WASHINGTON -- Entering Tuesday night's game against the Astros, Nationals setup man Tyler Clippard had not surrendered an earned run in 22 2/3 innings, covering 25 appearances dating back to April 15. But that streak came to an abrupt end in the eighth inning of Washington's 6-5 victory.
The Astros rocked Clippard for four runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning, largely by jumping on fastballs early in at-bats. Jason Castro ripped the first pitch of the inning, a four-seam fastball, up the middle for a single. Matt Dominguez followed that with a double down the left-field line on a 1-0 count. Then Jonathan Villar singled home Castro by jumping on another first-pitch fastball.
"They're an aggressive team," manager Matt Williams said.
Clippard was able to settle down after the first three batters, though, and struck out pinch-hitter Chris Carter and Alex Presley in consecutive at-bats. But Dexter Fowler then slapped an RBI bloop single before Jose Altuve pounced on yet another first-pitch fastball, driving it to left field for a two-run double that ended Clippard's night.
"He had the ability to go get the guys and strike the guys out when he needed to," Williams said. "He just left the fastball up to Altuve. If he gets that out, then it's one of those outings where, OK, he gave up a run and wasn't sharp."