. Lead off hitter J.P. Crawford blasted a Mackenzie Gore (3-4) fastball 399 feet for a home run. Gore settled in after that, retiring the next five. and by the end of the second inning had three strikeouts. Mariners starter George Kirby (4-5) breezed through Nats hitters early, throwing strikes that found their way into the gloves of his fielders. He attacked hitters all night, but in the first three innings alone, he threw five first pitch strikes, sending all nine hitters faced back to the dugout.

The way the game moves currently, Gore seemed to know he had little room for another mistake. By the top of the fourth, he had six strikeouts and had only surrendered a walk and an infield hit that was very close to being an out at first..

CJ Abrams congratulates Luis Garcia Jr. on his home run. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

In the bottom of the inning, CJ Abrams got things rolling for the home team when he smacked a pitch into left field. Joey Meneses joined him on the bases with another hit to left. Luis Garcia Jr. strolled up to the plate next, and on the first pitch he saw, hit his fifth home run of the year, giving the Nats a 3-1 edge. Keibert Ruiz joined the hit party, singling to left.  Next up, Nick Senzel singled to right, moving Ruiz to third, who failed to reach home. Yet, the Nats amassed five hits in the inning, effectively shaking off the woes of the last week.

Mackenzie Gore earned his third win of the season. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

By the fifth, Gore hit his groove, walking confidently back to the dugout, following a strikeout of Jonathan Clase. By that point, 15 of 17 Mariners batters could not solve Gore’s arsenal. Home plate umpire Alex Tossi called a high zone all night, giving both pitchers some leeway.

In the top of the sixth, Crawford bested Gore again, this time with a single. But he was out on the next play on a forceout. Left on first, Dylan Moore quickly stole second, his second stolen bag of the season. The Mariners do not steal much but are eight of nine this season. Moore moved to third on a groundout by Mith Garver. But he stayed there when Eddie Rosario robbed Cal Raleigh of a hit with a shoe string catch. The Nats offensive barrage continued in the bottom of the sixth. Keibert Ruiz hit a two-run shot with Jesse Winker on base after a walk. The ballpark lit up in red in celebration of Ruiz’s second.

Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography

With Gore’s pitch count at 84 to start the seventh, reliever Hunter Harvey left his seat in the bullpen to warm up. Gore surrendered a single to Ty France. Back on track with two flyouts, Jorge Palanco went down on a strikout swinging. Gore’s fastball was still at 96 MPH, but he tricked Palanco with a curveball. Looking like a future ace, his night ended with eight strikeouts on 98 pitches. He gave up just four hits, one walk and one earned run.

“He was attacking the strike zone,” Manager Dave Martinez said. “He got early outs. He pitched really well. His fastball was electric. He threw breaking balls when he needed to.”

Garcia having already sparked the offense, flashed his glove in the eighth. With Harvey on the mound and two outs, he slid to pick a ball hit by Moore,. headed to the outfield and moving away from him. Making the play look easy, he threw a missile to Joey Gallo at first for the out. With Rosario up in the bottom of the inning, the Nats added an insurance run in the form of a solo shot. The home run marked their third of the game, and gave the Nats a decisive 6-1 lead.

Summing up the win, Martinez said, “We got some balls in the zone. We hit some fastballs. And so, we had some really good at-bats. Guys stayed in the middle of the field, hit a home run the other way. Keibert finally got in his legs a bit, spread out a little bit. Everybody stayed behind the baseball, so it was good.”

See the box score and highlights HERE.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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