Jul 7, 2011, 4:34 AM EDT
Associated Press photo
Wilson Ramos’ well-executed squeeze bunt scored the winning run for the Nats.
Davey Johnson had managed 2,047 previous big-league games over the course of the last 27 years, and he couldn’t recall ever giving the sign for a suicide squeeze. Not once.
But with his Washington Nationals struggling like never before to drive runners in, and with Michael Morse standing on third base and Wilson Ramos at the plate in the seventh inning of a tie game Wednesday night, Johnson decided he might as well give it a shot. The way his things had been going — the Nationals were 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, for crying out loud — what did he have to lose?
“You haven’t been here the last eight days that I’ve been here?” the 68-year-old manager said with a smirk. “You’ve got to open up the Cracker Jack box.”
And what did Johnson find inside that box? The magic prize that allowed the Nationals to pull off yet another one-run victory, this time by a 5-4 count over the Cubs.
Even if his first attempt nearly resulted in disaster.
Though Morse got the sign from third-base coach Bo Porter, Ramos initially didn’t see it. So as his teammate came barreling down the baseline, completely unprotected, Ramos swung away and fouled
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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