When Roger Bernadina first smacked the Ryan Franklin offering, it looked like a sure line drive double off the wall. But this shot was hit with such force it cleared the right field wall and saved the Nationals from defeat.
Bernadina’s ninth career homer was a two-run gem that Nats fans will remember for a long time.
The laser to right lifted the Nats out of what looked like their fifth straight loss and gave them another chance at beating the St. Louis Cardinals.
Suddenly, the Nats had tied the game up 10-10. Bernadina was elated as he rounded first base. He lost his helmet coming around third.
“I was pumped up...that hit put us in the game. That was really exciting,” Bernadina said.
Three innings later, Ian Desmond brought Nyjer Morgan home with the winning run and an 11-10, 13-inning marathon decision for the Nats.
It was the longest game of the season for Washington at a doubleheader-like four hours and 35 minutes.
Desmond finished 4-for-7 in the game with three RBI, including the game winner, and a run scored.
(FYI - Lead off and former National Felipe Lopez of the Cards is batting .242 with seven homers and 34 RBI, 8 SB. By comparison, Desmond is batting .279 with nine homers and 53 RBI, 14 SB).
Desmond, proud of his teammate’s momentum swinging homer in the bottom of the ninth, feels a special kinship with Bernadina because they worked their way up the minor league system together.
“It was awesome. Bernie and I came up together and we try to motivate each other. I am happy to see him have success,” Desmond said.
Bernadina went 2-for-6 with the 2-run shot and 2 runs scored.
Morgan was thrilled to see Bernadina get the game-tying hit knowing how hard he works at his craft every day, saying, “That was solid. He finally got one at home and that is a beautiful thing.
“Giving that kid the opportunity the Nats have given him this year is unbelievable and it is really nice to see him coming into his own.”
Manager Jim Riggleman has noticed how well Bernadina has done in subbing for Josh Willingham in left field.
“Bernie is a work in progress. He is really coming along and doing a lot of great things,” Riggleman said.
“He has found a comfort out there in left field. He has done fine in right field and has played pretty good center field, but in left field he has been a highlight film. He really has made a lot of plays out in left.
“Bernie has power. We look for him to do that here a little more often. That is his first homer here at home after eight on the road.”
Bernadina says he puts extra work in during pregame to make sure he is ready for whichever outfield spot he will start that game.
Thursday he made a spectacular leaping catch into the wall that took extra bases away from Brendan Ryan.
Ryan put both of his hands on his batting helmet in disbelief after Bernadina hauled in his long drive to lead off the 11th frame.
Desmond followed with an electrifying play to rob Jon Jay of a base hit, and the duo had put two outs on the board to squelch any idea St. Louis had of getting the go ahead run on base.
“I am pretty confident out there,” Bernadina said. “I keep working. During batting practice, I work (at the position), whatever they have me playing that night.”