After four and half innings, things were looking good for the Yankees.
They were up 6-2. Despite some early trouble, Nathan Eovaldi had settled in and the offense was looking good. Then Eovaldi started giving up some hits. The offense went to sleep and the bullpen couldn't hold the lead. What once looked like a good performance from the Yankees turned into a 8-6 loss to the Nationals because baseball is a dumb sport.
It didn't take the Nationals long to get on the on the board. With one out in the bottom of the first, Eovaldi allowed a solo home run to Ian Desmond. Two batters later, Bryce Harper added another home run, giving the Nationals a quick 2-0 lead.
The Yankees went down in order on nine straight ground outs to start the game, but in the fourth, they finally got some offense going. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk to start the inning. Brett Gardner followed that with a ground out, but it was enough to move Ellsbury to second. Chris Young then singled, scoring Ellsbury and making it 2-1. Gio Gonzalez then walked Mark Teixeira, putting two on with one out. Brian McCann followed that by grounding one to short. The Nationals got the force out at second, but McCann beat the throw to first. The Yankees would then tie the game when Chase Headley doubled to left. Jose Pirela was up next. Pirela hit a slow roller along the third base line. It wasn't a bunt, but it might as well have been. The Nationals let it roll and it stayed fair, giving Pirela a hit and loading the bases. Stephen Drew then came up and added a single, scoring two runs and giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead. The inning would be over after that because Eovaldi came up because National League baseball.
After the inning, Ellsbury was taken out of the game due to a knee injury he suffered during his at bat.
An inning later, the Yankees added to their lead. Carlos Beltran, who came in for Ellsbury, led off the inning with a single. After Gardner and Young both recorded outs, Teixeira hit his 12th home run of the year, crushing one to left and making it 6-2 Yankees.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Nationals started a rally of their own. The inning started when issued a walk to Danny Espinosa. After Michael Taylor struck out, Clint Robinson doubled to right. Espinosa scored, making it 6-3. Denard Span then added a single that moved Robinson to third. Desmond followed that with another single. Now the score was 6-4, and it was getting scary. Yunel Escobar then added a third straight single. That scored another run and suddenly the lead was down to one run. That would chase Eovaldi from the game, as Girardi went to the bullpen. Eovaldi went just 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out five. Justin Wilson was brought into the face to face the red-hot Harper. Wilson would get Harper to ground into an inning-ending double play, getting the Yankees out of that jam.
And an inning later, the lead was gone. David Carpenter came in to pitch the sixth. After getting the first hitter out, he allowed a home run to Wilson Ramos, tying the game at six.
After that, the bullpens traded zeros for a quite a while. Neither team really got anything substantial going, but the Nationals' chances always seemed to be slightly more substantial. The Yankees' best chance came in the eighth when Teixeira reached with a single. That wouldn't amount to much.
The game would drag into extra innings, where the Yankees again failed to pick up a run in the tenth. They nearly got something going when Gardner made good contact, lining one towards center. Span made a nice running catch to save what would have been at the very least a double.
After two solid innings from Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller came in to pitch the tenth. Miller got the first out, but then allowed a walk to Escobar. That brought Harper to the plate. After a six pitch at bar, Miller got Harper to strike out. He was just one out away when Ryan Zimmerman came to the plate. Zimmerman took the fifth pitch he saw down the line in right. It managed to just clip the right field foul pole for a home run. Just like that the game was over. Miller's ERA was no longer spotless, but more importantly the Yankees lost the game 8-6.
The second game of the series in Washington will be played tomorrow at 7:05 eastern. The starting pitchers will be Adam Warren and Jordan Zimmerman.