Sep 2, 2013, 1:40 AM EDT
You could look at the Nats’ chip-away, comeback win Sunday night against the Mets as their most satisfying victory of the season thus far, or merely an avoidance of disaster. The alternative would have been a sweep to an injury-riddled team just as they head on a pivotal road trip.
However you classify it, the Nats came away victors and did so in a fashion that could be just what they need to regain momentum with 26 games left on the calendar.
A three-run eighth inning in which they tied the game and then seized it featured two RBI infield grounders, a sacrifice bunt by Bryce Harper and a pinch-hit single by Denard Span on a left-handed relief pitcher. All that in an innings work.
But that rally by the Nats wouldn’t be complete until Jayson Werth walked to the plate with two outs. The veteran outfielder, who has carried his team for over two months, clubbed a double into the gap in right-center field to bring Ryan Zimmerman all the way around from first. The relay throw was a moment late and gave Rafael Soriano the edge he would need to secure the 6-5 win.
Harper – who called his own bunt with no outs to put Scott Hairston and Span in scoring position – was glad to see Werth finish the job and perhaps save him from being second-guessed on the move.
“That was just an unbelievable moment,” Harper said. “I was fired up, just unbelievably fired up when J-Dub hit that double. He’s always coming up clutch for us. He’s been in that situation so many times in his career.”
Werth has been the Nationals’ savior before, most notably in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. But ask him how it feels to be in that moment and he can’t tell you.
“That’s a secret,” he said. “Only people that do that sort of thing get to know what that feels like.”
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.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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