HOUSTON - Another comeback win. That makes eight on the season.
The Nationals trailed 3-2 heading to the eighth inning tonight, but they came back on the Astros with a couple of rallies, both times leading to Adam LaRoche RBI knocks. His double off the wall in left-center scored Jayson Werth (who got a great read on the play) from first and LaRoche then gave the Nats the lead in the ninth with a run-scoring single to center, bringing in Denard Span (who had reached on a leadoff walk and stole second base).
Manager Matt Williams said in spring that he wanted to see his team be able to do the little things needed to plate a single run in a big spot. The Nats did that tonight.
“That’s manufacturing,” Williams said afterwards. “We’re gonna have to do that.”
Here’s more from Williams after the win.
On if Anthony Rendon was trying to move Span from second to third in the ninth inning, even with a 3-1 count: “Yeah, of course. 3-1. He can handle the bat. It wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he was able to advance the guy to third and we were able to get him in. So that’s team baseball.”
On if Werth could have hit the ball harder than he did in his four at-bats tonight: “No. Jayson lined out with guys on base, Espi (Danny Espinosa) did. They had good approach tonight against a really tough pitcher. Lucky for us, we were able to come across with one in the ninth. But they stung the ball tonight. So that’s all we can ask.”
On what jumps out about LaRoche’s strong start: “Just that it’s middle of the diamond. When he’s right and when he feels good, the ball goes in the middle of the diamond. Staying on lefties, hitting the ball to left-center. The double he hit is typical of him when he’s seeing it and going well. He’s been that way all season.”
On what pitching coach Steve McCatty told closer Rafael Soriano on the mound in the ninth: “He was just rushing a little bit, so Cat went out and told him just to stay back. Got two quick outs and started jumping to the plate a little bit. It’s been a few days since he’s pitched. So that’s to be expected a little bit. But he was able to settle in to (Jose) Altuve.”
On Gio Gonzalez, making his first start since feeling shoulder tightness his last time out: “He looked fine. Made one bad pitch to (George) Springer. Hung a changeup. But other than that, he pitched really well. So, sent him out there for 110 and he looked fine. Velocity stayed up and found his curveball (late in the start), so I think he’s fine.”
On Kevin Frandsen bunting in the eighth with runners at second and third and two outs: “Yeah, I mean, he doesn’t have a lot of success against Chad (Qualls), so it’s given to him. We’ve stressed that. If it’s given to him, go ahead and take it. He set the stage for Loby (Jose Lobaton). Chad made a good pitch to him, comeback fastball to get him. But he didn’t have a whole lot of success against him. Hasn’t seen him well. So he took advantage of an opportunity.”