It sure wasn’t pretty. No, it wasn’t that.
The Nationals played an Astros team last night that now is 4-31 (yes, 4-31!) in its last 35 games.
They outhit the Astros 14-6, but scored just one more run than their hosts. Washington relievers combined to allow nine baserunners over 5 2/3 innings. The Nats gave up four more stolen bases without catching a runner trying to steal, yet they had one of their own runners picked off first base.
They blew a three-run lead, then failed get a guy in from third with nobody out and a chance to tack on a crucial insurance run.
Even when the Nationals were able to bring across the eventual game-winning run, they couldn’t do it without getting some major - and boy, do I mean major - help from their opponents.
If you missed the top of the 11th inning last night, you missed quite a show.
With Roger Bernadina on first and none out, Kurt Suzuki popped a bunt into the air halfway between the mound and the first-base line. Astros pitcher Wilton Lopez and first baseman Steve Pearce collided. Pearce almost fell down. He recovered, grabbed the ball and threw wildly to first. The throw nearly took out third baseman Matt Downs, who almost literally dove into the action. Why was Downs there? Who knows? The ball then skipped down the right-field line.
Bernadina ran all the way to third. Bo Porter told him to stop. That wasn’t happening. Bernadina kept running. Right fielder Brian Bogusevic tracked down the ball. He unleashed a throw home. It was airmailed. Bernadina scored. Suzuki somehow found himself standing on third base. He was the owner of the world’s most successful sacrifice bunt.
Tom Emanski, he of the back-to-back-to-back AAU national championships, wasn’t pleased.
One of the worst, yet one of the most entertaining, plays of the season was in the books, and that’s how the Nationals escaped last night’s game with a victory.
Davey Johnson probably wanted to rip his hair out during the final five innings of last night’s game, and he couldn’t have been pleased with the fact that he needed to burn six relievers to secure what was a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning.
The Nats didn’t play especially well last night, and that’s an understatement.
But they still left Minute Maid Park last night with a win. And believe me, while last night’s performance might have been beyond frustrating for fans to watch, the Nats don’t care how awkward or unorthodox a win it was.
They’ll take the victory every time they can get it.