Potomac salvages split, wins 8-4 over Blue Rocks

With an 8-4 win on Thursday night, the Potomac Nationals (17-16) managed a series split with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-20). Potomac plated eight runs in the first four innings, seven against Wilmington RHP A.J. Puckett (L, 3-3). RHP Luis Reyes (W, 2-5) threw 30 pitches in a tough first inning, but settled in and needed just 89 pitches over six innings.

p-natsPotomac scored early and often. After two quick outs in the top of the first inning, Puckett surrendered a solo home run to 3B Kelvin Gutierrez. It was Gutierrez’s second home run of the season, though the lead didn’t last through the frame.

Reyes struggled in the first inning, as the Blue Rocks plated a pair of runs. SS Nicky Lopez and 2B D.J. Burt singled, while LF Anderson Miller turned a deficit into a lead with a two-run double. Reyes walked two of the next four hitters, but the righty got 3B Travis Maezes to take a called third strike, as Wilmington left the bases loaded.

The P-Nats answered right back with two runs in the second inning. RF Rhett Wiseman and DH Matt Page each drew a walk against Puckett, and LF Telmito Agustin turned Potomac’s deficit into a lead with a two-run double to left field. Potomac led 3-2 after 1.5 innings and led from that point forward, as the P-Nats scored seven consecutive runs.

With the lead heading into the third inning, Potomac broke the game open. Gutierrez led off with a walk, and C Taylor Gushue tallied the first of his two RBI’s on the night with a double. After 2B Austin Davidson walked, Wiseman grounded out to first, but 1B Chris DeVito mishandled it, and Gushue crossed the plate. With a three run lead, SS Edwin Lora tallied his 10th RBI of the season with a single. CF Victor Robles capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI groundout. The P-Nats led 7-2 after 2.5 innings.

After Potomac made it 8-2 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning against RHP Jacob Bodner, the Blue Rocks scored the final two runs of the game. CF Cody Jones hit a solo home run off of Reyes in the bottom of the fourth inning, while Miller tallied his fifth home run of the season in the fifth frame. Miller’s solo shot made it 8-4, the eventual final.

Despite the rough first frame for Reyes, the right-handed starter snapped his four-game losing streak with the victory. Thursday night was the sixth time in seven starts that Reyes has pitched at least five innings.

Off of the series split, the P-Nats will return home and begin a seven game homestand. The week-long stint at Pfitzner Stadium begins Thursday night, as the Salem Red Sox (Boston) come into town. In the series opener, RHP Wirkin Estevez (1-2, 4.91) will get the start for Potomac. Estevez had his longest start of the season last time out, though he picked up the loss vs. Lynchburg. Estevez allowed three earned runs over seven innings. For the Red Sox, LHP Daniel McGrath (0-2, 6.15) enters off of his shortest start of the season. The left-handed starter went just 3.1 innings in a no-decision last time out against the Winston-Salem Dash. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05pm on Friday night. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm 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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