Fausto Carmona dominated the Nationals Saturday with his power sinker and won for the first time in exactly one month, a complete game three-hitter, 7-1 at Progressive Field. It was his second complete game in his past three starts.
Willie Harris says Carmona had the sinker and changeup working to perfection. How dominant? The Nationals left no men on base. Carmona faced only one batter over the minimum.
“He was pretty good. He was nasty. He had the sinker working and had a really good changeup. He kept us off balance the whole game. He pitched well. We ran across a monster today. He stuck it to us.”
Ryan Zimmerman smacked his 13th homer in the eighth inning, but the Nats managed just two other singles and never had a base runner reach second base.
Carmona (5-5) final line included seven strikeouts and no walks, a masterful performance after Jake Westbrook subdued the Nats Friday and exposed a suddenly anemic Nats offense. The Nationals have managed just three runs in the series and only three extra base hits in the first two games against Cleveland.
As good as Carmona was, J.D. Martin (0-2) had his worst outing of the year. The Indians jumped on Martin in the second inning, tallying four runs on five hits, highlighted by rookie Carlos Santana’s first hit as a major leaguer, a two-run double that scored Jhonny Peralta and Luis Valbuena.
J.D. says the Tribe took advantage of his fast ball in that inning. “I didn’t really make the adjustment (in the second inning). I was throwing a lot of first pitch fast balls and they were jumping on it. I didn’t make the adjustment quick enough.
Fastball location was alright. I left a couple pitches up. I got into trouble with that. I took the same approach I always take. Just try to get ahead of guys, throw strikes and go deep in the ball game.”
The Nats were down 5-0 after two innings, which allowed plenty of time to get back in the game. But not on this night as masterful as Carmona was on the hill.
Carmona had one stretch where he struck out four Nats batters in a row. The Nats only two singles were quickly washed away by ground ball double plays.
The Nats did not help themselves in the first inning again on a bad throw by Adam Kennedy. The error extended the inning and helped the Tribe score the first run of the game.
Zimmerman says they have to watch mistakes in the field, especially against such a dominant pitcher. “We think we all know that we need to play a little bit better. Nobody is trying to do anything like that. For the most part they have been physical mistakes, which is going to happen, everyone is going to make them.
We need to obviously cut down on those. We have not really been doing the mental mistakes, which is good. We need to clean it up a little bit and we will be fine.”
With Stephen Strasburg pitching Sunday, the Nats need a boost from their young star similar to his debut. The offense needs to step it up. The Indians have outscored the Nationals 14-3 in the first two games of the series and have won four in a row by a combined 33-10.