August 29, 2020

G33: Red Sox 5, Nationals 3

Nationals - 003 000 000 - 3 11  0
Red Sox   - 310 100 00x - 5  9  2
Xander Bogaerts clubbed a long three-run homer in the first inning and Alex Verdugo collected his MLB-leading seventh outfield assist of the season, throwing a runner out at the plate in the fifth that would have cut Boston's lead to 5-4.

The Red Sox wasted no time in jumping on Aníbal Sánchez 5-8-5-0-4, 85). After the Nationals left men at first and third in the top of the first, Alex Verdugo (2-for-4, stolen base, run) led off the home half with a single to left. J.D. Martinez doubled with one out.

Bogaerts (3-for-4, single, double, home run, stolen base, run, 3 RBI) crushed the first pitch over everything to left-center, scoring three. The projected distance was 440 feet, Bogaerts's third-longest homer since 2015.

Boston upped its lead to 4-0 in the second. Kevin Pillar (2-for-3, triple, home run, 2 runs, RBI) led off with a triple and scored on Jackie Bradley's grounder to first.

Chris Mazza (2.1-6-3-2-3, 75) nearly gave it all away in the third. Trea Turner (5-for-5*) doubled and scored when Mazza made a throwing error on Juan Soto's infield single. Then Soto touched the plate on Howie Kendrick's single to right. Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Adam Eaton singled to center. Kendrick scored, making it 4-3. Mazza struck out Kurt Suzuki (the first out!), but that was the end of his night. Darwinzon Hernandez struck out Luis Garcia, walked Eric Thames (loading the bases), and struck out Victor Robles.

*: Turner's third career game with five hits. He also extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Turner is the first visiting player with five hits in a game at Fenway since Carlos Pérez and C.J. Cron of the Angels did it on July 2, 2016.

The Nats threatened in the fourth against Phillips Valdez. Turner singled and, after Soto and Kendrick went down swinging, Cabrera walked. But Valdez caught Adam Eaton looking at strike three.

Pillar's homer in the fourth gave the Red Sox a little more breathing room.

In the fifth, Suzuki singled and Thames walked. Austin Brice came in with two outs. Turner lined a single to left-center. Verdugo raced over (covering about 50 feet), gloved it and quickly threw home, and the slow-moving Suzuki was out at the plate, ending the inning, depriving Soto of an at-bat with runners on, and preserving Boston's 5-3 lead.

It does help that I'm a lefty ... It was my glove side, so all I had to do was kind of backhand it, and I just had to make sure I worked one shuffle, kind of forward, towards the plate. I had a good understanding of where I was on the field, and from there, it's just stop my momentum and try to make a shuffle and get rid of it as quick as I can. ... The main thing for me is just try to keep my throws low and try to blow up the cutoff man and throw it right through his chest. Sometimes they cut it, sometimes it goes through and you get them.
Washington manager Dave Martinez:
I think [third-base coach] Chip [Hale] had the right intent. The left fielder -- when you go laterally away from home plate, you typically send the guy. I watched Suzuki, too. Suzuki had a great jump. So when he went left, I was with Chip. I thought he should send him right there. [Verdugo] made a good throw. He put it right on the base. If the throw's up the line or something like that, he scores. But he put it right on home plate.
Turner was impressed.
I thought it was unbelievable. I thought Kurt was going to be safe by a mile, but he made an unbelievable throw and really got behind it and put a lot on it and put it right on the money. So you've got to tip your cap when somebody makes kind of a SportsCenter play.
Washington put two runners on in the sixth, thanks to Rafael Devers's eighth error of the year and a walk, before Adam Eaton grounded into a double play.

Josh Osich allowed a leadoff single in the seventh that ended up being harmless. Ryan Brasier got the last out of that inning and also pitched the eighth. Turner singled, but Soto fanned, Kendrick flied to center, and Cabrera flied to right. Matt Barnes walked Suzuki with one out in the ninth and struck out pinch-hitter Brock Holt and got Thames on a grounder to second.

Manager Ron Roenicke used six relievers to get the final 20 outs. They allowed five hits and five walks, but no runs.
It felt like a playoff game when you're doing everything you can to try to win a game, so taking trips out there with two outs and it seemed like a lot of innings, but hey, the guys did a good job. They kept throwing up zeros, and some guys came in and got some big outs for us, so that was good, but boy, it was a hard-fought win, that's for sure.
Aníbal Sánchez / Chris Mazza
Verdugo, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Pillar, RF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
Nathan Eovaldi will not pitch this weekend, as his right calf injury is still an issue. Zack Godley will start tomorrow.

With Monday's trade deadline only a few days away, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic writes:
The best thing that can happen to this team is to tear it down and start over. ...

Sometimes trades can re-energize teams. And though there’s not much hope for turning around this season, perhaps some fresh faces could add a little life to a team that's been wallowing in its own misery for the better part of the past year.

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