After closing out their 10-game road trip on a four-game losing streak, the Nationals got back in the win column tonight, jumping out to a 6-1 lead over the Astros and hanging on for a 6-5 victory.
Anthony Rendon had two doubles and drove in three, Ryan Zimmerman had two doubles and drove in two, and Tanner Roark picks up his sixth win of the season after allowing one run over five innings. The right-hander didn’t have his best stuff, and he threw 95 pitches in those five frames, but he grinded out another win.
After the game, the Nats optioned left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse, opening up a roster spot for Gio Gonzalez, who will come off the disabled list and start tomorrow in the finale of this brief two-game set against Houston.
Gonzalez has missed the last month with left shoulder inflammation.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the game:
On how important it was to get the bats going again: “It’s important. Zim swung the bat well tonight. We needed those. We scored enough. It was touch and go for a while, but these guys in that other dugout have been swinging really well and playing really well. They have good energy, and they’re aggressive. They’ve been putting up a lot runs, too. It was nice to see the offense come alive a little bit. We did it early - first inning.”
On Roark’s two-seamer not really being there tonight: “The ball just wasn’t coming back for him. He was throwing hard - 93, 94 miles per hour - but it wasn’t coming back to the inside of the plate. He labored through and got us five and did his job. But it was a labor tonight. It was really humid for the first time this year for us. He was wiping a lot as if he wasn’t really getting a good grip on it. His ball wasn’t moving back to the corner like it usually does. But he battled through.”
“He just has different pitches he can go to if that doesn’t work for him. Later in his outing tonight, he threw a lot of curveballs. That was the one he could control and get early strikes on. He has the ability to adjust like that within the game to get outs or get ahead in the count.”
On Tyler Clippard allowing four runs in the eighth: “They’re an aggressive team, so they hit a lot of first pitch fastballs. It was the first three batters, but then he settled in a little bit and started throwing his changeup or his curve ball, and then Altuve hit the first pitch fastball. They’re aggressive.”
On if not pitching since Wednesday factored into Clippard’s rough outing: “Maybe. It’s kind of a function of the way we’ve been pitching as a starting staff too. He had the ability to go get the guys and strike the guys out when he needed to, he just left the fastball up to Altuve. If he gets that out, then it’s one of those outings where OK, he gave up a run and wasn’t sharp. Altuve has a whole bunch of hits this year, and he drove one to left.”
On if Marwin Gonzalez grabbed Danny Espinosa’s glove when trying to break up a double play in the ninth: “That was my question for Angel (Hernandez, second base umpire). He slides into second base, but it’s one thing to slide in and break up a double play. It’s another to grab a glove. He explained to me that it’s not reviewable. He said that in his opinion he put his hands up, and we had to go from there. I had to go out there and see what he has to say about it.”