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Nationals Put Up Fight in Opening Series With Reds

After an abysmal Opening Day performance this past Thursday, the Washington Nationals were able to bounce back by putting up two impressive performances against the Cincinnati Reds in their first series of the 2024 MLB season, resulting in a win on Saturday and a loss on Sunday.

On Saturday, March 30th, the Nationals snuck by the Reds by the score of 7-6 for their first win of the year. This contest was very back-and-forth, as Washington was down 6-4 heading into the ninth inning, but they came through in the clutch by scoring three unanswered runs, courtesy of Jesse Winker hitting an RBI single, Keibert Ruiz getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie it up at 6-6, and then Eddie Rosario hitting a sacrifice fly to score Nasim Nunez for the go-ahead run.

Ruiz was stellar at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, a home run, and a run, while C.J. Abrams reached home plate three times, and Joey Meneses was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Third baseman Trey Lipscomb also made his MLB debut and recorded his first hit as a National.

Down 4-2 in the top of the seventh, Abrams scored on a wild pitch to make it a one-run game. Then, in the top of the eighth, Ruiz went deep to right field to tie the game up at 4-4.

Pitching-wise, Patrick Corbin got the start and struck out two batters, but gave up seven hits and four earned runs, and was pulled after 4.1 innings. Reliever Hunter Harvey was credited with the win after pitching in the bottom of the eighth, while Kyle Finnegan recorded the save.

However, on Easter Sunday, March 31st, Washington fell to Cincinnati in heartbreaking fashion 6-5. The Nationals led 5-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, and were one strike away from taking two out of three games. But Finnegan gave up a double from Jonathan India, a game-tying two-run home run from Will Benson, and then a walk-off homer from Christian Encarnacion-Strand, all on consecutive at-bats.

“That’s tough,” manager Davey Martinez told MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “Three-two, two outs. And then double, homer, homer. That’s how the game ended. That’s tough.”

A day after making his Nationals debut, Lipscomb looked even better this time around, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, an RBI, and a run. His teammate, outfielder Lane Thomas also looked solid, as he finished with three RBIs.

Abrams went deep for the first time this season to put Washington up 1-0 in the top of the third inning, before Cincinnati responded with three consecutive runs of their own.

The Nats then responded with four unanswered runs to take a 5-3 lead, as Thomas singled to drive in two runs, Lipscomb hit his first major league homer, and Thomas hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

Washington also made some tremendous fielding plays and turned three inning-ending double plays in the contest.

Jake Irvin got the start on the mound and went five full innings, striking out four Reds batters.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


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