The Nationals lose to the Dodgers, ending the rainy weekend series

Mason Thompson continued pitching Sunday afternoon, trying to stay focused as the rain continued to fall at Nationals Park. He kicked the mound with his cleats and did everything he could to get the grip he needed.

Umpires did their best to keep Sunday’s game between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers through the fifth inning, making it official after the first two games of the series were delayed by rain. But the rain ultimately made the field unplayable and the game was interrupted in the top fifth.

Thompson, who had replaced starter Trevor Williams, allowed an RBI single to give the Dodgers a three-run lead just before halftime. After a 58-minute delay, the Dodgers scored a 7-3 victory and a series win.

“The long games, the extra innings — this weekend was tough,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Aside from not scoring many runs today, I saw some really good things… a lot of young guys playing well. …Get out of here, get back on the streets. It’s a quick flight. Go to Pittsburgh and get 1-0 tomorrow.”

The Nationals (64-79) trailed by three runs on Friday before the game was stopped in the seventh inning; After a rain delay of 1 hour and 34 minutes, they were unable to catch up. On Saturday, the Nationals had to wait 4 hours and 10 minutes before starting play, but won an 11-inning game that ended with a wild pitch.

So what awaited us in the finale? A game that is more like the series opener.

Williams continued a troubling trend that has plagued the Nationals: He allowed a two-run, two-out single to Jason Heyward that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. The Nationals’ starters have allowed at least one run in the first inning in 10 consecutive games, including every game of this nine-game homestand.

“The good news is that we can strike first tomorrow,” Martinez said with a laugh.

Then Williams continued a troubling trend that had plagued him all season, but especially recently: He gave up a moonshot to James Outman in the second inning that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0. Williams has allowed 12 home runs in his last six starts, including four in his previous game against Miami. He has allowed 34 home runs this season, the most in the National League. Los Angeles (87-55) added another run in the inning when David Peralta was hit in the left arm with the bases loaded.

“Really, I thought that was the only misplaced pitch I threw today,” Williams said of Outman’s home run. “We tried to do what we did on the second strike for the strikeout. It’s a lazy first pitch for a guy we know swings early.”

Williams exited after 4⅓ innings and was ultimately charged with six runs in another disappointing performance that increased his ERA from 5.21 to 5.44. Williams moved back into the starting role this season after spending the last season and a half as a swing reliever with the New York Mets. He has thrown more innings this season (139.0) than at any time since 2019 (145⅔) and could surpass that mark by the end of the season.

Williams joined the Nationals on a two-year deal to take the ball every fifth day — or, in the Nationals’ case in recent days, every sixth day. But he has thrown more than five innings just twice in his last seven starts. On Sunday, 13 men had reached when he was pulled out with the bases loaded in the fifth.

That forced Martinez to rely heavily on his bullpen again — his relievers had gone five innings each in the first two games of the series, and the Nationals’ next day off isn’t until Sept. 25.

Thompson got two outs and was penalized by a run. Joe La Sorsa, the sidearm-throwing, stirrup-wearing left-hander, pitched 3⅔ scoreless innings before Jose A. Ferrer got the final out in the ninth inning.

“I know we have a lot of games left,” La Sorsa said. “I know we don’t have many days off. I know we have a lot of away games. It was really important for me to go out and do the work.”

The bullpen’s contributions weren’t enough to defeat the Dodgers, who had 14 hits on Sunday and 33 over the weekend. But at least in the final four innings on Sunday, the Nationals weathered that storm.

Remarks: Shortstop CJ Abrams was sidelined after suffering a knee injury while sliding into a base on Saturday. Martinez said Abrams told him he was sore Saturday night, so he decided to give him Sunday off. …

The Nationals’ rotation for their four-game series at the Pirates begins with Patrick Corbin on Monday, followed by Joan Adon on Tuesday. There is no starter listed for Wednesday and Josiah Gray is scheduled to start on Thursday. Given the last two days off and their six-man rotation, the Nationals could use Corbin and Adon on some normal rest. When Gray pitches on Thursday, it will have been 11 days since his last start. The Nationals lose to the Dodgers, ending the rainy weekend series

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