WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Washington Nationals’ lineup can give most pitchers enough problems without the aid of a freebie or two.
But throw in three walks to the No. 8 hitter and the Nationals are bound to win their fair share of times. Gavin Floyd found out just how deep Washington’s offense is on Wednesday night as the White Sox lost 5-2 in front of 24,586 at Nationals Park.
Although he was sharp early, Floyd (0-2) was hurt by three walks to Washington’s Kurt Suzuki as he eventually ran out of gas and into a loaded lineup.
Now the White Sox--who have had trouble scoring, too--send Dylan Axelrod to the mound on Thursday against Dan Haren in an attempt to avoid a series sweep.
“I’m definitely not trying to walk there guy right there, especially before the pitcher, trying to not let him on base with the free pass,” Floyd said. “That’s one thing I’d take back from this, just walking and not going after him a little more.”
It’s not that Floyd’s walks of Suzuki (one was intentional) cost him dearly in the box score.
Suzuki didn’t score when he walked in the third and fourth innings. But his leadoff walk in the third inning and advance to second on Jordan Zimmerman’s sac bunt meant Floyd pitched to both Denard Span and Jayson Werth with a runner in scoring position.
Those extra stressful pitches may have caught up to Floyd in the fourth, fifth and six innings, when he surrendered all five of his runs allowed.
Down 1-0, Washington broke through with a pair of runs in the fourth inning when Bryce Harper hit a long home run to right to tie the game. Two batters later, Ian Desmond doubled and scored on Danny Espinosa’s RBI single to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Washington got three straight singles in the fifth, with Ryan Zimmerman’s making the score 3-1.
Espinosa doubled in a run in the sixth inning and Floyd followed with a walk to Suzuki. Jordan Zimmerman bunted both runners over and with the infield drawn in, the Nationals produced their final run as Denard Span singled past Alexei Ramirez for a 5-2 lead.
“You have to at least make the guy swing the bat,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There was a walk and now they bunt the guys up and it becomes a different inning once you can’t get that guy.”
The White Sox continue to have issues of their own leaving runners in scoring position.
Alex Rios gave the South Siders a prime opportunity to jump all over Jordan Zimmerman in the first inning when he followed Jeff Keppinger’s single with a double. The hit extended Rios’ hitting streak to 14 games.
Adam Dunn gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead with an RBI groundout but Paul Konerko struck out looking. The White Sox cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth inning when Alejandro De Aza doubled and later scored on a Rios’ RBI groundout. But they got no more and finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
On the season, the White Sox are 6-for-45 with runners in scoring position.
Jordan Zimmerman limited the White Sox to two earned runs and seven hits over seven innings.
“We’ve had opportunities in a lot of games to jump out to either an early lead or tie some games up or blow a game open with big hits that we really aren’t getting right now,” Dunn said. “We had second and third one out and only get one.”