SAN FRANCISCO - It’s not the kind of streak that draws headlines, but that doesn’t make what Jayson Werth has been doing for more than a month now insignificant.
Werth has successfully reached base in 32 consecutive games now, easily the longest such streak of his career and tied for the third-longest streak in the majors this season.
Werth broke his previous career-best of 29 games Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland, then extended it Thursday night and again tonight in San Francisco. His second-inning walk off Jeff Samardzija made it official and moved him into a tie with Houston’s Jose Altuve and Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for third place in the big leagues this year.
Still ahead of Werth on the list: Seattle’s Robinson Cano (34 games) and Miami’s Marcell Ozuna (who holds the current season-high streak at 36 games).
Some of Werth’s streak-extending games have featured nothing more than one walk in five plate appearances. But plenty of them have included far more productive at-bats than that, including his second one of tonight’s game.
Stepping to the plate with one out and a man on second base in the top of the fourth, Werth battled Samardzija through a nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off three straight two-strike offerings. Finally he delivered, sending a sharp single to right field, bringing Wilson Ramos home with the run that left tonight’s game tied 1-1.
The Giants got on the board first when Conor Gillaspie and Gregor Blanco produced back-to-back two-out hits off Max Scherzer. Scherzer has otherwise been strong, scattering five hits and a walk through four innings.
Update: Continuing a trend from last night, the Nationals have been together some high-quality at-bats with runners in scoring position tonight. They’ve delivered RBI hits in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and in the process have opened up a 4-1 lead. Werth has been a big part of it, singling home Wilson Ramos in the fourth and then doubling and scoring in the sixth. Wilmer Difo doubled to lead off the fifth and scored on Ben Revere’s single. Revere then scored on Daniel Murphy’s 420-foot triple off the wall in the deepest part of right-center field here. The bad news: Murphy appeared to slow down coming around second base, and one inning later he has come out of the game, replaced at second base by Trea Turner. You have to wonder if he felt something while running that one out.
Update II: Props to Scherzer for another stellar outing. He went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, throwing 116 pitches. Obviously, Max did his job. But with the Nats still leading 4-1, that means the bullpen is still going to have to do its job, with some - but not a huge - margin for error. Stay tuned...
Update III: Nats win, 4-1, but oh man did it feature some high drama. The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, knocking out both Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen. But Sammy Solis got Brandon Crawford to line into - get this - a triple play. Yes, he lined the ball to first, where Ryan Zimmerman (who had just been inserted into the game seconds earlier) caught the ball at his shoelaces, then stepped on first base for the second out, then threw across the diamond to third base for the third out. It’s the first triple play in Nats history, the first 3-3-5 triple play in MLB history, and it could not have come at a better time. After all that, they still had to get through the ninth. Felipe Rivero wound up starting the inning, but after allowing a two-out single, Shawn Kelley entered to finish it, retiring Eduardo Nunez, who represented the tying run. So, it required five relievers to record the final six outs, but the Nats now own a six-game lead in the NL East.