Williams on Fister’s outing, Clippard’s eighth, Desmond’s homer after 4-3 win

Going for the three-game sweep of the Rockies tonight, Doug Fister wasn’t himself early on and the Nationals trailed 3-0 after just two innings.

But the comeback formula was there again for this ball club tonight.

Fister made some in-start adjustments and went seven strong innings on just 80 pitches, allowing just those three runs. The offense came alive thanks largely to a Jayson Werth two-run shot in the fourth and an Ian Desmond solo homer in the seventh that gave the Nats the lead. And then the bullpen again put in tremendous work, with Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano combining for two scoreless frames to close it out.

Another come-from-behind win, and a fifth straight victory for the Nats, pushing them a season-best eight games over .500.

Here’s manager Matt Williams after the win:

On Fister starting slow but piecing things together: “Doug was a little bit up early, a little bit up in the zone. Felt really strong, so that’s an indication for him as the ball gets up in the zone a little bit. Made some nice plays behind him. The three-run homer from (Michael) McKenry early put us in a hole, but he battled through. He found it a little bit the last couple innings he pitched. Down in the zone a little bit, probably because he got a little bit tired. But gave us a chance. We came back, big homer by Desi, and that put us ahead.”

On taking Fister out after seven innings with his pitch count fairly low: “We’re fully loaded in the bullpen with a day off tomorrow. The fact that we got the lead helps make that decision to go to Clip and to Sori. If Doug was at 90 pitches, we would’ve done the same thing. That’s their inning, and we had the lead, so we wanted to try to win it.”

On Clippard’s big battle with Troy Tulowitzki with two outs and a guy on in the eighth: “He fed him fastballs away. Tulo’s a great hitter, great player. Got him swinging at the fastball and threw him a really good split/change. Don’t know which one it was, but it went down to strike him out. Split? So that was a good pitch.”

On Desmond’s first half, with a low batting average and high power numbers: “The at-bat tonight is an indication of what he can do. He goes up there in that situation and knows he’s not necessarily going to get a ball to pull, and he stayed on it and hit it over the fence. He’s got great power to all fields and the ability to do that at any time. Just a good at-bat, a good professional at-bat.”

On going to talk to the umpires after Desmond’s homer was initially ruled to have stayed in the park: “Yeah, I went out there and they had already decided they were gonna review it anyway. But yeah, from the way the ball came off and Stubbs’ reaction, and then for me, naked eye, it seems like it hit the rail. Just wanted to make sure we got a second look, if need-be.”

On the defense supporting Fister tonight: “There were some great plays. Denard made a couple of plays tonight, one on a ball over his head, Zim made a couple. It’s important for us to play good defense and support our pitcher. Keeps us in games.”

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