ATLANTA - Are the Nationals and Braves capable of playing a normal, uneventful 5-2 ballgame?
How about a quiet 3-1 contest?
No? OK, then.
The Nats and Braves waited out nearly a four-hour rain delay tonight and then battled for 11 innings before Washington was able to take a 4-1 win.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the late-night/early-morning win:
On how big a win this was: “Considering all that happened today and the way we had to fight through the last couple of days, it was pretty good for us. Fought them all the way.”
On starting the game at nearly 11 p.m.: “It’s odd. But it’s part of the deal. We’re getting toward the latter part of the season, limited off-days, mutual off-days are non-existent. It had to be a doubleheader back here. It may have been a different story if it was a day game here tomorrow, but since it’s a 8 o’clock game, they decided to stick around. Thankfully, we pulled it out.”
On if the biggest challenge in a game like this is mental or physical: “It’s more mental, probably. Because the longer you go, the more you get into shutdown mode. But they’ve been doing this all year, regardless of situation of game or delays or anything like that, they’re ready to play. So I’m proud of them.”
On what impressed him most about his team tonight: “Just that they kept going. Little offense from either team early. We had a chance a couple of times to get a hit and score a run and it didn’t happen, but they just keep ... they’re resilient. They just keep going.”
On Jayson Werth, who was scratched from the starting lineup but pinch-hit in the 11th: “He’s still a little sore. We decided to get him out of there today. I think he’ll be OK for tomorrow. Certainly the pinch-hit appearance tonight dictates that he’ll be OK tomorrow. But needed a little extra work and he took the game to do that. Should be good tomorrow.”
On Steven Souza Jr., who pinch-ran for Werth after a walk: “Good enough to pinch-run, yeah. So Jayson’s in a situation today where we can use him to take a swing but we don’t want to push him too hard. So we decided to get Souz in there to run for him just in case a ball got in the gap.”
On Bryce Harper, whose surgically repaired thumb started ailing after a foul ball: “It’s gonna be like that for a while because anytime he gets jammed, it can really affect that area. But he stayed in there and got a hit that at-bat and a big walk for us to set up that last inning for us. So he played well.”
On if Harper can do any more damage by playing through it: “Not physical damage. It can swell a little bit and it’s pretty painful if it’s on that ligament and the bat his that ligament hard, it’s painful. And it takes him a little bit to get over it. But it subsides after a while.”