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Jun 10, 2024 3:30 pm

Nationals surge into road series against Tigers

Keibert Ruiz

The Washington Nationals had their most satisfying weekend of the season, taking the last three games of a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

Up next for the Nationals is to step outside the National League and visit the Detroit Tigers for a three-game series, which begins Tuesday night.

In their latest victory, the Nationals scored a season-high seven runs in the fourth inning en route to an 8-5 win on Sunday.

Keibert Ruiz drove in four runs, including a three-run homer during the outburst, and CJ Abrams knocked in three more.

“The runs were awesome,” starting pitcher DJ Herz said. “You saw the stadium — it got crazy and it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Washington’s four starting pitchers in the series allowed just six runs in 22 1/3 innings.

“They threw the ball really well,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but I love where we’re at right now, I love how they’re attacking hitters. So it’s fun watching.”

The Nats got a much needed day off on Monday.

“This group is fun, they play with a lot of energy and it showed in this last series,” Martinez said. “Seventeen games in a row without a day off, they’re going out and battling and grinding. These last few games were amazing.”

Washington rookie left-hander Mitchell Parker (4-3, 3.47 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound Tuesday. He ended up with a no-decision on Thursday when he lasted seven innings and limited the Braves to two runs and three hits.

“He was pounding the strike zone,” Martinez said.

Parker, who will be facing the Tigers for the first time, will be opposed by Detroit veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda (2-2, 6.25 ERA). Against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, Maeda lasted just two pitches before he was pulled due to right-side abdominal discomfort.

Maeda was able to go through a subsequent between-start bullpen session without any issues and expressed gratitude toward manager A.J. Hinch.

“I’m thankful A.J. pulled me out early to not risk anything further. If anything, his decision made it possible for me to go in the next one,” Maeda said through an interpreter.

Maeda has only faced the Nationals once in his career, in 2019 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and tossed six scoreless innings.

The Tigers also were off Monday after losing two of three against the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend. Detroit won the series finale 10-2 as ace Tarik Skubal held the Brewers to one run over seven innings.

Like the Nationals, the Tigers had their highest-scoring inning of the season Sunday. They pushed across eight runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by Jake Rogers’ three-run homer.

Detroit squandered a three-run lead Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Milwaukee.

“We needed this for a lot of reasons,” Hinch said Sunday. “One, we wanted to enjoy our off day. No. 2, salvage a game in a series against a first-place team. And three, we felt like we could have won the series. (Saturday) was a game that could and should have been won.”

–Field Level Media

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