Taylor Jordan’s loss was for Albert Pujols’ gain.
In the Washington Nationals’ (12-9) 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels (10-10), Pujols took advantage of Jordan’s struggles as the Nats’ starting pitcher, and blasted his 499th and 500th career home runs out of Nationals Park, becoming the 26th hitter in MLB history to reach the impressive benchmark.
Pujols’ hit his first home run of the game in the top of the first inning, when the Angels capitalized on the Nationals’ mistakes. All nine hitters came to bat in the inning as Jordan struggled to induce outs. He gave up a leadoff double, then Mike Trout reached on the first of two errors by Anthony Rendon, before Pujols blasted a ball over the left field wall to bring home three runs.
Jordan gave up one more run in the inning after a double, a hit batter and an RBI-single by catcher Chris Iannetta. The four runs scored in the first inning brought Jordan’s total of runs allowed in the first inning this season to 11, and marked the ninth time this season the Nationals have given up at least two runs in the first inning.
Those stats are not good. They require the Nationals to have to come from behind in too many games, and when the offense puts together only three hits, as they did on Tuesday night, comebacks are hard to come by.
Almost all of the Nationals’ offensive production happened in the third inning, when they scored their only two runs of the game. Sandy Leon doubled, Jordan hit a bunt single, and Denard Span walked to load the bases. A wild pitch by Cardinals starter Tyler Skaggs scored Leon, and after Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch, Jayson Werth ground into a double play to score the Nats second and final run of the game.
After the third inning, the offense virtually disappeared. Werth and Tyler Moore, who walked in the sixth inning and seventh innings, respectively, represented the Nationals’ only two base runners for the final six innings.
Despite the Nationals’ offensive absence, the Angels continued to add to their lead, starting with Pujols’ 500th home run in the fifth inning, and ending with a sacrifice fly by David Freese in the eighth inning.
Though Jordan’s struggles in his five-inning start were cause for celebration by many, his two-homer, eight-hit, six-run effort marked his third loss of the season and took his ERA to 6.23. While many people were celebrating Pujols’ accomplishment, some Nats fans were left wondering how much longer they will have to wait before their team stops disappointing.