Through eight innings, this looked like a classic Nationals game. The Nats trailed 2-1, having mustered just two hits against Kyle Kendrick. Gio Gonzalez had been masterful since a two-run homer in the first, allowing no hits apart from those first two and striking out a season-high 11, but was in line for the loss. All seemed lost against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who got the save against the Nats last night despite blowing his first one of the year in the first game of the series. However, after promising to “eat somebody’s face” after last night’s tough loss, Jayson Werth “walk[ed] the talk” as F.P. Santangelo put it, and delivered his second RBI single of the night. Then, in the 11th, Ian Desmond gave us the meatiest #steak: a grand slam, the first for the Nats this season and the first of Desmond’s career. It was a great night for a comeback, and a great night for hashtags: by the end of it, #EatFace, #Natitude, and #steak were all trending in DC. Hopefully the offensive production can be trending in DC too, as the Nats return for a seven-game homestand.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Jayson Werth’s game-tying single (+36.7%)
Bet you thought this’d be the grand slam, right? WRONG. With Span on first, the Nats were an out away from a sweep at the hands of the Phillies. However, Werth refused to let his team go quietly into that good night. He bit a massive chunk out of Papelbon’s face, giving him his second blown save in three nights and keeping the Nats alive. Unlike the previous 9th-inning comeback, however, the Nats would not blow it in the bottom of the inning.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Michael Young‘s two-run homer (-16.0%)
The game got off to a bad start for Gonzalez. Ben Revere singled to lead off the bottom of the first and Young quickly homered to drive him in. It looked as though Bad Gio had come to Citizen’s Bank Park, and Nats fans were in for a long day. However, it was just the opposite, as those would be the only two hits he allowed all day. From that moment on, Gio retired 20 of the next 22 batters he faced, eleven by strikeout, and one baserunner was wiped out by a double play.
Champ of the Game: Werth (+54.1%) was really hungry for some faces today. He had an RBI single to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the seventh, his game-tying single in the ninth, and he walked to load the bases just before Desmond’s grand slam in the 11th. Overall, he was 2-4 with two RBI, a walk, and a run scored. Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (+38.1%) was even better than Gio, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk in 7.2 innings while striking out six.
Chump of the Game: Anthony Rendon (-23.4%) had a rare off night, going 0-5 to end his sixteen-game on-base streak. Phillies reliever Michael Stutes (-43.4%) walked two batters and gave up three hits in the 11th, including Desmond’s fateful grand slam.