Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman’s two-run double (+0.179)
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, starter Dan Haren doubled and Jayson Werth singled to put runners on the corners for Bryce Harper. In what might be the ultimate sign of respect, the White Sox intentionally walked Harper to load the bases and get to All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Suffice it to say, they jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Zimmerman launched a two-run double to right field, giving the Nationals a 6-3 lead and knocking White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod out of the game after just 3.2 IP. After the came, when asked about White Sox manager Robin Ventura’s decision to walk Harper, Davey Johnson said: “Well that’s their decision. Harp’s swinging pretty good. I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.”
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Alejandro de Aza’s RBI single (-0.152)
Trailing 3-1, the White Sox had runners on first and second after a Dylan Axelrod single (AL pitcher hit alert!). De Aza’s hit scored a run, cutting the lead to 3-2, and put the White Sox in great position to score again, with runners on first and third with only one out. Jeff Keppinger would knock in another run with a single to tie the game, but Dan Haren ended the threat by getting Alex Rios to ground out and Adam Dunn to fly out.
Champ of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman (+0.200) did most of his damage with the two-run double, but also walked twice, although he scored no runs. For Chicago, de Aza was 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Chump of the Game: Dan Haren would take this prize if we looked only at his pitching (-0.109), but he was actually the team’s second most valuable player on offense (+0.163), going 1-2 with a double and scoring the tie-breaking run. Instead the distinction falls on Danny Espinosa (-0.061), who went 0-3 with a strikeout before being removed from the game in a double switch, replaced in the field by Steve Lombardozzi.