Manager Matt Williams seemed a bit relieved to see the Nationals pull off a walk-off 5-4 win over the Brewers Sunday after a back-and-forth affair that seemed dangerously close to a loss.
Ryan Zimmerman provided a huge two-run homer, tying the game as part of the Nats’ three-run fourth inning. It was Zimmerman’s fifth homer and first since June 24, ending a 19-game power outage.
The Nats bullpen provided perhaps the top performance of the day, allowing one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings in relief of Gio Gonzalez, who lasted just 3 1/3 frames.
It might not have been the prettiest outing, but the Nats found a way to win and remain tied for first place in the National League East.
Here’s what Williams had to say after the game.
On being thankful to pull off a win: “Well, having to get Gio out of there before we wanted to certainly is not what we want. It’s a big two-run homer by Zim to get us back in it and then a really good heads-up baserunning play from (Jose Lobaton) there to score and get us ahead. They’re a powerful offense, so we tried to set it up with the guys we normally go to 7-8-9. Sori just left a ball up, but we were able to get out of that and get something manufactured in the bottom.”
On Werth’s clutch hitting: “He’s a good hitter. He knows when to work an at-bat and when to work a walk to get on base, and he knows what to do certainly depending on the situation. With a guy on first, he’s looking to drive the ball, get an extra-base hit. With a guy on second base there, he’s more middle of the diamond. He knows that a single would win it, but he’s been really good for us all year.”
On whether sending Anthony Rendon from first in ninth was a gutsy send by third base coach Bob Henley or off the scouting report: “A little bit of both, but we’ve got to try to win the game there. If Hen stops him there, then we’re banking on another base hit. We’ve got to take a chance there to win the game. Anthony turned the bases really nice on it.”
On Stammen’s 2 2/3 scoreless innings: “We could’ve sent him out there for more, but we had the lead, up by a run with the back of our bullpen guys lined up and decided to go with it. But he got the out he wanted. When he came in the game, they made a couple of really headsy baserunning plays on throws to first and were able to score. But he got that out, certainly got the next out and got the next two. So he fills that role really well and he fills a number of roles, but in that situation he can keep us close and keep us in the game, and allow us to come back like we did.”
On Gonzalez’s struggles: “Just command, command on everything. Fastball, off the plate, up and off the plate. he just couldn’t control that, which didn’t allow him to go to his other pitches either. He threw a lot of pitches in the innings that he threw.”
On whether Gonzalez was upset that he was taken out: “No, I don’t think so. You’ll have to ask him, but I don’t think so.”
On winning despite several fundamental and situational miscues: “It just means that we’ve got to play. You would love it to be perfectly clean every day. That’s not the case. So, the good thing is they don’t quit playing. They understand that if we keep it close enough, we’ve got a chance. It’s good baserunning, too. (Ryan) Braun, on the move - Gio having to turn his back to the plate and throw the ball to first base, certainly pitchers don’t usually throw it over there at 100 miles an hour anyway. And then (Jean) Segura, (Ian Desmond’s) got no choice. He looked him back and he stopped, and then he threw the ball to first base. You’ve got a fast runner there, and that’s a good play. ...
“Those things happen. You have to have a very short memory in that that’s over with, now we’ve got to continue to play to give ourselves a chance. ... Of course, it’s not ideal, but we’re not going to be completely clean. I wouldn’t imagine anybody would.”
On Zimmerman’s first homer in nearly a month: “I think it’s there. I think it has been there. What I’m most pleased with is him delivering base hits with men in scoring position, regardless of homers. That will come. We know that he’s got power and he knows certainly what to do when he’s up there. It’s one thing to swing for the fences. It’s another thing to drive a run in when it’s needed. And today he did with both of them. So he’s been swinging good.”
On Stammen coming in early: “It doesn’t matter to him what inning it is. It’s about making pitches and getting outs. He’s willing to do anything we ask of him whether it’s a situation where the back of our ‘pen’s been three days in a row and he’s got to close a game, he can do that. He’s a former starter, so he understands multiple innings and how to work through that. So yeah, he’s pitched really well.”