In the fourth inning of the Nationals’ finale against the Giants, the team was down 5-0 and held hitless.
At that moment it was hard to predict what would happen. The Nats’ bats broke out for 18 hits and scored 14 to runs to earn a series win over the Giants and finish their homestand 9-1.
Stephen Strasburg was out after four innings and manager Matt Williams relied on his bullpen to complete the game.
Here is what Williams told reporters following the Nats’ win.
On what comeback says about character of the team: “They don’t quit. Don’t stop fighting. They feel it’s important to continue to apply pressure even if we’re down. We get some guys out there and have opportunities. They just did that again today. We did it by bunching base hits together. That will help you along the way. Homers help you, but the fact that they bunched base hits together says something about approach and how they’re going about it.”
On performance of Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong: “You never know. He’s a veteran guy. He’s pitched a long time. Sometimes early on they can’t find it, and then they do, and then you’re really in trouble. (The offense) just kept with it. Jayson’s (Werth) double started it. They could just continue to stay with the approach they had going in. Get base hits. It’s important for us.”
On Craig Stammen’s two innings of relief: “Stammer’s been in that role all year and he’s continued to go out there in those situations and provide us an opportunity to come back. He did it again today. Can’t say enough about him. He gets in those situations and stops it and allows us to come back.”
On Werth’s offensive production: “It’s situational hitting. We talked about it earlier today, the fact that he’s really good at that. He’s really good at understanding the situation, what it calls for and having a plan and approach to do that, whatever that is. Man at second base - a lot of balls back through the middle. We need a guy that can get on, he can draw a walk. If we need an extra-base hit, he looks for a pitch to do that as well.”
On importance of Werth’s 11-pitch walk and steal of second in the eighth inning: “He’s very good at understanding where we’re at and what’s needed. That’s leading by example.”
On Nats’ ability to apply pressure: “It’s part of our DNA. We established that in spring training. It’s part of the way we have to play the game if we’re going to be successful. Doesn’t mean that we’re just going to run wild, but we try to pick opportunities that are given to us and take those opportunities.”
On the significance of the Nats’ 9-1 homestand: “It was some hairy times and some not planned moments, but they just keep going. They just keep playing. They’re having fun. They’re prepared and they’re able to go out and execute. That’s all we can ask. They’ve done that all year. Pleased with it, yes. We have a very difficult road trip coming up. We’re going to have to play well on that one to continue to play well.”
On why Asdrubal Cabrera exited the game early: “He’s got a little tightness in his side on the swing. Right now he’s day-to-day. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We didn’t want to take any chances in that situation. We got him out of the game. Got Danny (Espinosa) in there. Good for Danny, too. He got a couple hits, a homer. We’ll have to see how Asdrubal is when he wakes up tomorrow and get him to the ballpark. It’s in his right side. We don’t know the severity of it. Let the docs take a look at him and we’ll know tomorrow.”
On Strasburg’s start: “He threw some good fastballs down and in to the right handers today but he also missed location a few times and they got him. That’s part of pitching. It happens. The fact that the guys were able to come back and win the game is saying something. He wasn’t as sharp as his last two outings today. “
On Bryce Harper’s day at the plate: “He’s seeing it good. His best at-bat today was the ball he hit to left field. He’s hit a lot of balls back through the middle in recent days which tells me he’s seeing it and staying back. The ball to left is especially important for him. He got a ball up and middle of the plate that he was able to hit for a homer. It’s funny how those come when you’re hitting the ball back through the middle.”