Garcia's wild trip, Finnegan's violation and the end of Thomas' streaks

LOS ANGELES – The Nationals won Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium thanks to far and away their biggest power display of the season. They blasted five home runs, including two from Keibert Ruiz, to emerge with a 10-6 victory and avoid a series sweep.

They headed home having finished 3-3 on a very eventful road trip through Kansas City and Los Angeles, one that started with a bang and ended with a bang, with some frustrating moments in between.

“We came in here, we had some young mistakes, but to come out of here after a long road trip and win the last game to go back home now, it feels pretty good,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We finished .500 on the road. To come out to the West Coast is never easy. So, I’m proud of the guys, after getting beat the first two games, to come back the way they did today and pull this one out.”

Wednesday’s game was a wild affair itself, the Nats digging themselves into a 3-0 hole in the first, clawing back to take a 5-4 lead in the fifth, giving it back in the seventh, then taking the lead for good in the eighth. Those five homers were the headline of the game, but there were several other developments that deserve further exploration on this day off …

* Luis Garcia bookends a strange trip in style
Garcia’s week got off to an historic start: He went 6-for-6 on Friday night against the Royals, joining Anthony Rendon as the only players in club history to pull off that feat. But then Garcia followed that up with a slump. He went 0 for his next 16 before finally delivering an RBI single in the seventh inning Tuesday night, but then went hitless in his next four at-bats as well, leaving him in a 1-for-21 funk.

Then, the switch flipped back on for the young second baseman. He hammered a double to the warning track in the seventh inning Wednesday. And he followed that with his game-changing, three-run homer to right off Brusdar Graterol in top of the eighth.

Put that all together, and Garcia finished the trip 9-for-29 with three doubles, a homer and six RBIs. The path he took to get there was winding, to say the least. But it’s hard to argue with the end results.

“Baseball has its ups and downs. That’s just part of the game,” Garcia said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez. “You have to learn to deal with them. I never put my head down at all. I kept working and stayed positive. So it’s a great feeling to finish the road trip this way.”

* Kyle Finnegan made Nats history (not in a good way)
With the count 3-2 on Chris Taylor in the bottom of the seventh and the Nats clinging to a 5-4 lead, Finnegan came set to throw the payoff pitch. But before he could throw it, plate umpire Alex Tosi threw his hands into the air, pointed at his watch and then at the pitcher.

Finnegan had just committed a clock violation. And because the count was full, that meant he had just issued the first automatic walk in team history.

The Nationals have actually done a pretty good job with the pitch clock this season. They’ve committed 15 in total (seven by pitchers, eight by hitters), which is the seventh-fewest in the majors. They’ve had only one batter commit a violation with two strikes (Jeimer Candelario). And until Wednesday, they had not had a pitcher do it with three balls.

Finnegan’s gaffe proved especially costly, because after being awarded first base, Taylor stole second uncontested and then scored the tying run on Miguel Rojas’ single.

That was one of two stolen bases off Finnegan in the game, one of six in total the Nationals surrendered to the Dodgers on the afternoon, which did not sit well with Davey Martinez.

“I’m going to have a nice sit-down with these guys,” the manager said, referring to his pitching staff. “We’ve got to do a better job of holding runners. I don’t want this to become other teams coming in and saying: ‘We can just run on these guys.’ We’ve got to be smart. It doesn’t necessarily mean the times (to the plate), but it could be the holds as well. We’ve got to sit down … and go over a bunch of things with them on Friday. Because we can’t have a single turn into a double every time they get up there.”

* Lane Thomas’ streaks ended
Just about the only guy in the Nationals lineup who didn’t produce Wednesday was the guy who consistently produced all month for them.

Thomas entered the day riding a 15-game hitting streak and 26-game on-base streak, both the longest of his career. Both streaks ended, though, during an 0-for-5 game that included a lineout to center to begin the day but then two groundouts to the pitcher, a popup to first and a strikeout.

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous month for Thomas. He finished May with a .303 batting average, seven doubles, one triple, eight homers, 16 RBIs, .352 on-base percentage, .580 slugging percentage and .932 OPS.

Game 57 lineups: Nats vs. Phillies
The good and the bad from Irvin's start in L.A.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to