Desmond, Fister and Clippard break down Nats’ 4-3 win over Rockies

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond felt he had hit the ball well enough, but stood at third waiting for the umpires to agree.

If it was a homer, it would be the go-ahead run to complete the comeback for the Nationals over the Rockies 4-3.

“The way it bounced back hard like that I kind of assumed that it was over,” Desmond said. “And the way that (Drew) Stubbs didn’t go after it made it a little bit easier. At that point, I am going to get the triple. I thought it was gone, but I wasn’t a 100 percent sure.”

So when the umpires signaled it was indeed a solo homer and the crowd roared, Desmond was able to jog home from third base with the fourth run of the game.

Did it feel weird to have to just run the final 90 feet after the home run was confirmed?

“Not nearly as awkward as Mike Morse having to rerun the bases,” Desmond said. “Yeah that was a little bit long. But they got it right and tip your cap for that.”

Desmond was referring to a Morse homer that he had to reenact, including a hilarious air swing, a couple of years ago while still with the Nationals.

Desmond finished 2-for-3 with the homer and two RBI. He went 0-for-4 on Tuesday. But Monday he started off well in the series with two doubles and three RBI. He acknowledged the battle he has gone through recently at the plate.

“Yeah, it’s been a grind,” Desmond said. “But I want to be that example. Hey, you can fight back. I’ve done it before and I hope to do that again this year.”

Desmond’s heroics capped off the comeback for the Nationals. But early, starter Doug Fister was struggling as the Rockies piled up hits and took a 3-0 lead on a Michael McKenry three-run shot in the third.

“Constant battle all night. The biggest thing was making sure the ball got down in the zone,” Fister said. “Left a few balls over the plate and they made me pay for him. Really had to struggle to keep that going after that. So, keys were guys played defense. They came out and played well, sacrificed a lot, whether it was diving, or just sacrificing themselves to make a play. That was big.”

Did Fister think his delivery was just too strong to begin?

“I don’t think it was too strong, it’s just more of a timing thing,” Fister said. “I wasn’t (letting) my arm catch up, getting too quick. I don’t want to say its mechanical. It’s just a mental adjustment. I need to go back out there and get it done.”

Fister, who improved to 7-2, said his defense played a big part in getting seven innings in for the win.

“It becomes a really big emphasis on team baseball and letting those guys work behind me,” Fister said. “Saying here it is, let (them) hit it. There was a lot of strong contact tonight, but guys made some great plays. Guys are picking me up, making a lot of mistakes. They are doing a tremendous job back there.”

“That’s what I think Mike (Rizzo) brought him here for,” Desmond said of Fister’s perseverance. “He wasn’t sharp early. He identified it, made the adjustment and continued to hold them to that three runs and gave us a chance to win the ball game.

“You can’t give him enough credit for how fast he works. Pitching in the strike zone. That’s something our other starters are feeding off of. I would say that to watch him battle through it kind of gave me a little extra edge while I as out there.”

Tyler Clippard managed to get through the eighth by striking out the Rockies most dangerous hitter, Troy Tulowitzki.

“I felt comfortable tonight with my stuff and my fastball location,” Clippard said. “I was confident facing Tulo. Luckily enough made my pitches to him and got him out.”

Clippard confirmed it was his splitter that got Tulowitzki to swing at the third strike. He broke down the critical at-bat and his strategy.

“Just pitch to pitch. I wanted to get ahead of him with something hard and away,” Clippard said. “I didn’t want to lead off with an off speed pitch there. I felt like he might’ve been sitting on something soft. Just traditionally that’s what I started off the other guys with so I wanted to just come right after him. I was able to do that. Threw him three fastballs. Set up the splitty nice and I was able to bury it.”

Rafael Soriano had to battle to earn the save. After getting two outs, the Rockies got runners on the corners with a chance to take the lead. But Soriano forced a pop-up to end the game.

Desmond doesn’t believe Soriano is doing anything different this year in racking up 20 saves.

“He did a great job last year,” Desmond said. “I think (he) had close to 50 saves (43 saves in 2013). Possibly, I’m not sure at this point a lot more opportunities last year. He’s a really good pitcher. I think watching on TV or watching from the stands his misses people take those as uncalculated.

“But he knows exactly what he’s doing and exactly where he wants to put the ball. And he executes a lot. Kind of like Livo (Livan Hernandez), I’ve started to learn what his sequences are and stuff like that. I have 100 percent confidence every time he takes the mound.”

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