The Nationals Park crowd went nuts, the home dugout was filled with smiles and fist-pounds, and for the first time in this series, the Nats had momentum on their side.
But that momentum wasn’t able to turn into the game-winning run, and the Braves put up two runs against Jerry Blevins in the top of the 13th and held on for a 6-4 victory.
Dating back to last season, Atlanta has now won 20 of the 27 games these two teams have played. With tonight’s win, the Braves also move a half-game above the Nats into first place in the National League East.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the game:
On how tough the loss was: “It’s just like any other game. We came back against one of the best closers in the game to tie the game. Had an opportunity, but we lost it. But proud of them for fighting back, staying in it and giving ourselves an opportunity. He doesn’t give up many homers.”
On if he felt things were turning the Nats’ way when Rendon knotted the game in the ninth: “This game changes on one swing sometimes. That could’ve been the one swing. It turned out it wasn’t. So we have to be ready to go tomorrow and put this one tomorrow like we always do. It’s no fun to lose, nobody wants to lose, but we’ve got two more against these guys and a whole bunch of games left. So we have to have short memories. But we got to their closer, and that’s tough to do. Gave ourselves a chance.”
On the state of the bullpen tonight: “(Aaron) Barrett’s (worked) three days in a row, (Ross Detwiler) had a whole bunch of pitches. It’s not real good. So hopefully ... our one-inning guys are fine, but tomorrow, Det will be better. Certainly Barrett. But three days in a row going to four is tough, and Det throwing so many pitches, as well.”
On if Blevins needed to work that second inning: “Yeah. You can go to Barrett for four days in a row, but that’s really dangerous. And he’s thrown a lot of pitches too.”
On if Blevins looked like he was running out of gas a bit in that second inning: “Yeah, I mean, he got the double play ball. Could’ve kept it at one. Freddie put together a really good at-bat, got to 3-2 and grounded a ball with the runner going. Jerry made his pitch, it just happened to be in the hole. I thought he did OK. Gattis got the base-hit but then we were able to get a grounder to potentially turn two, but it didn’t happen. He pitched fine, but it was a lot of pitches for everyone today.”
On Stephen Strasburg’s outing, in which he allowed four runs in six innings and threw 107 pitches: “Stras was fine. He gave up the double to Heyward, which gave them a couple. All-in-all, he was OK. Lot of pitches today, though. Early pitches. They made him work.”
On if he noticed anything different in Strasburg’s two-strike approach today: “No. It happens sometimes. He was aggressive within the strike zone today. It’s not easy to hit with two strikes against him. But they did.”