Three games, three walk-offs.
They’re going to run out of Gatorade at Nationals Park. Too much of it is getting dumped on the walk-off heroes.
Adam LaRoche played the role of the hero tonight, crushing a 3-1 curveball from Will Harris deep to right for his first career walk-off homer, sending the Nats players and coaches spilling onto the field for the third straight night to celebrate another wild victory, this one by a 5-4 score.
The Nats scored two runs in the seventh on Wilson Ramos’ two-run homer to take a 2-1 lead. Then Jordan Zimmermann served up a two-run shot to Didi Gregorius to make it 3-2 D’backs in the top of the eighth.
Anthony Rendon’s RBI triple and Jayson Werth’s sac fly then made it 4-3 Nats in the bottom of the eighth, but Tyler Clippard blew the save, surrendering a long homer to David Peralta, tying the game.
The roller-coaster of emotions continued in the top of the 11th, when Craig Stammen loaded the bases with no outs, only to then put on his magician’s hat and work out of the jam. That set the stage for LaRoche, who walked ‘em off.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the game:
On if he’s seen something like this before in all his years around the game: “No. Well, actually, I was part of one with the Diamondbacks as a player. Three walk-off homers in three games. They don’t come around very often. But they just keep fightin’, man. They just keep fightin’. Which is a great trait to have.”
On if these wins give the Nats increased confidence down the stretch: “I don’t think that it has anything to do with confidence. I think everyone is confident. Just ... Stammen got in a situation and made quality pitches. Got ahead of the guys, was able to sink the ball and get foul balls and then got a couple of strikeouts with the slider late. And then of course, Adam has never done that before. In all the home runs he’s hit, he’s never done that before. So that’s a first for him. Unconventional by every stretch of the imagination. But it’s a fantastic trait to have that they never give up.”
On Zimmermann’s outing: “Pitched really well. Pitch count’s reasonable, he just made a pitch to Didi. At that point, there’s no need to push him any further than that. We were hoping he’d be able to get through that inning with our bullpen situation the way that it is, we wanted to stretch him through that inning given his pitch count. Unfortunately didn’t happen for him. But he pitched well.”
On if he considers pulling Zimmermann after seven innings if Rafael Soriano was available: “Yeah, potentially. Sori’s five of six. We had to use Clip, he’s now six of seven. But that situation suits Clip with the lefties coming up. He just hung a split. Given all the games we’ve been playing like this, it taxes your bullpen. So we wanted to stay away from Sori tonight, if at all possible.”
On the roller-coaster ride the last few days: “It’s just part of the game. It happens sometimes. You never want it, by any means. You never want that. But if you’re given the situation and it’s presented to you, you have one choice: you can give up, or you can fight. And these guys fight, which is great.”
On the tight games: “It doesn’t help your bullpen, for sure. We want to make sure we’re mindful of everybody’s health and their load, but we get in a situation where we can win a game, we’ve got to try and do that, too. It’s not easy, but it is baseball. That’s why it’s such a wonderful game. We’ve got to play it until the end, until the last out’s made.”
On if he’s still willing to do his Babe Ruth impersonation if the Nats win 10 straight: “Well I didn’t necessarily want to bring that up, but it is. Yes, it is. It’s still available.”
On if he’s started studying tape of the Babe yet: “Not yet. Again, we don’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to look to tomorrow.”