Before we get into the 4-2 Nationals victory, let’s hear from the guys involved in, and close to, the first-inning dugout confrontation between Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez that was seen on the MASN broadcast.
Well, we’ll hear from some of the guys involved in the incident.
Werth declined to comment after the game, and Gonzalez was only willing to say that what happened “stays between me and Werth.”
Manager Davey Johnson, however, was close by when Werth spoke a few choice words to Gonzalez as he walked by the Nats starter, and Johnson then saw Gonzalez follow after Werth and shout a few things back at the big, bearded right fielder.
Johnson confirmed what we all assumed after watching the dugout spat - that Werth wasn’t pleased with Gonzalez being late to cover first base on a first-inning Buster Posey ground ball to the right side, a hesitation that prevented a possible 3-6-1 double play and allowed the inning to continue.
“Oh, just a little camaraderie going on,” Johnson said with a smile. “Jayson sometimes can get a little vocal. He thought that Gio was a little late covering first, and he was, but he falls towards third and with a bad back and falling toward third, he didn’t get over there.”
Johnson didn’t seem to have a problem with the confrontation.
“Spirits are high. I like it,” Johnson said. “It’s no big deal.”
Adam LaRoche agreed.
“We just forget about it,” LaRoche said. “That’s a thing where you’ve got a year where we’ve underachieved, been struggling, around each other all day long. Occasionally, some tempers are going to flare. Guys are competitive. It’s going to happen. They’ll both be over it tomorrow and so will we.”
Gonzalez did admit that he was late to cover first on the play in question.
“I guess it was the way I fell off the mound,” Gonzalez said. “I just, I kind of read it wrong. I didn’t think LaRoche was going to make that play, I thought Anthony (Rendon) was. But I didn’t cover the bag. It was the way I fell off the mound and after that, I had to minimize the damage.”
There were things that happened tonight other than a ground ball to the right side and a heated discussion between teammates, of course.
The Nationals bullpen was a little shaky, but allowed just one earned run over five innings of work after a 77-minute rain delay that knocked Gonzalez from the game. Tanner Roark worked two innings and allowed an unearned run that came around on an Ian Desmond error, and Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano each pitched a scoreless frame to finish off the Giants.
“Roark again pitched great,” Johnson said. “We should’ve gotten out of that one inning. Desi had a rare error. I like the way (Roark) threw the ball. The only guy I didn’t like the way he threw was (Ryan) Mattheus. I told him to go right after Posey, go right after him. So he walks him on four pitches or something. That’s how much they listen to me. But bullpen held up. Got a big out on (Pablo) Sandoval. Clip got on a little shaky ground, but escaped as usual.”
LaRoche broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run homer way out to right field in the sixth, his 17th homer of the season.
“Fastball. Right there,” LaRoche said. “He comes with a first-pitch curveball for a ball, got a guy on first so I’m assuming he’s going after me. Left one out over the plate and hit it pretty good.”
“He’s been swinging the bat better,” Johnson said of LaRoche. “Everybody’s been swinging the bat better. But we got nine hits, four runs. That’s big. That’s large. We’ve been stuck on a lower number.”