The Cleveland Guardians scored their runs on a double play, a home run, a walk, and a groundout Friday night to complete a 4-3 comeback win over the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to a one-out Luis García solo home run. Keibert Ruiz and Lane Thomas followed with back-to-back singles, setting up Washington for a big inning. C.J. Abrams then chopped a grounder to José Ramírez at third, but when Ramírez turned to throw to second to start the double play, no one was there. Amed Rosario scrambled to the bag but wasn’t actually on the bag when he received the throw. All runners were safe.
The most charitable interpretation of that miscue would be that both Rosario and Andrés Giménez assumed Ramírez was going to touch third base for the force out and then throw to first. But even if that was the case, you have to at least cover second base in case you’re wrong.
The Guardians would have escaped the consequences of their actions if not for Alex Call, who lined a two-out, two-run single to center field to make it a 3-0 lead for Washington.
Fortunately, that was all the runs Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill would allow. He struggled with command of his fastball all night, walking a pair. But Quantrill battled through six innings of work, finding his footing against an admittedly lackluster Nationals lineup.
The Guardians struggled to put up much of a fight against starting pitcher Trevor Williams. He held them scoreless through the first five innings, before Amed Rosario led off the sixth with a ground rule double to straightaway center field to give the Guardians their best scoring opportunity of the night. Williams’ night ended one batter later after giving up a single to Ramírez.
Washington reliever Hunter Harvey managed to get Josh Naylor to ground into a double play, but Rosario scored from third to get Cleveland on the board.
Leading off the next inning, Josh Bell launched his first home run of the season to cut the deficit to 3-2. After giving up a single to Will Brennan, Harvey then struck out Mike Zunino and Myles Straw. But after issuing walks to Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario to load the bases, Nationals manager Dave Martinez once again went to his bullpen, bringing in Carl Edwards Jr. He didn’t fare any better, walking Ramírez on five pitches to bring in the game-tying run.
Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, Josh Naylor put together one of the worst plate appearances I’ve ever seen. Feast your eyes (or claw them out):
Josh Naylor needs to be brought up on charges for this at-bat: pic.twitter.com/BNTdEd0qNG— Blake Ruane (@blakeruane) April 15, 2023
The game-winning run came in the eighth winning, which started in typical Guardians fashion as Giménez reached on a fielding error by Carl Edwards Jr. Bell then crushed a double off the wall in right-center to put runners on second and third. Brennan plated the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout that also benefitted from some smart baserunning by Giménez.
James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase pitched the final two frames to close it out.