Matt Williams won’t be around to watch the remainder of the Nationals’ first game of a seven-game road trip.
Between the top and bottom halves of the second inning, Williams was ejected after a prolonged and animated discussion with home plate umpire Mark Wegner over his interpretation of the strike zone in an inning during which the Nationals loaded the bases with none out - and still failed to score.
The key point that Williams seemed to repeatedly make was that Wegner called a 3-2 pitch to Danny Espinosa strike three for the inning’s first out. Replays showed the pitch was outside of the strike zone and Espinosa rolled his eyes in disbelief as he walked back to the dugout.
Jose Lobaton then struck out and Gio Gonzalez bounced into a fielder’s choice to end the frame.
It’s Williams’ first ejection as a major league skipper. Bench coach Randy Knorr is now in charge of the club.
Update: The Nats didn’t score in the second, but took a 3-0 lead in the third on Adam LaRoche’s ninth home run of the season.
With one out, Anthony Rendon drew a walk off Matt Garza and Jayson Werth followed with a single to right that sent him to third. LaRoche then crushed a Garza pitch over the wall in center to break the scoreless standoff.
Update II: Gonzalez is done after six innings after Greg Dobbs came on as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh. The lefty didn’t have his spotless command tonight, but still managed to work six shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking four and striking out five. He threw 114 pitches, 68 for strikes, and wiggled out of a couple of jams without any damage.
Aaron Barrett is on to work the seventh.
Update III: Drew Storen worked the eighth and Tyler Clippard got the final three outs, striking out the side for his first save of the season in the Nats’ 3-0 victory. It’s the Nats’ ninth shutout of the season.