NEW YORK - Nationals skipper Matt Williams witnessed a season’s worth of twists and turns in his first major league victory as manager, a 9-7 10-inning thriller over the Mets.
“Yeah, how about that?” he said. “Lots of stuff. That is good, right in the thick of it, so that was fun.”
Williams leaned on his coaching staff when strategy points came up during the game.
“We talked through everything,” Williams said. “I have a stomach ache right now. which is probably pretty normal. Yeah, I don’t know about style. We just wanted to play the game and take advantage of a situation if we could. I don’t think that will change.”
Williams also spoke about challenging the call late in the game when Danny Espinosa was called out at first base on a tag play in the 10th inning.
“It is two outs in the last inning and it is a questionable call and we hadn’t used (the challenge),” Williams said. “I tried to get out of the dugout as quickly as possible according to how they want us to do it. That is a hard one because everyone runs off the field. But in that situation, if we can get a guy at first base with two outs then we want try to do that.
“It makes you feel a little funny because you don’t want to rub it in. We had just gone ahead. But we have to do that for our club in case we have another opportunity to get another guy to the plate.”
Williams said Espinosa was tremendous in his key at-bat in the ninth, drawing a critical walk when he was down to his last strike to keep the inning alive.
“That is what we have seen all spring,” Williams said. “He is going to continue to get opportunities and play. He is excited about playing. It was great.
“All I know is what I have seen in spring. From spring training, he has swung the bat really well. His approach is good. His patience was good. Good for him.”
Williams said Stephen Strasburg calmed down after allowing the home run in the first inning to Andrew Brown.
“Early on, he was little up in the zone,” Williams said. “He found his stride in the third and then shut them down the rest of the way. His pitch count got up there so much, so we couldn’t run him out there for another one. He found it in the third inning and shut them down and gave us a chance to get back in it.”