P-Nats rally falls short at Winston-Salem
The Potomac Nationals scored six unanswered runs to nearly overcome a 9-2 deficit, but their rally stalled one run short in a 9-8 defeat Saturday night in Winston-Salem. The Nationals blasted four home runs and had more than twice as many hits as the Dash in the ballgame, but three decisive hits were the Key for Winston-Salem in the victory that locked up a series win at BB&T Ballpark.
Both starting pitchers – Paul Demny for the Nationals and Joe Serafin for the Dash – got rocked. Demny lasted just four innings, allowing nine runs on five hits, two of which were massive home runs. Serafin, meanwhile, was staked to a 9-2 lead by the 4th inning but could not make it out of the sixth. He allowed seven earned runs on nine hits (including four homers), walked two and struck out none.
Three hits proved the difference in the game for Winston-Salem. In the first inning, Juan Silerio’s one-out, bases-loaded triple pushed the Dash in front 4-0. They had scored their first run on Ian Gac’s double to left field . Silverio scored on Nick Ciolli’s sacrifice fly one pitch later and Winston was ahead 5-0 after the first.
In the third, Gac hit a mammoth two-run home run to center field that made it 7-1. Potomac had nabbed a run back in the top of the inning when Jeff Kobernus hit a home run to left field.
After the Nationals got a run in the top of the fourth on Cutter Dykstra’s RBI single to right field – which was the Nats’ third straight two-out single – Winston got what would proved to be the winning hit in the bottom half. With one out and Dan Wagner at first, Tyler Saladino hit a bomb to left that gave Winston-Salem a 9-2 edge. It was Saladino’s 14th homer of the season, 5 of which have come against Potomac.
From then on, the Nationals began to chip away – and used the big fly to do it. In the fifth, Kobernus hit another deep blast to left field that trimmed the lead to five. Destin Hood then rocked the next pitch nearly out of the stadium in left field to make it 9-5.
Steven Souza led off the sixth inning with a home run to right-center, his first homer since May 24. Souza had two hits earlier in the game, and was retired just once in five trips to the plate.
After Cutter Dykstra walked, Serafin was lifted from the game. Eury Perez singled on a chopper over the mound to put runners at first and second with no outs. Francisco Soriano sacrificed them into scoring position, and Dykstra scored on a wild pitch by Orlando Santos, who had relieved Serafin. After Santos walked Kobernus, he struck out hood to end the threat and keep the Dash ahead 9-7.
Things got interesting in the seventh inning. Santos threw behind the head of Souza and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Matt Jones. Jones had not issued a warning in the fourth when Demny threw behind Mitchell just one pitch after Saladino’s home run. Dash manager Julio Vinas was incensed, argued vehemently and was ejected.
Potomac drew within a run in the eighth. Dykstra and Perez singled to open the inning and put runners at the corners. Soriano then bunted beautilly down the first base side to score Dykstra and move Perez to second. But Ryan Kussmaul – brought on when Santos was ejected – struck out Kobernus and got Hood to ground out to end the threat. On the night, the Nationals were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
The Nats rallied again with two outs in the ninth. Sandy Leon singled to center and Souza walked, but Taylor Thompson got a groundout from Dykstra and earned his tenth save.
Potomac looks to snap a three-game slide and salvage the series finale on Sunday at 5 P.M. Cameron Selik takes the mound for the Nationals against Santos Rodriguez.