Rendon Celebrates Birthday Strafing Rays

Anthony Rendon celebrated his 28th birthday with four hits against the Tampa Bay Rays. He strung together two doubles, two singles to score four times and drive in three runs. His one out was a deep fly to the warning track in center field. The Nationals sprung for five runs in the first inning to pound the Rays 11-2.

The Rays trouted out reliever Johnny Venters to start the game. He only retired one of the six batters he faced, walking two, giving up two doubles and a single. Ryan Yarborough came on to relieve Venters and after walking Pedro Severino intentionally to load the bases to face Tanner Roark, he ran the count full. Roark poked a single over the second baseman’s head to drive in the last two runs in the five run first. Anthony Rendon drove in the first two runs with a double.

The Nationals scored another run in the second with Rendon starting the inning with a infield single. Brad Miller made a diving stop at short, the umpire had originally ruled Rendon out, but further review reversed the call. Juan Soto advanced Rendon with a hard single up the middle. Michael Taylor, who ended the day with three hits, scored Rendon with a line single to left center. Matt Duffy made a diving stop on a grounder by Wilmer Difo and threw Taylor out at second. Dave Martinez wanted a review, but waited too long to make the call and the umpires disallowed the request. If the call had been reversed the Nats would have scored another run.

Tanner Roark pitched well for the Nationals. He gave up his first run in the fourth after retiring the first two hitters. Brad Miller lined a double along the right field line and Carlos Gomez poked one into left field to score Miller. In the fifth C.J. Cron hit the foul pole in left field for his 13th homerun. Roark went six innings.

In the fourth inning Bryce Harper got his first hit in the series. He tried to stretch the hit into a double. As is the norm for Harper tearing around the bases his helmet usually flies off. This time it flew off in front of him where he appeared to trip over it. The throw barely beat him to second. The original call was safe, but after further review the call was reversed. Harper must have known he was out because he walked into the dugout while the review was being done.

With the Rays creeping up the Nationals got some insurance runs in the sixth. Trea Turner started the inning with a single to left. After a Harper strikeout Rendon lined a Yarborough pitch into right center for a double, scoring Turner. With two out Soto doubled down the left field line to score Rendon. Michael Taylor singled to right and the throw home from Gomez got past Ramos (who was never very good making the plays at home), Taylor advancing to second on the throw. That ended the day for Yarborough, but it did not end the scoring. Taylor broke for third and Ramos threw the ball into left field, allowing Taylor to score the fourth run of the inning.

The Nationals scored one final run in the eighth and it was started of course by Rendon. Rendon and Reynolds hit back to back singles. A ground out to first by Soto advanced them a base. A low pitch by Jose Alvardo slipped between the legs of Ramos to allow Rendon to score with run number 11.

Game Notes: The Nationals stole two bases in the game. Ramos has only thrown out one runner in the 21 attempted steals against him…Carlos Gomez made two poor throws home. He also broke poorly on a double by Taylor in the first inning that was slicing away from him. Since he is batting below the Mendoza line and struggling to play defense the Rays may want to look at other alternatives for right field…Juan Soto appears to be a faster runner than the reports myworld have read. He is impacting the game beating balls to first and advancing the extra base. He has also scored twice on slides at home plate where he has used his hand to sneak in, sliding on the foul side of the plate…For Johnny Venters this was his first career start. It was anticipated he would only pitch one inning. The Rays have one bullpen game where they start a reliever to pitch one inning. They are 3-5 in games in which a reliever is used as a starting pitcher. The start by Venters makes him the first starting pitcher to start after three Tommy John surgeries. Heck, he may be the only pitcher in the major leagues still pitching after three Tommy John surgeries…Diego Castillo made his major league debut for the Rays. He retired the Nationals in order in the seventh, with one fastball hitting 100 on the radar…The Rays hope to turn around their six game losing streak by calling up first baseman Jake Bauers. He lacks the power usually associated with first baseman, but he will hit for average. He also has more range than C.J. Cron on defense.

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