Suero distracted as Nats relinquish late lead and fall 9-2

BALTIMORE - The Nationals built a precarious 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh following six masterful innings from right-hander Erick Fedde.

The Orioles then exploded for eight runs in the seventh and eighth frames to put the game away and drop the Nats 9-2. The Birds scored five runs on six hits in blowing the game open in the eighth.

Trey Mancini hit two homers and had three RBIs, and Anthony Santander had two hits and two RBIs for the Orioles.

After a two-week layoff, Fedde returned to the big leagues to pitch six innings, allowing one run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts. He threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes.

“Things went well,” Fedde said. “Both my breaking balls were a little off in the first couple of innings. I think they really started to pick up later. Maybe I was still getting decent results, but I felt a lot better with the sharpness of them.

“I was pretty happy with the way it went. Able to get through six with the lead is always nice.”

66 pitches through six frames was an outstanding pitch count. But manager Davey Martinez had decided before the game that he was not going to push Fedde too far. Fedde’s last game in the minor leagues was July 2. His last major league game was June 20. Six innings has been his max in the bigs this season.

“It’s the first time he’s pitched in (15) days,” Martinez said. “And that was good enough. He got us through the sixth inning. We had (Wander) Suero ready to go, but Fedde did well.

“I knew I didn’t want to stretch him out that far, knowing he’s had two weeks off.”

But Fedde did everything the club could ask for when he was on the mound, allowing only a Mancini solo shot in the fourth.

“He kept the ball down, he threw strikes,” Martinez said. “And he was good. He was effective.”

Adam Eaton had a double and two RBIs for the Nats, who fell to 50-44 and missed out on a chance to get with 5 1/2 games of the Braves.

Probably the best chance for the Nats came in the third inning, when they loaded the bases against Orioles starter Aaron Brooks and came away with only one run, on Eaton’s sacrifice fly RBI.

“Tough baseball,” Eaton said. “Played well (but) not well enough to win. We got to score more runs, especially early on. Seeing guys we haven’t seen or a lot of the guys in the room haven’t seen, some of the AL guys have. We got to score more runs, put more pressure on them. Bases loaded there early on. It is what it is. Tough go.”

Wander-Suero-Delivers-at-PHI-Gray-Sidebar.jpgThe Nationals used four relievers after Fedde. The bullpen allowed eight runs in two innings. Fedde allowed one run in six frames. Wander Suero (2-5) had the most difficulty. He recorded just one out in the five batters he faced. He gave up a walk and three hits to spark an Orioles rally.

After the game, Suero acknowledged he was distracted by some bad personal news he got early in the game.

“To be honest, the biggest thing was that my head wasn’t in the game,” Suero said via team interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I have some personal stuff going on that I found out early in the game and, unfortunately, as much as tried, my mind was somewhere else during the outing. But you have to go out there and perform, so I tried.”

Suero decided to remain available for the game despite the bad news because he wanted to try to help his team win.

“To be honest, I’m a competitor, I like to compete any way I can, so I wanted to go out there and do my job,” Suero said. “Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way I expected them. With stuff going on, my head was not in it, but I just tried to go out there and do my job, and today it just didn’t work out.”

The right-hander said there was nothing wrong with him physically, but he just never felt completely comfortable in the outing. The Orioles scored three runs in the inning to take the lead 4-2.

“Physically, I’m fine,” Suero said. “Physically, I was able to go out there and perform. Just mentally, I got some bad news before the game and it took away a little bit of my concentration out there.”

With Suero struggling, Martinez elected to keep him in the game instead of going to left-hander Tony Sipp against Orioles slugger Chris Davis. Davis came in just .095 against left-handers. But the first baseman managed to bloop an RBI single into left-center field.

“They’ll pinch-hit for Davis. They’ve done it before,” Martinez said. “At that particular moment, up one, I’ve got confidence in all of them, but Suero’s our guy right there. He’s gotten big outs for us. He just didn’t have it tonight.”

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