The Washington Walkoffs (formerly known as the Nationals) beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 Thursday afternoon, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The win was the tenth in a row for the Nats and gave Washington the four game sweep over the Diamondbacks.
Gio Gonzalez had his best pitching performance in six weeks. He pitched seven innings of four hit ball, giving up no runs, walking three and striking out six. He got into jams in the third and fifth innings, but worked his way out of them.
Wade Miley pitched for the Diamondbacks. With the amount of hits and walks the Nationals worked off him, this game should have been over long before the ninth inning. Miley pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up eight hits and six walks. The Nats had the lead off man on base in five of the sixth innings Miley pitched, but had one of those games when they could not get the critical hit to get the runners over.
Adam LaRoche ground into two inning ending double plays. Wilson Ramos made the third out in the seventh with the bases loaded. The Nats had two on and nobody out several times and could not take advantage.
The way things have been going for the Nationals lately, you knew that the Nats would probably find a way to win.
Gonzalez pitching seven innings of shut out ball was the foundation the Nats needed to build toward more late inning heroics. Matt Thornton pitched a one-two-three eighth, keeping his ERA since he joined the Nats at 0.000.
Rafael Soriano threw the top of the ninth. He got David Peralta to ground out to start the inning, but then he walked Mark Trumbo. With one on and one out and the game on the line, he induced Aaron Hill to ground into an inning ending double play and put the Nats back out on the field in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 0-0.
Scott Hairston started off the hitting for the Nationals in the bottom of the ninth. He pinch hit for Soriano, and flew out. Denard Span singled and then stole second base. That steal proved to be critical.
Anthony Rendon was the next batter. He ground the ball toward third base, where it was scooped up by Jordan Pacheco. He threw the ball across the diamond on a hop to Trumbo playing first. Trumbo missed the pick and the ball went into the camera well. Rendon was safe at first. Pacheco was charged with the error, but Trumbo was equally to blame for missing the ball on the hop. It wasn’t a particularly difficult pick–we’ve seen LaRoche make that play hundreds of times.
Span was off second base going toward third when the error was made, so the extra base he was awarded on the error was home plate. The Nationals had another walk off win on an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth. This win was the Nationals tenth in a row. The only other team in the majors with a ten game winning streak this year is the Kansas City Royals.
Next Game: The Nationals start a three game series against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on Friday, August 22nd. Game time is 7:05 p.m. EST. The Nationals will have a tough assignment to get their eleventh in a row because Tim Hudson (8-9, 3.03 ERA) is the starting pitcher for the Giants and the Nationals traditionally have a hard time beating Hudson. Doug Fister (12-3, 2.20 ERA) is pitching for the Nationals.