It was pretty dicey there for a while, but thanks to a little bit of luck and a lot of clutch performance, the Nats pulled off their third consecutive win. They blew a 3-1 lead, but came back from a 4-3 deficit and held on in a very contentious ninth. The Padres had runners on first and second with one out when a sharp grounder deflected off of Rafael Soriano and Anthony Rendon had to make a tough pick and throw to nab a diving Mark Kotsay at first base. Then, with two outs and runners on second and third, Adam LaRoche made a great play to snag an Everth Cabrera grounder and deny him a base hit to end the game. The Nats are now three games above .500 for the first time since May 18th and have won eight of their past twelve games. They are certainly playing better of late, and will benefit even more now that Bryce Harper has broken out of his slump. He was 1-2 today with 3 RBI: one on an RBI single, one on a sac fly, and one on a bases-loaded walk. The season’s second half is shaping up to be quite exciting for the Nats.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s RBI single (+19.8%)
Trailing 4-3, the Nationals mounted a furious comeback in the seventh inning. Two singles and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out, and Harper tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Up next, Zimmerman gave the Nats the lead with his single that scored Ian Desmond and put the Nats on top, 5-4. However, he was thrown out by a mile stretching for second to end the inning.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Jesus Guzman‘s three-run homer (-38.6%)
Zimmermann left the game up 3-1 and in line for his NL-leading 13th win, but left two runners on with just one out for Ross Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf, who entered today’s game with a 2.13 ERA, made a rare mistake that Guzman took deep to left. After allowing that homer to the first batter he faced, Ohlendorf settled down, allowing only one more hit while getting five outs, but the damage was done.
Champ of the Game: Denard Span (+19.7%) barely edged out Harper (+19.4%) to lead the team in WPA today. He was 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Guzman (+40.8%) was 2-4 with three RBI and a run scored, having hit a double before hitting his home run.
Chump of the Game: Ohlendorf (-30.8%) allowed just one run on two hits in 1.2 IP, but WPA holds him accountable for the entirety of the three-run homer Guzman hit off him. Cabrera (-28.1%), who was named an All-Star shortstop ahead of Ian Desmond, was 0-5, including the game-ending groundout to first.