The Mets beat the Nationals 3-2 Friday night, thanks, in part, to a critical base hit by Andrew Brown in the eighth inning.
With two outs and a man on second, Brown's liner down to third base was fielded in foul territory by Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who whirled and fired to Adam LaRoche at first base.
LaRoche had to come off first base to make the play and then bobbled it a bit. Daniel Murphy, who started the play on second base, never stopped running and slid safely into home with the deciding run.
It is a play Zimmerman said he will attempt to throw to get the out every time; he will not eat the ball when it comes to him at third base.
"I will throw that one every time," Zimmerman explained. "If Roachy fields it cleanly like he planned...he did everything right, it took a funny hop on him. That guy is out by 89 feet at home plate.
"I got the ball clean and threw it. When I am off-balance like that, I usually just bounce it. Roachy made a good play. I think the guy would have been safe. He came off the bag. Unfortunately, it took a funny hop on him, he couldn't come up with it. But if he catches it clean, the guy is out at home by a mile."
Bench coach Randy Knorr, who spoke during postgame for manager Davey Johnson (Johnson left game feeling under the weather,) said hindsight always says the third baseman should just hold the ball in that situation. But, Zimmerman was trying to end the inning on one throw.
"Yeah. ... You could say that now, but Zim's made some great plays in his career, and in his mind, he's trying to get the out," Knorr said. "There's two outs, he's trying to make the out. I bet he's thinking right now that maybe I shouldn't have done it that way, but he's made great plays, so you can't fault him for that. And Murphy did a good job not stopping. He just ran the whole way, and they got us on it."
Shortstop Ian Desmond commended Zimmerman for coming up quickly and throwing to get the out, saying that's the type of aggressive nature that has made the Nationals a great defensive team in the past.
"This team is built up of a team of guys that want to win," Desmond said. "Yeah, it is easy to say, 'Yeah, put it in your pocket.' But at the same time, that is a big play if he makes that play. I will take my chances on Zim making that play every time."