Twice, the Nationals have had a 3-0 lead in this series.
Twice, that 3-0 lead has evaporated.
José Ramírez’s first home run of the season went 420 feet and sent the Washington Nationals to their second straight defeat, 6-4, against the Cleveland Guardians.
The first inning was a disaster. Alex Call reached on an error by José Ramírez, whose throw to first base took Josh Bell off the bag. Terry Francona opted to use his challenge on the first play of the first inning, hoping the replay official might find video evidence that Bell tagged Call. But the call stood and the Guardians lost their challenge. As you might expect, things only spiraled from there.
Zach Plesac got two quick strikes on Dominic Smith but couldn’t put him away, giving up a single to put runners on first and third with no one out. But thanks to a nifty pick-off throw to first, he was able to take Smith off the board. Once again, Plesac got two strikes on Joey Meneses, including a pitch clock violation to begin the at-bat. Unfortunately his third pitch was a hanging slider that Meneses turned into an RBI single to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.
Jeimer Candelario battled back from a 1-2 count to line an RBI double into the right field corner. After Plesac induced a groundout for the second out of the inning, Keibert Ruiz took another of his sliders and turned it into an RBI single, extending Washington’s lead to 3-0.
The Guardians were eventually able to pull even, first by cutting into the three-run lead with a two-out RBI single by Myles Straw in the second inning. Nationals starting pitcher Chad Kuhl walked Josh Bell and Andrés Giménez with one out in the fourth, setting up Will Brennan and Straw to deliver back-to-back RBI singles to erase the 3-0 deficit and tie the game.
It didn’t last long. They very next inning, Plesac hung another slider to Luis García for a leadoff single, and García came around to score the go-ahead run from first when Ruiz followed with a line drive RBI double into the gap in right-center. But back and forth it went, as Amed Rosario tripled off the wall in straightaway center with one out in the fifth inning, becoming part of José Ramírez’s mammoth two-run homer to give Cleveland their first lead of the game.
James Karinchak practiced his escape artist act in the eighth inning to preserve the Guardians' one-run lead. With one out and runners on first and third, he struck out Lane Thomas and C.J. Abrams to end the inning.
Cleveland was able to tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to a Josh Bell RBI double, before Emmanuel Clase closed it out in the bottom of the inning.