Three solo homers helped the Nats build a 5-0 lead, and two more dug them out after blowing it. In order: Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Chad Tracy (?!?), and Anthony Rendon each went yard, and even though the Nationals blew their five-run lead, they did just enough to claw back and hold on for the win. Jordan Zimmermann was uniquely not ace-like, allowing five runs in six innings to blow it, but the offense bailed him out, managing a staggering-for-the-Nats seven runs. Coming back on solo homers is no way to go through life, but for tonight, the Nats will take it.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Anthony Rendon’s solo homer (+41.5%)
Rendon came to the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth, visions of last night’s debacle dancing terrifyingly in Nats fans’ heads. Rendon, who was benched last night, ensured that the narrative was changed. Early in the at-bat, Indians 1B Nick Swisher and 2B Jason Kipnis failed to communicate over a popup in foul ground and it fell. Rendon took advantage of the gifted second chance, putting the Nats ahead for good with his first career homer.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Michael Brantley‘s double (-30.0%)
After allowing three runs in the fourth, the wheels came off for Zimmermann in the fifth. With a runner on first and two outs, Zimmermann allowed three straight hits. The second scored a run to cut the Nats’ lead to 5-4, and put runners on first and second for Brantley. The third was Brantley’s double, and broke the Nationals’ back, putting Cleveland back on top 6-5. Zimmermann was pulled after ending the fifth, his ERA having jumped nearly half a run to 2.44.
Champ of the Game: Rendon (+47.2%) had an absolutely monstrous game, which was still pretty good even if you ignore the homer. He was 3-5 with a double and two runs scored, and is now hitting .333. Cleveland’s Brantley (+22.0%) cruised on his one pivotal hit, as he was 0-3 otherwise.
Chump of the Game: Zimmermann (-41.5%) had one of his worst outings of the season. His line: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Fortunately for him, opposing starter Scott Kazmir (-31.2%) was even worse, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks in 2.2 innings.