There were no shortage of contributors in tonight’s thrilling Nationals comeback.
Craig Stammen worked three scoreless innings, keeping the Nats’ deficit at three. Kevin Frandsen notched three hits in a rare start. Michael A. Taylor drew a pinch-hit, leadoff walk in the eighth, then scored the Nats’ first run to make it a 3-1 game. Adam LaRoche turned a smooth 3-6-3 double play on a line shot to end the top of the eighth, then knotted the game in the bottom-half with a bolt into the home bullpen.
Bryce Harper worked a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, then motored into scoring position on a wild pitch. And Wilson Ramos sent everyone home happy with an opposite-field ground-rule double that scored Harper with the game-winning run and set off a mob scene on the field.
Quite a comeback it was. Quite a 4-3 win.
Here’s Matt Williams after the victory.
On when he felt the momentum shift late in the game: “You’ve got two of, I think, the premier lefties in our league, certainly, coming in to face the middle-of-our-lineup lefties. Generally that’s a good formula, but Adam put a good swing on the ball and tied us up and Bryce worked a tough walk to lead off the inning. We all saw him advance to second on the ball that gets by. And then Wilson does what he does, he hits the ball up the middle so well. He was able to get it over (Gregory) Polanco. But the base hit off the end of the bat by Franny, that was big for us, too. Gave us our first one. You don’t expect to do that kind of damage against those two guys. They’re pretty good.”
On how the bottom of the ninth changes once Harper moves up on the wild pitch: “It’s a question of what they want to do there. Clint’s (Clint Hurdle) got confidence in those guys, as he should. Righties, lefties, doesn’t matter. They’re equally effective against both. But we’re not thinking about bunting Wilson there anyway, because he can drive the ball in the gap. We were gonna take a swing at it there. If both those guys get on, we may do something different. But the ball got by and he got in scoring position.”
On Taylor’s walk: “Great. Again, he was patient. Fouled off a couple fastballs that he was right on and was patient enough to get that walk for us to start it off.”
On how you quantify how valuable Stammen has been: “You can’t. The guy can go out there for multiple innings. He conserved pitches, too, he had some quick innings tonight. If we got to the lefty there, we were probably gonna get him, but Adam turned a great double play and he was able to get out of it. Long guys don’t get much credit, but they’re really, really important to your team in games like this one. We had to pinch-hit for Gio (Gonzalez) early. They’re valuable. They always keep us in that game.”
On Gonzalez’s outing: “The key for him is establishing ball over the plate early, and curveball command, like we talked about. Tonight he didn’t have that curveball command. So he’ll continue to work on it. Next time out, hopefully he’s got that. But his next ‘pen will be really important for him to establish that slot and command with the curveball. If he doesn’t have it, the other team can just eliminate it from their thought process. It makes it more difficult for him to get guys out. He’ll work on it hard next time he throws a ‘pen.”
On if he worries if Gonzalez is healthy: “No. He feels good. His velocity is good. He’s complained of no pain or anything. It’s just a question of command and the curveball’s important for him. He’ll address it with (Steve McCatty) again and look for that arm slot, and hopefully next time out, he finds it early. We’ve seen that in his good outings, that he’s had that.”
On how Jayson Werth (right shoulder) made it through today’s pregame workout: “He’s OK. He’s gonna do it again tomorrow early and see how he feels. It was a little tender, so he’ll get through tonight and see how he feels when he wakes up. But he did the full workout today. Went out and hit in the cage and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. But a little tender after today. So if we have to take another day after today, we may have to do that.”