The Washington Nationals faced a tough start to the last week of August, enduring a sweep at the hands of the Phillies in Philadelphia, but rallied to take the first two games of an interleague matchup in Seattle against the Mariners. Despite the sweep, the Nationals maintained the best record in the National League at 77-57.

Aug. 25-27: Nationals Catch Broom in Philly

Washington fell, 3-2, in Game One of a three-game series against division rival Philadelphia on Aug. 25. Tanner Roark got the start for the Nationals, but gave up six hits and two earned runs through five innings pitched. Third baseman Anthony Rendon and catcher Wilson Ramos both hit home runs, Washington’s only two runs scored, but the team mustered up just six hits total.

Wil Nieves, Denard Span

Washington Nationals’ Denard Span, right, scores past Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wil Nieves on a double by Anthony Rendon during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The next day,  the Nationals lost another close contest in Game Two, a 4-3 loss on Aug. 26. With Washington trailing 3-0 in the top of the seventh inning, Ramos and outfielder Kevin Frandsen both hit RBIs to cut the Phillies lead to 3-2. Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera went the yard with a solo home run to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, but a throwing error by shortstop Ian Desmond gave Philly the eventual game-deciding run in the bottom of that inning.

Facing a sweep in Game Three on Aug. 27, the Nationals couldn’t overcome a shaky start by Doug Fister, falling 8-4. Fister was uncharacteristically awful, allowing 10 hits and five runs in less than six innings pitched. Center fielder Denard Span hit a solo home run and Washington generated four runs, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the red-hot bats of Philly, who had 15 hits total.

Aug. 29-30: Washington Rallies with Two Wins in Seattle

Rafael Soriano

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Rafael Soriano throws against the Seattle Mariners in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, in Seattle. The Nationals won 8-3. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A cross-county trip to Seattle was all Washington needed to get back on track, as they claimed an 8-3 win in Game One of a three game series against the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 29. Rendon, Ramos, Desmond, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper each went the yard with home runs for Washington, with Ramos delivering two homers. Jordan Zimmermann was solid on the mound, striking out eight batters but also giving up seven hits and two runs in six innings pitched.

Werth hit another home run in a 3-1 winin Game Two on Aug. 30. Werth’s two-run homer in the first inning put the Nationals ahead early. Rendon had an RBI in the fifth inning that extended the lead to 3-0. Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg shut Seattle down for the first seven innings, surrendering just one run in the eighth inning and finishing with eight strikeouts and just six hits allowed. Rafael Soriano eventually closed out the game for his 30th save of the season.


Next up:
After completing the interleague series with Seattle on Aug. 31, Washington will head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in a three-game road series from Sept. 1 to Sept. 3. The Nationals will then return to Washington to host the Phillies in a three-game home series from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor