Potomac dispatched quickly by Astros, 2-1
In their second shortest game of the 2017 season, the Potomac Nationals (37-42, 4-5) gave up two unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning, and fell 2-1 to the Buies Creek Astros (42-37, 5-4) 2-1. The first game of the four-game series featured 13 hits and took just 2:17 to play.
After two straight games in which the P-Nats scored at least four runs in the first inning, the Astros flipped the script on Friday night and plated two runs against RHP Luis Reyes (L, 5-8) in the bottom of the first inning. CF Myles Straw led off the frame with a ground ball to SS David Masters, but the throw to first base skipped past 1B Ian Sagdal. After 1B Ryne Birk singled, 1B Yordan Alvarez made it 1-0 Astros with an RBI single. Reyes then got C Jake Rogers to ground into a double play, but DH Taylor Jones followed with a two-out RBI double, which proved to be the difference in the game.
RHP Franklin Perez (W, 4-2) cruised through a five-inning start. The 19-year-old surrendered just two hits and struck out three in the victory. Perez faced the minimum over the first four innings, while Potomac didn’t put multiple men on base in a single inning until the right-handed starter departed.
The P-Nats finally got on the scoreboard vs. LHP Ryan Hartman (SV, 1) in the sixth inning. 2B Bryan Mejia singled with one out, took second base on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by CF Victor Robles. On the double, Robles was thrown out trying to take third base.
Potomac put the tying man on base in each of the final three innings of the game, but failed to plate a second run. 3B Dan Gamache singled to begin the seventh but was left at first base. Mejia drew a two-out walk in the eighth inning, but likewise was left at first base. In the ninth, LF Jack Sundberg led off with a double and moved to third base on a groundout by Gamache. Sagdal appeared as though he might have tallied a sacrifice fly, but his fly out to right field was too shallow, as Sundberg held at third base. With two outs, C Taylor Gushue, the team leader in home runs and RBIs, flied out to right field, as Hartman closed things out with four innings out of the bullpen.
After the speedy victory by the Astros, the P-Nats will look to RHP Nolan Sanburn (3-1, 3.06) to level the series. Sanburn has won three consecutive starts and has not allowed an earned run in either of his last two outings, both seven- innings in length. For Buies Creek, RHP Hector Perez (3-3, 3.45) is set to take the mound. Perez has pitched more than four innings just once in his last four starts.