Despite grabbing a 5-3 lead behind the bats of Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse, the Washington Nationals bullpen faltered allowing six earned in the final three innings to fall to San Francisco 10-5.
The Nats got to Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez early Saturday night. The 28-year-old lefty entered the game with his career best numbers boasting a 7-6 record and a 3.15 ERA in 17 starts, but his lack of control in the first inning would find him catching up from the get-go.
Sanchez surrendered walks to Justin Maxwell and Cristian Guzman to start the first before allowing a run scoring double to Ryan Zimmerman. After striking out red-hot Adam Dunn, Sanchez's control would do him in again as a wild pitch scored Guzman from third.
A lead-off homer in the second from Mike Morse, and a two-run rally in the fourth would chase Sanchez from the game.
Tyler Clippard would serve the unfamiliar role of the scapegoat as the previously dominant reliever allowed four earned runs on two hits and two walks while only recording a single out in the seventh inning. The outing nearly raised the hard throwing righty's ERA a whole point, rocketing it from 2.63 to 3.31.
The 25-year-olds struggles stemmed from his inability to throw strikes early and often. Clippard threw 33 pitches in the inning, only 16 for strikes. The only pitch that worked for him was his changeup which he threw for a strike 8/12 times and forced three swinging strikes. His other pitches didn't fair so well as the righty threw only 6/12 fastballs for strikes, 1/5 sliders, and 1/4 cutters.
Clippard has now allowed a run in four of his last six outings.
The blown lead came after the Nationals had an 81.8% win expectancy in the bottom of the fifth inning. By the time Clippard entered the game the club still had a 72.9% win expectancy, by the time he had left, they only had a 24.2% chance.
So much for being a stopper.