WOODBRIDGE, VA-The Frederick Keys scored five unearned runs to take down the Potomac Nationals 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at Northwest Federal Field. It was the club's second one-run win of the series, while the Keys defeated MLB rehabber Stephen Strasburg.
The Nationals (45-46, 8-16) kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first. Bryan Mejia opened the game with a single advanced to second on a base knock and then stole third base. He would come home on a sacrifice fly by Nick Banks.
An error allowed the Keys (42-52, 7-18) to level the game in the third. Jake Ring opened the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a base knock by Chris Clare . One batter later, T.J. Nichting hit a groundball to first. Nick Basto made a bad flip to Strasburg covering and Ring scored. Potomac quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of a Rhett Wiseman home run off Lucas Humpal .
Coming back on for the sixth, Strasburg (0-1) would again be hurt by his defense. With two outs, Bryan Mejia made a poor throw on a groundball to second to bring up Cole Billingsley . Already with a double against the MLB rehabber, Billingsley cranked a two-run homer to right to make it 3-2 Keys and end Strasburg's afternoon.
Tagged with the loss, Strasburg allowed three unearned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter while throwing 82 pitches (55 strikes).
In the eighth, the Keys plated two more runs. With a runner at first, Preston Palmeiro hit a groundball to first. Looking like a possible double play ball, Basto made his second error with a bad throw to second. Billingsley then singled to load the bases. Daniel Fajardo hit an RBI single and Ring followed with a sac-fly to make it 5-2 Keys.
Potomac would not go away quietly. With two on in the eighth and one out, David Masters hit an RBI double to off Elvis Araujo to score one, before the Keys lefty retired the next two batters. In the ninth, the Nationals added one more on a Mejia double and a Jack Sundberg RBI single, but Araujo retired the next three to strand the tying run on base and end the game.
Humpal (3-8) picked up the win for the Keys allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out four. Araujo allowed a run on three hits in 1.2 frames to post his first save.
The Keys and P-Nats conclude their four-game series on Monday afternoon. Left-hander Zac Lowther (3-1, 2.40) starts for Frederick and will be opposed by right-hander Kyle Johnston (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is slated for 12:05 p.m from Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium and the broadcast can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app.
Frederick returns home for six games starting next Wednesday, July 18 when the Down East Wood Ducks and Blue Rocks come to town. Highlights include Geekend and a pair of fireworks shows. For tickets, fans can call the Keys at 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.