The Washington Nationals optioned starting pitcher Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday after he allowed six earned runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Cardinals Tuesday night, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Maya also walked two batters and gave up a home run each to Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.
Although the Nationals eventually rallied to win the game, the 29-year-old Maya's sub-par performance was enough to end his big-league stint, which lasted just four starts this season. Maya is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA.
The Nats recalled Collin Balester from Syracuse to take Maya's place. Balester has allowed three earned runs this season over three relief appearances for the Nats spanning 3 1/3 innings, giving him an ERA of 8.10. After struggling in 2008 and 2009 as an occasional starter, Balester pitched well out of the bullpen in 2010, posting a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings pitched, striking out 28 in the process.