Potomac Nationals get quality start from Johnston, still fall to Keys, 5-2

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (19-30) couldn’t take advantage of the fifth consecutive quality start from RHP Kyle Johnston (L, 5-5) in a 5-2 loss to the Frederick Keys (25-23) on Sunday afternoon. Johnston now has as many quality starts through Potomac’s first 49 games of the season as the rest of the Potomac starters.

The Sunday matinee saw very little action through the first half of the game, as neither side cracked the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth inning. Potomac struck first against RHP Brenan Hanifee (W, 3-5) with two runs in home half of the fifth frame. Hanifee hit SS Osvaldo Abreu with a pitch with one out, while CF Armond Upshaw followed with a walk. LF Nick Banks gave Potomac a 1-0 lead with an RBI single, while 2B Cole Freeman followed with an RBI base hit of his own. Potomac took a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning.

Johnston broke for the first time in the game in the sixth inning, as he issued a leadoff walk to DH Jomar Reyes. 1B JC Escarra followed with a single, though Johnston struck out RF Zach Jarrett for the first out of the inning. LF Trevor Craport then tucked an RBI double inside the third base line, which plated a run and made it a one run game. SS Sean Miller followed with a game-tying sacrifice fly and 2B Yeltsin Gudino put the Keys ahead for good with a two-out RBI base hit. Frederick led 3-2 after 5.5 innings.

The Keys put a second consecutive crooked number on the board in the seventh inning, as RHP Jeremy McKinney gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Escarra, the first baseman’s second home run of the series. In the loss, Johnston allowed just three runs on seven hits over six innings.

Hanifee departed after six innings of two-run baseball, while RHP Luis Perez and RHP Diogenes Almengo (SV, 5) combined for three-shutout innings out of the Frederick bullpen. Potomac loaded the bases with two outs against Hanifee in the sixth inning on two walks and a single, but Upshaw struck out swinging. An inning later, Potomac loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks against Perez, but the right-handed reliever struck out C Jakson Reetz and ended the frame. Almengo retired the side in order in the ninth and secured his second save of the series. Potomac left 10 men on base and went just 3-7 with RISP in the loss.

In an effort to earn a series split, Potomac will turn to LHP Carson Teel (2-0, 1.53) on Monday afternoon for a Memorial Day matinee. Teel has made seven relief outings and one start thus far for Potomac. In his only outing against the Keys this season, Teel didn’t allow a run and gave up just one hit over 2.1 innings on 5/7. RHP Michael Baumann (1-2, 3.82) is set to pitch for the series win for the Keys. Baumann allowed two runs over five innings in a no-decision to Potomac on 5/8 and hasn’t tallied a loss since 4/24.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Monday afternoon is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 12:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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