Bullpen falters as P-Nats drop third straight

The Potomac Nationals (23-27) dropped a third straight game in a row against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (26-24) on Sunday night at Frawley Stadium. For the third consecutive night, the Blue Rocks came from behind in the late innings to defeat the P-Nats. With Potomac leading 3-0 in the seventh inning, Wilmington brought nine men to the plate in the bottom of the seventh and scored four runs on five hits, a walk and an error against two P-Nats relievers.

p-natsPotomac jumped out early against Wilmington starter RHP A.J. Puckett. The first four batters to reach the plate registered a hit against Puckett to give the P-Nats a 2-0 lead. CF Victor Robles led off the game with a single to center. The next batter, 2B Austin Davidson, doubled into left-center field, scoring Robles from first for the first run of the game. C Taylor Gushue followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Then, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez capped off the two-run inning with an RBI infield single to second base.

The P-Nats added another in the top of the fourth inning with some timely two-out hitting. After Puckett retired the first two batters in the frame, LF Jack Sundberg lined a double down the left-field line. Robles blooped a single down the right-field line to plate his 15th run of the season and give The Red, White & Blue a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Matthew Crownover pitched very well for Potomac on Sunday night throwing five and two-thirds scoreless innings against Wilmington. The left-hander allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. He was pulled from the game with two outs in the sixth after allowing a single to C Nathan Esposito.

All of the trouble for Potomac came in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Blue Rock broke out for four runs on five hits, a walk and one costly error in the frame. RHP Mariano Rivera III began the inning after getting the final out of the sixth and allowed the first three men in the inning to reach on two singles and a walk. Rivera was pulled for RHP Kyle Schepel (L, 1-1) with the bases loaded and nobody out. The right-hander allowed a single to RF Anderson Miller to drive in the first run. The tying runs scored after an infield single back to Schepel, who threw the ball away trying to throw the runner out at home plate. Two runs scored on the base hit and error. 1B Chris DeVito put the Rocks on top with an RBI single to center to give Wilmington a 4-3 lead over Potomac.

While the bullpen faltered for Potomac, the Wilmington relievers stood strong. RHP Yunior Marte (W, 2-2) and LHP Richard Lovely (SV, 3) pitched four scoreless innings in relief of A.J. Puckett. The two relievers allowed only one hit over the final four frames and struck out five P-Nats.

Wilmington came from behind in the final three innings of the game for the third consecutive game against Potomac. The Rocks scored the final three runs of the game in the fifth and sixth of a seven-inning game to win 4-2 on Friday night. They scored four times in the seventh and eighth to win 7-6 on Saturday. Tonight, they scored four runs in the seventh after trailing 3-0 heading into the frame.

The errors once again proved costly for Potomac for the second straight night. On Saturday night, the P-Nats committed three errors in the game, which allowed two unearned runs to scored. In a 7-6 game, that was the difference between a win and a loss. Tonight, the P-Nats committed two errors and allowed one earned run which gave them their third loss in three night against Wilmington.

The P-Nats try and salvage the final game of a four-game set against the Blue Rocks at 12:05 pm on Memorial Day from Frawley Stadium. Potomac sends LHP Hector Silvestre (4-1, 4.80) to the mound against LHP Cristian Castillo (3-2, 2.61) for Wilmington. The P-Nats have won all but one of Silvestre’s starts in 2017. The Red, White & Blue look to avoid falling five games below .500 for the first time all season. Our coverage begins at 11:50 amwith the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. Listen in to the broadcast at potomacnationals.com or through the TuneIn Radio App or the MiLB First Pitch App.

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