P-Nats fall 7-1 to Buies Creek
Despite outhitting their opponent, the Potomac Nationals (37-43, 4-6) dropped a second consecutive game at Jim Perry Field. The Buies Creek Astros (43-37, 6-4) ran their win streak to four games with a 7-1 victory over the P-Nats. Potomac RHP Nolan Sanburn (L, 3-2) made a critical throwing error in the sixth inning, which led to the eventual game-winning run. Opposite Sanburn, RHP Hector Perez (ND) struck out nine and allowed just one run over 5.2 innings.
Buies Creek jumped out to an early lead much like in the series opener. In the bottom of the second inning, C Eduardo de Oleo made it 1-0 Astros with a solo home run over the left field wall. It was the first of two home runs that Sanburn surrendered in the start.
The P-Nats went scoreless for the first third of the game for the second straight night, but finally got to Perez in the top of the fourth. 3B Dan Gamache singled with one out, took second base on a wild pitch, and scored the tying run on a two-out RBI single by C Taylor Gushue. Gamache finished 4-4 in his third game with Potomac.
In the top of the sixth, Potomac had men at second and third base with no outs, but failed to score, as Perez struck out Gushue and got SS David Masters to ground out. LHP Sebastian Kessay (W, 5-2) entered for Perez and struck out DH Matt Page.
Sanburn walked the leadoff man in the bottom of the sixth inning, which brought up CF Myles Straw. The team leading hitter dropped down a sacrifice bunt right back to the Potomac pitcher, but Sanburn’s throw to first base sailed over 1B Ian Sagdal, which allowed SS Anibel Sierra to score. Straw ended up on third base and later scored on a one-out RBI double by LF Yordan Alvarez.
Kessay got the P-Nats in order in the top of the seventh inning, while the Buies Creek offense broke the game open with a four-run home half of the frame. The Astros sent nine men to the plate, the first three against Sanburn, and the final six against RHP Gilberto Mendez. Sanburn gave up a leadoff home run to 1B Taylor Jones, a single to de Oleo, and walked 3B Randy Cesar. Mendez entered from the Potomac bullpen and retired the first man that he faced, but he walked Sierra, which loaded the bases, and then gave up consecutive RBI singles to Straw and RF Stephen Wrenn. Alvarez wrapped up the scoring with a sacrifice fly, as the Astros took a 7-1 lead into the eighth inning.
Potomac loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but LHP Sean Stutzman relieved Kessay and struck out Page. The P-Nats then went 1-2-3 in the ninth. Potomac finished the night 2-10 with RISP and left nine men on base, five in scoring position.
With two straight losses, Potomac will aim to take the final two games of the series and escape with a series split. Sunday afternoon, LHP Grant Borne (3-3, 1.95) will search for his sixth consecutive quality start for Potomac. The left-handed starter is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA over his past five starts. For the Astros, RHP Jorge Alcala (2-3, 3.38) will make his second start of the season vs. Potomac. On 6/14, Alcala gave up three runs on six hits in a loss to the P-Nats.
First pitch is set for 2:00pm Sunday afternoon. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 1:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.