Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon continued his clutch hitting in the last two games with a 3-for-4 performance, with a double and two RBIs in a 3-0 shutout of the Braves.
“It was good. We executed the small things,” Rendon said. “Small ball comes into play. That is how you play the game.”
Winning pitcher Doug Fister went eight innings and threw 117 pitches, allowing no runs on five hits. Fister continued his trademark quick work, wasting no time on the mound between pitches.
“We love it. He gets right back on the mound,” Rendon said. “In between innings, he is waiting on the umpires to tell him when he can throw that first pitch. It’s pretty fun playing behind him because you know you are going to get a lot of action.”
“That is the game as a pitcher,” Fister said. “You control the game and they react to you. That’s a mentality you go out there with every day. I am going to control what I can control and go to work after that. So trying to keep the pace up, trying to get the guys back in hitting and doing a good job with that, they did that. Guys are playing well together right now, that is all I can say.”
Fister did a great job of inducing eight groundouts in the first five innings.
“Our game plan tonight was go out there and get 27 ground balls,” Fister said. “Obviously, that didn’t happen. But tonight we were working well with each other, me and Loby (Jose Lobaton) and obviously defense. Defense played a huge role tonight. Guys came out swinging the bats. I think everybody was playing loose baseball and that’s what we needed right now.”
Lobaton made a big play scoring from second on Rendon’s single in the third. The run was the Nationals’ first of the game and gave them their first lead in the series.
He spoke about his slide into home to avoid the tag of catcher Evan Gattis.
“Good. Just a reaction, I saw Jayson (Werth) just telling me just go down,” Lobaton said. “My first instinct was to just try to go around. That’s what I did and we scored.
“Right now with the collision stuff, I know I’ve got to slide. (Gattis) is a tough guy, he is a big guy. I saw he would be on the right side. So I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to go around.’ I think I’ve got more chance if I put my head down first. I did it.”
Ryan Zimmerman delivered a key insurance run with an RBI single in the sixth to put the Nationals up 2-0. It was only his second hit of the series.
“I have been hitting the ball hard and really not getting anything to show for it,” Zimmerman said. “I know people say that all the time.
“But you’ve just got to keep grinding and been around long enough and gone through enough of these where eventually it will turn around. To be able to grind out that at-bat and get us an extra run there after he made a mistake was huge for our team.”
Zimmerman said it is big to finally beat the Braves after losing seven of the first eight games against them to start the season.
“They are a tough team. Obviously they are a really good team,” Zimmerman said. “And if you don’t do things right and you make mistakes, they are going to take advantage of it. We’ve got to do better against them. We know that. It’s not like we are not trying. They are a tough team to beat.”
Rendon said a split would be a nice get before the Nats head off to Milwaukee.
“Well, it’d be awesome,” Rendon said. “Especially before we go on the road. Get a little kick in the rear before we get on the road at Milwaukee. We will just see how it goes.
“We have a great pitching staff as well. We held a great offense to no runs is what is awesome about it. We scored a minimal amount of runs and we still got the win.”