Williams meets with the media after 3-2 win over Phillies

With one victory today, the Nationals avoided a sweep by the Phillies, extended their lead in the National League East to seven games, trimmed their magic number to 14 and got some momentum back on their side before a three-game series against the Braves starts tomorrow. Not a bad day at the office. The Nats got six strong innings from Gio Gonzalez today, were led offensively by Adam LaRoche's two solo homers and Scott Hairston's go-ahead sac fly, and saw Drew Storen close it down with a perfect ninth inning to notch his second save of the season. Here's Matt Williams after the win: On Hairston hitting two pitches well off Hamels but getting just a sac fly out of it: "I don't know, you have to ask him, but I don't know if he can hit two balls better than he hit today. Ordinarily, I think those balls have a really good chance of leaving. The first one, he caught against the fence, and the second one I thought there was no chance for it to stay in the ballpark. He hit them both really good. Ball wasn't really carrying to left, for sure. But yeah, he's got good numbers against Hamels and has seen him well and hit him well over time. So want to give him that opportunity for sure." On LaRoche performing so well despite battling a host of ailments: "That's part of a whole season. That's part of playing every day. You're not gonna feel 100 percent. Maybe opening day, but that's about it. It's part of grinding through a full season. We've been trying to give him some days and some rest when we can and he's responded to that. His back's feeling a little bit better. So that's a good sign, that it's not something that's gonna stay with him for the long-term. He's got good power numbers against Hamels, too. Not a whole lot of hits, but good power numbers." gonzalez-gio-red-pitching-away-sidebar.jpgOn if this might have been Gonzalez's best outing of the season: "Yeah. I think that the curveball Byrd hit for a base hit, other than that, they didn't do much with his curveball or his changeup, which is key for him. If he can land both of those early, then he his fastball looks better, more explosive out of his hand, and he's able to pitch off the zone with it, up and away, and get guys to swing at it. He was really good." On whether he liked the matchup for Storen in the ninth, or if he just wanted to give Storen the first crack at the closer's role with Rafael Soriano taking a couple days off: "Certainly looking at Drew, but we figure that both Ruiz and Byrd are gonna hit. They're not gonna pinch-hit for either one of those guys. So that dictated Drew. And of course we thought we would get Howard, but since he got through those two guys well, we just left the inning to him. He pitched really well. Got Byrd and Howard with breaking balls. He came in and shut the door." On Storen having multiple weapons: "I think he uses his changeup effectively to lefties. He doesn't throw it a lot to righties. I think he threw one to Byrd on a 2-2 pitch. But it's just balls going different directions, which is good. He's got all those pitches to work with." On Gonzalez coming up limping after hustling down the line in the fifth: "From pushing off, he's got a little bit of a blister, and as he tried to side-step or push on that play, he's got some tape on his blister and it ripped a little bit. On his foot. No big deal." On the Nats winning a challenge in the eighth when it was ruled Ben Revere was out on an attempted steal: "The way he went to catch the ball, his foot was there, and it looked as if his left hand got caught. We called up and we had trouble with the phone. Randy called and we didn't get anybody, then they called and when he picked up, they still couldn't get through. The third time, it worked. So it took a little while to make the decision, but they saw his hand got caught on Desi's foot."

Hearing from Storen, Gonzalez, LaRoche and Hairsto...
Early miscues hurt Nats (Nats win 3-2)

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