Sometimes you need a little encouragement from your teammate. Someone else who is going through the same battle you are, someone else who struggled like you did and then came through.
Such was the scenario for Nationals teammates Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr., Monday night as they took on San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Both Morse and Hairston had been unable to notch a hit off the talented young southpaw. In the fifth inning, Morse struck out looking and Hairston swung and missed for a third strike.
Between innings, they went back and studied their individual at-bats on video.
Hairston encouraged Morse to keep on plugging and put the strikeout behind him
"He didn't want to strike out," Hairston said. "I didn't want to strike out, but we did. It is over and done with. You got to believe you are going to get a second chance. We were in that same situation and we both came through. But if we weren't positive, we wouldn't have come through. That is what this game is about."
Following two outs in the seventh inning, Wilson Ramos reached on an error by Giants third baseman Miguel Tejada. Ian Desmond was next and slapped a base hit that moved Ramos to third. Morse came through with a solid RBI single that gave Washington the 1-0 lead. Hairston then followed with a big run-scoring double plating Desmond and the Nationals were up 2-0.
Hairston said his talk with Morse between at-bats helped keep both players in a positive frame of mind.
"Ironically, me and him had a little chat an inning before (Morse's game-winning hit)," Hairston said. "I told him, 'Listen, I don't care if you have 70 or 80 at-bats, in the grand scheme of things, it is nothing.'
"I remember years ago, my good friend, (the New York Yankees') Derek Jeter," he had a year where he was hitting .190 after 250 at-bats. He ended up hitting .297. That is the game. Sometimes you are going to have your good months and your bad months, but you have to keep grinding. (Morse) did that. He picked himself up and got a huge hit for us."