The Nationals showed resiliency with a gutty seventh inning rally against the first place St. Louis Cardinals. Down 6-2, the Nats put six runs on the board on four hits, three walks, one intentional and one hit by pitch.
The six-run outburst matched the most runs the Nationals had scored in an inning this season. The Nationals had also scored six runs in an inning versus the Cardinals on April 20, against the Marlins, May 15 and the Orioles, May 20.
Laynce Nix faced 11 pitches from St. Louis reliever Jason Motte, before inducing a bases-loaded walk that plated the go-ahead run and the Nats led for good, 7-6. Washington won the game, 8-6.
“It was just a battle,” Nix said. “He is throwing hard. I tried to just stay relaxed and stay within my self and let him do the work.”
Nix said he was not tempted to swing on the full count.
“Fortunately, he missed by a lot on that last one,” Nix said. “I fought off a lot of pitches that were borderline. Those are pitches you can miss. I just made sure I kept him in the zone.”
Right fielder Jayson Werth said Nix sustaining that long in an at-bat was a game-changing play.
“That was a big at-bat,” Werth said. “That guy was throwing hard. The guy has good stuff. For him to get the job done there was huge. Probably the biggest at-bat of the night and that was the difference in the game.”
Werth has played on winning teams in the past. With the Nationals finding different ways of winning games during their four game win streak, does this team show similar signs of success?
“This team is gritty,” Werth said. “We got a bunch of guys in here that want to win and are hungry. We just need to keep it going. The bats are working. We are pitching good all year. Hopefully, the bats will show up the rest of the way.”
Could this signal an every day starting spot for Nix? Normally, he platoons against right-handers only, but injuries to key players may mean Nix’s hot bat will stay in the lineup full-time.
Adam LaRoche being out for the season puts former left fielder Michael Morse at first base on pretty much a permanent basis. Now, Rick Ankiel is day-to-day with a side injury. That means Jerry Hairston, Jr., will see a lot more playing time in the outfield.