Down 2-0 in the fourth inning, the Nationals' offense suddenly came to life, with a series of impressive at-bats against Mike Pelfrey. And now we're in the fifth, the Nationals have the lead and Pelfrey is out of the game.
They started things off with a Jayson Werth walk and a Rick Ankiel single in the fourth, scoring one run when Lucas Duda badly misplayed Danny Espinosa's fly ball to right field, letting the ball fall in for a double. Espinosa hit it well, but Duda might have caught it if he'd read it better. Werth and Ankiel certainly thought it was going to be caught, retreating to their bases before it fell in, and Ankiel might have scored, too, if it had been clearer that the ball would fall. But Ankiel came home on a Chris Marrero groundout, and after a long battle with Pelfrey, Wilson Ramos drove in the go-ahead run.
Ramos fouled off six pitches, including a pair of breaking balls, and threw his bat at a tough 2-2 curveball that Pelfrey was trying to get him to chase. But Ramos got just enough of it to pull it inside the left field line. It was an impressive piece of hitting from a catcher who looks to be coming out of a mid-season funk to finish the year on a high note.
He's hit safely in 11 of 12 games, homering three times in that stretch, and put the Nationals on top today. Livan Hernandez is in line for a win in his final start of the year, if the Nationals can hold onto this lead.
Update: Well, that lead was short-lived: Duda redeemed himself with a homer off Hernandez to lead off the sixth. It's now 3-3.