P-Nats salvage finale
The Potomac Nationals supported a solid start from Cameron Selik with six runs on eleven hits on Sunday night in Winston-Salem to salvage the series finale 6-3. Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood contributed three hits apiece, Steven Souza drove in a pair of runs and a pair of bullpen arms shut down the Dash to close down the victory.
For the first time in the series, the Nationals took a lead in the first inning. Francisco Soriano doubled to left field to open the game; Kobernus then singled before Hood walked to load the bases. After Dash starter Santos Rodriguez struck out Brian Peacock, Souza hit a sacrifice fly to center to put Potomac ahead 1-0. Rodriguez escaped further damage and the Nats stranded a pair.
Seilik allowed two-out doubles in each of the first two innings, but worked around them both to set an early tone. Rodriguez, meanwhile, had to leave the ballgame in the second inning with an apparent arm injury. Stephen Sauer held Potomac off the scoreboard for an inning and two thirds.
Potomac doubled their lead in the fourth when Jose Lozada hit a home run to right field – it was his second homer of the season and welcomed J.R. Ballinger, the third Dash pitcher, to the game.
Dash catcher Kevin Dubler shone throughout the middle innings to keep Winston-Salem within striking distance. In the third, he threw behind Souza at first base to pick him off and end the inning – and he did it again to end the fourth, nailing Soriano.
In the fifth the Nats doubled their lead, and Kobernus and Hood were the spark plugs. After Kobernus singled, he stole second and scored on Hood’s single to left. Souza then doubled to left field to score Hood and push Potomac ahead 4-0.
Dubler’s one-out walk in the bottom of the fifth sparked the only offense of the evening for Winston. Austin Yount then singled to left before Dan Wagner grounded out. With two outs, Tyler Saladino continued his mastery of Potomac with a two-run single that made it 4-2. Saladino has five of his 14 home runs in 2011 against the Nationals and 14 of his 35 RBI against Potomac.
Splendid defense kept it a 4-2 game. In the seventh inning, Potomac put runners at the corners with one out. Souza hit a fly ball to right field, and Kobernus tagged from third. Juan Silverio fired a bullet home and Dubler lunged to the plate to tag out the Nats’ second baseman.
In the bottom half of the inning, Yount doubled with one out. After Wagner grounded out, Saladino again came to the plate. He hit a hard grounder over the third base bag. Lozada made a headlong dive, sprung to his feet and gunned out Saladino to preserve the two-run edge.
Joe Testa relieved Selik in the sixth and got two quick outs, then retired the Dash in the seventh. In the eighth, he allowed a one-out walk to Andy Wilkins. Hector Nelo was brought on, and his wild pitch moved Wilkins to third. Ian Gac hit a sacrifice fly to right field that trimmed the lead to one at 4-3.
The Nationals benefited from three Winston-Salem errors in the top of the ninth and plated two unearned runs that made it 6-3. Nelo then worked around a one-out walk to earn his 13th save.
Potomac heads to Wilmington and opens a four-game set on Monday night. Adam Olbrychowski takes the mound against Michael Mariot at 7 P.M.