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Whiting, Estevez combine on two-hit 6-0 P-Nats shutout

p-natsWithout a win for more than a week, the Potomac Nationals (30-28 Overall, 13-13 Home) jumped on one of the top pitchers in the league in RHP Matthew Grimes (L, 7-3) for five earned runs over the first two innings. Potomac led off the bottom of the first with three straight extra base hits, as Potomac earned its sixth shutout of the season with a 6-0 win over the Frederick Keys (29-31 Overall, 17-12 Road).

In his return from the Temporary Inactive List, RHP Boone Whiting (W, 6-2) dazzled over 6.2 innings of two-hit baseball. Whiting had five 1-2-3 innings and at one point retired 15 consecutive hitters. Whiting gave up an infield single to 1B Aderlin Rodriguez in the second inning and a single to 3B Jomar Reyes in the seventh. His lone walk came in the seventh inning, as the righty struck out a season high six.

The Potomac offense broke out early and gave Whiting plenty of room to work with. Grimes, who entered the game second in the Carolina League with a 1.08 ERA, gave up an extra base hit to each of the first three hitters that he faced. CF Andrew Stevenson led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple to right field, SS Osvaldo Abreu followed with an RBI triple to centerfield, and 1B Jose Marmolejos made it 2-0 with an RBI double to right field. Grimes then got three straight groundouts to end the inning, but struggled again in the second inning.

Grimes faced eight batters in the second frame, as Potomac plated three more runs and made it 5-0. RF Drew Vettleson led off the frame with a single and stole second base. On ball four to 2B David Masters, Vettleson stole third base. With men on the corners, DH Khayyan Norfork made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Abreu walked, and with two on, Marmolejos had a two-out RBI single. C Raudy Read followed with another two-out RBI base hit, as Potomac led 5-0 after two innings.

The P-Nats capped off the scoring vs. RHP Austin Urban out of the Frederick bullpen. 3B Drew Ward had a two-out double vs. Urban, and LF Alec Keller followed with Potomac’s third two-out RBI hit of the game. Keller’s team best 38th RBI made it 6-0 Potomac, the eventual final.

Out of the Potomac bullpen, RHP Wirkin Estevez made his first relief appearance since 2011. The righty retired seven of the eight hitters that he faced, as only DH Wynston Sawyer reached via a walk over 2.1 innings of shutout relief.

In the victory, seven different Potomac hitters had at least one hit, while Marmolejos had three hits and two RBIs. Whiting improved to 2-0 in his three starts vs. the Keys and now has an ERA of 0.48 vs. Frederick (1 ER/18.2 IP).

Coming off of the victory, the P-Nats will play host to a doubleheader Saturday evening at Pfitzner Stadium vs. the Keys. First pitch of game one is set for 5:00pm, as gates will open at 4:30pm. Game two will start approximately 30 minutes after game one concludes.

Saturday night is the second bobblehead giveaway of the season. The first 1,500 fans can take home an Anthony “The Ant” Rendon figurine courtesy of Lindsay Automotive. The P-Nats will also wear special “Superhero Night” jerseys, which will be signed and auctioned throughout the game. The homestand wraps up Sunday afternoon with a 1:05pm start vs. the Keys. Family Fun Days at the Pfitz include an opportunity for kids to run the bases, presented by Kids N Motion, and a catch for families on the field after the game.