Seven-Run Eighth Inning Completes Nats Comeback

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By Michael Marzzacco

After a tough loss last night, the Nationals rallied to even the series at a game apiece thanks to a seven-run eighth inning en route to an 8-5 win. In front of a great atmosphere on Fedora Night, the Nationals began the rally in the seventh with a home run by Daniel Murphy and then turned on the offense in the eighth. Prior to the game, the Nationals unveiled a sweet logo for the 2018 All Star Game at Nationals Park.

Gio Gonzalez got the start on the mound and had a rocky start but a much better finish. He started the game by striking out Jonathan Villar but surrendered a home run to Domingo Santana. The Brewers took a 2-0 lead when Gio threw a wild pitch while he struck out Jesus Aguilar. Despite the early hiccup, Gio settled down struck out eight batters over seven innings while allowing five hits in the no decision.

The Nationals offense struggled against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson. Nelson struck out 10 Nats hitters. It took the late innings before the Nats’ bats finally woke up.

In the seventh, Murphy launched a solo shot to the Nationals bullpen over the right field wall to potentially foreshadow in what would be an epic rally. Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, Matt Wieters continued the late-inning trend leading off with a walk. Pedro Severino would come in as a pinch runner. Adrian Sanchez tried to bunt Severino over to second but the plan backfired. Catcher Manny Pina got the ball and got the lead runner at second base, pretty much wasting an out on the Nationals part.

Brian Goodwin would double to right field to put runners on second and third. Wilmer Difo tied the game with a base hit to right field. Bryce Harper would then come up with runners at the corners with just one out in the eighth. After Harper struck out he argued with the umpire and got ejected. That ejection really fired up the rest of the Nationals hitters and they used that extra energy from both that and the fans to rally.

Ryan Zimmerman would the deliver a line drive double into right field that scored Goodwin and Difo to put the home team in front. After Murphy was intentionally walked, Anthony Rendon singled into right field to score Zimmerman. Adam Lind would later double into left to score Murphy and Rendon to make it 7-2. Pedro Severino doubled to the left field wall to score Lind.

The ninth inning was Sean Doolittle‘s DC debut, coming in with an 8-2 lead. Unlike his previous two outings, he didn’t walk the first batter. Instead, he struck out Jesus Aguilar. It wasn’t easy the rest of the way. Doolittle surrendered a walk to Manny Pina, a home run to Lewis Brinson, a single to Orlando Arcia, and a double by Hernan Perez. The short rally closed the gap to 8-5 but that’s all the Brewers could muster. Doolittle struck out the final two batters of the night to seal the game and get the save.

It was actually the home debut for both new relievers. Ryan Madson was credited with the win for his work in the eighth inning, facing four batters and striking out one. Madson is now 3-4 on the season.

Some postgame news came when the Nats updated everyone on the Stephen Strasburg injury. Strasburg will go on the DL but Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he’ll only miss one start. Erick Fedde will take his place in that start.

The Nationals go for the series win today at 12:05.

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