Stephen Strasburg looks good in rehab, but errors prove costly in P-Nats loss

stephen strasburgIn a game started by RHP Stephen Strasburg, the Potomac Nationals (8-16, 45-46) committed three errors, one in each of the three frames that Frederick (7-18, 42-52) scored, in a 5-4 loss to the Keys.

Despite the loss, four Potomac pitchers, starting with Strasburg, will see their season ERA trend downward after not allowing an earned run in the game. Ultimately, Frederick took advantage of the opportunities, scoring two runs in the sixth and the eighth en route to victory.

Potomac took the initial lead in Sunday’s game, scoring in the bottom of the first on an RBI sacrifice fly from LF Nick Banks.

Both teams traded runs in the top of the third, starting with Frederick on Potomac’s first error. After LF Jake Ring led off with a single and advanced to third on a single from SS Chris Clare, RF T.J. Nichting bounced a ground ball to the right side with two outs. 1B Nick Basto fielded the ground ball moving away from first base and tossed to a sprinting Strasburg as he went to cover the bag, but the errant throw went behind the pitcher, allowing Ring to score Frederick’s first run.

Potomac answered in the home half of the inning against Frederick RHP Lucas Humpal (W, 3-8). RF Rhett Wiseman, who hit a home run on Saturday, went deep for the second straight game (18) to give The Red, White, & Blue a 2-1 lead.

Strasburg, who was limited to 3.1 innings in his first rehab start with Potomac, carried the lead into the sixth. The MLB All-Star picked up the first two outs of the inning in quick fashion before the second Potomac error led to Frederick scoring. 2B Preston Palmeiro’s two-out ground ball was fielded by 2B Bryan Mejia, but the throw bounced in the dirt, extending Strasburg’s final inning. The next batter, CF Cole Billingsley, drove a two-run home run (4) over the right field fence to give Lynchburg a 3-2 lead.

That would be Strasburg’s final batter, ending his second rehab start with the Potomac Nationals. The righty went 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (all unearned) on five hits while striking out seven. RHP Jorge Pantoja picked up the final out to close the sixth.

Frederick extended their lead in the top of the eighth against Pantoja and LHP Hayden Howard. A base hit from 1B Wilson Garcia, an error by Basto, and a single from Billingsley led to back-to-back run scoring at-bats for the Keys. C Daniel Fajardo connected on a single to score Garcia and Ring lifted a sacrifice fly to score Palmeiro.

Potomac rallied in the final two innings, eventually bringing the winning run to the plate. In the eighth, C Tres Barrera singled and scored on a ground-rule double by 3B David Masters. Mejia started the bottom of the ninth with a ground-rule double of his own and scored on an RBI single by CF Jack Sundberg. With the tying run at second, LHP Elvis Araujo (SV, 1) retired the next three batters in order to secure the Frederick win.

The series finale takes place on Monday afternoon as Potomac looks to salvage a series split. RHP Kyle Johnston (1-0, 0.00) take the mound for The P-Nats, making his first start at home as a Potomac National. Frederick will send LHP Zac Lowther (3-1, 2.40) to the mound. Lowther is making his first against Potomac in his two-year career.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Saturday 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, at http://bit.ly/P-NatsBroadcast, or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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