This is starting to get ridiculous.
The Nationals have won nine games in a row. They’ve had four walk-off wins in their last five games.
They’ve had three blown saves in a four-game span, and it hasn’t seemed to matter. They continue to come back, they continue to scratch out runs late in games, and they continue to roll off victories.
If you’re a Nats fan, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Tonight, the Nats took a 2-0 lead into the eighth, until Tyler Clippard surrendered a game-tying, two-run shot to Ender Inciarte. Rafael Soriano then delivered a dominant, 1-2-3 top of the ninth, setting the stage for more heroics. And his teammates delivered.
Bryce Harper led off the inning with a single up the middle. Kevin Frandsen followed with a one-out single, moving Harper to third. And then Anthony Rendon, getting his first pinch-hit appearance of the season, ripped a game-winning single down the left field line, scoring Harper and again setting off a mob scene on the infield at Nats Park.
What a homestand it’s been, and the Nats now have a seven-game lead in the division, thanks to Pittsburgh’s walk-off win over the Braves.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the victory:
On if this is how he drew it up: “No, no. Not even close. That’s not the way you draw them up, but they don’t stop fighting, that’s for sure.”
On if he’s running out of ways to describe these wins: “Yeah, it’s a question of just being prepared and being ready to step in there and do whatever has to be done. Tonight it was Anthony and this whole slew of guys. Drew came in in a tough spot, Sori pitched a good inning, which allowed us to stay in the game and allowed us to get to that point and with one swing win it. It takes everybody to do that, and they’ve been doing that for the last nine, especially. So it’s gratifying for them. It’s exciting for them. It’s not a whole lot of fun in the dugout for the staff, but that’s OK.”
On Soriano’s bounce-back outing: “He had a really good fastball tonight, 92-93 (mph). Good slider. Everything was crisp. A couple of days off really helped him.”
On Rendon’s rare pinch-hit appearance: “I think he was of understanding what they were going to try to do after the first pitch. They wanted to go in with a sinker. He’s got a really good sinker. So I think he had an idea of what they were going to try to do, until they got to two strikes, anyway. And he just got the head out on one.”
On if he senses a common theme in Clippard’s last two outings, both of which have resulted in blown saves: “No, just the ball the other night was a split, tonight it was a fastball. I think the split is, it’s not about missing location, because it’s an offspeed pitch anyway. Tonight, I think he just missed location. He was a little up and not far enough in, where he wanted it. There’s no explaining it. They put a couple good swings on the ball and they hit the ball over the fence. You can’t explain that.”
On Tanner Roark, who went seven scoreless tonight: “Not as crisp. Last couple of times out, a little bit all over the place. Used his changeup effectively tonight and made pitches when he needed to, but he hasn’t been as crisp the last couple times. ...
On if many quote-unquote fifth starters can not be sharp and pitch like Roark has lately: “Yeah, that’s not easy to do. But he finds a way to make pitches when he needs to, and he did that again tonight. I think his fastball velocity was down a little bit tonight, didn’t have his best stuff, but he finds a way to make it through. Again, seven scoreless, that’s not easy to do, especially when you don’t have your A-game.”
On if he’s seen a stretch like this before: “You see things over the course of time, but for me, it’s just a very good ethic that these guys have. They believe in each other, they believe that we can stay in a game, that we can win a game, that we’re never out of a game. That’s a trait that you can’t force on folks. They get that amongst themselves in that clubhouse, and it’s enjoyable to watch. Sometimes it’s not a whole lot of fun, but it’s enjoyable to watch the way they go about it. So I’m proud of them.”