Harvey loses three-run lead in 10th as Nats fall to Padres (updated)

SAN DIEGO – The Nationals didn’t make a big deal of this three-game series against the Padres before the opener started. But if you looked at the standings, maybe they should have.

The Nats sat just a half-game behind the Padres for the last National League wild card spot entering tonight’s series opener. And although it’s still only June, the results of these three games will have an effect on those standings.

A victory would have vaulted the Nats into a playoff position with two games left to play at Petco Park. A loss would still keep them within striking distance.

After playing tight ballgames in Colorado, the Nats endured another one tonight in San Diego, this one ending in a 7-6 loss in 10 innings in front of an announced crowd of 39,164.

With two outs in the 10th inning of a 3-3 game, Keibert Ruiz pulled a second-pitch fastball from Padres reliever Enyel De Los Santos to score the automatic runner from second and give the Nats their first lead of the night.

“It was good," Ruiz said about his double after the loss. "It was good getting my pitch to hit and getting that result to help this team in that situation. But it sucks we didn't get a win. But we just got to keep our heads up and come back tomorrow.”

Nick Senzel then provided some extra insurance with his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot on the 10th pitch of the at-bat against De Los Santos.

“I was just trying to fight and stay in the at-bat," Senzel said. "Just trying to score that run. Once I stayed in long enough, I was able to get a pitch to handle and put a good swing on it. Just super excited for us in that moment. We didn't have the result we wanted. It's baseball, though. We gotta move on to tomorrow and get back on them.”

But with Kyle Finnegan unavailable after throwing 35 pitches over the last two days, Hunter Harvey entered with a three-run lead in the 10th.

The Padres scored two runs quickly in the 10th. Donovan Solano hit a deep fly ball to left field that was just inches short of a two-run home run. But it fell short of the wall and was so close that automatic runner Jake Cronenworth couldn’t make a good read on it and only made it to third. Jackson Merrill followed with a sharp, two-run single to center to cut the Nats’ lead down to one.

After Ha-Seong Kim drew a walk, pinch-hitter Tyler Wade put down a sac bunt to move the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run 180 feet away. But Harvey buckled down to get pinch-hitter David Peralta to pop out.

He could not do the same to Jurickson Profar, who came to bat with the bases loaded after an intentional walk of Luis Arraez. Profar hit the game-winning two-run double to right-center field just out of Lane Thomas’ reach.

“I know he was leaning on the plate a little bit," Harvey said of the seven-pitch battle with Profar. "We tried to go in. I got ahead early. We got some close pitches. Just couldn't put him away and then I kind of gave him a gift and hung him a splitter. He was just able to put it where we weren't.”

“You leave him out," manager Davey Martinez said of the decision to leave Harvey in the game as the 10th began to unravel. "Him and Finnegan are the back end of our bullpen. I had no quarrels about him getting through that inning. So like I said, it's between him and Finnegan. When Finnegan is down, he gets the ninth inning. And I feel pretty comfortable putting those guys in there when we got the lead like that.”

The extra-inning drama came after the Nationals couldn’t do much against Padres knuckleballer Matt Waldron. Although they did well to stay off the knuckleball, swinging at 14 of 41 and only putting three in play, they couldn’t do much damage on the right-handed rookie’s other offerings.

Even with a climbing pitch count, Waldron finished six innings with five hits, two runs, two walks and eight strikeouts on 107 pitches.

CJ Abrams and Joey Meneses were able to get things going early. Abrams had a double and single off Waldron in his first three at-bats, and Meneses had RBIs on a double and single to drive in the Nats’ first two runs.

But the rest of the lineup struggled to deliver a big blow against Waldron, who stranded six runners across his six frames.

“That was a weird one," Senzel said. "I've never had to deal with someone like that. And he was throwing me some good sliders, too. He was mixing that knuckleball. It was a really good pitch and made his fastball seem harder than it was and then throw some sliders. I thought we put pressure on him, though. I thought we did. I know we didn't break through as we wanted, but I thought we put some pressure on him. For him having that kind of unique pitch, it was tough, but I thought our at-bats were pretty good against him. So it was good to see and I don't really want to see the knuckleball again. I thought our at-bats were good.”

Over the past couple of years, the early struggles on offense would have been bad for business with Patrick Corbin on the mound. But the veteran lefty has now put together a three-start stretch of solid pitching to keep his team in games.

“Regardless of what people think of him, seven innings, he's been pitching really well his last three outings, he gave us everything he had," Martinez said. "He pitched damn good. So I'm proud of him. I'm proud of the boys coming back. This is a tough one. It's a tough one. These guys are not gonna let up, either. So we got to come back tomorrow and do it again.”

Corbin only found himself in trouble against some Padres small ball in the second inning. He let the first two batters reach with singles before Kim put down a perfect bunt single to score the Padres' first run. Kyle Higashioka followed with a two-run double to make it a three-run second inning.

Other than that, Corbin dominated San Diego’s lineup to complete seven innings for the first time since July 9, 2023 against the Rangers. The Padres went 4-for-7 with the three runs scored against Corbin in the second inning. Over the other six, they went 1-for-18 with no runs scored and the one hit erased by an inning-ending double play.

Corbin used a good mixture of his sinker (43 percent of the time) and slider (42 percent) to hold the Padres to just three runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts on 97 pitches, 59 for strikes. He has posted a 2.60 ERA (five runs in 17 ⅓ innings) and 0.981 WHIP (12 hits and five walks) while striking out 16 over his last three starts.

“I think we just mix it up pretty well," Corbin said. "Got ahead of guys. That second inning kind of just the one bad sinker that kind of stayed middle for the double to get a couple of runs there. But I think, overall, I worked well with Keibert today and was able to use the slider at different speeds. Change it and locate the fastball. So just a combination of all that.”

Abrams and Meneses each recorded three-hit nights in the seventh, with the first baseman driving in the shortstop to tie the game at 3-3 and ensure Corbin wouldn’t be charged with a loss.

That would eventually be charged to Harvey, as the Nats suffered another brutal late-inning loss.

“I don't ever regret, really, anything," Harvey said. "I feel like it's just location. I feel like if I make the pitch that I wanted to make in my head then we're sitting here and we're celebrating. Like I said, I left it right in his bat path and he was able to hit it where we weren't. So it's just a bad location.”

“It was one of those games," Martinez said. "We scored some runs. Senzel with a big home run to put us up by three. They come back and were able to score one more than us. So it's definitely hard to swallow. But like I said, we've gotta come back and do it again tomorrow and hopefully we score some more runs.”

Corbin's string of solid starts makes Nats' upcomi...
Nats select contract of Ramírez, option Lipscomb b...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/