Jun 26, 2013, 4:54 AM EST
|USA Today Sports Images|
Davey Johnson took his customary seat in the interview room at Nationals Park Tuesday night and let out a sigh.
“It’s never easy,” the 70-year-old manager said, “is it?”
Well, no. The Nationals’ 7-5 victory over the Diamondbacks should never have been that close, with the tying run standing on first base in the ninth inning and the home club coming this close to blowing an early 6-run lead.
But ignore, for a moment, the near-collapse late and focus instead of the events of the game’s first five innings, in particular the bottom of the third, when a typically moribund Nationals lineup exploded for five runs to match its most-productive offensive frame of the season. Denard Span singled to drive in a run. Jayson Werth singled to drive in a run. And Adam LaRoche produced the biggest blast: a three-run homer to complete the huge inning.
That sudden burst of lumber allowed the Nationals to open up a big lead and allowed this admittedly tight ballclub to play loose for a change, knowing the game wasn’t going to completely turn around on one swing.
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