Moments That Mattered: Ninth-Inning Heroics Bail Out Other Eight Innings



Jayson Werth returned to the Nats lineup today to much fanfare. He was heralded as a savior and looks the part, but he did not invigorate the offense. Instead, the Nats managed just four hits in seven innings off the pedestrian Jeremy Hefner. However, something was different. Trailing 2-1 in the ninth, the Nationals were finally able to string hits together for what feels like the first time in forever and walked off for the first time this season. Werth brings a presence both on offense and in the locker room, both of which the Nats desperately need. They flashed the attitude and a tiny bit of the offense today in the ninth, and to build on that would be the first step in returning to playoff contention.

Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s double (+24.3%)

June 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) tags out Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) at home in the ninth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

To kick off the comeback, Zimmerman put himself in scoring position with no outs by mashing a leadoff double off Mets closer Bobby Parnell. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an Adam LaRoche single that knotted the game at 2. After that, an Ian Desmond double put LaRoche on third and Steve Lombardozzi‘s sacrifice fly gave the Nationals the dramatic victory.

Most Important Nationals Pitch: Omar Quintanilla‘s two-run triple (-27.3%)

With one out in the fifth and a runner on first, Rick Ankiel (yes, he’s still playing) grounded into a fielder’s choice, but LaRoche committed a throwing error attempting to get the runner at second and put two runners on with one out as opposed to one on with two out. The next batter was the pitcher Hefner, who sacrifice bunted to move both runners over and make any subsequent runs unearned. Quintanilla took advantage, driving in them both. Zimmermann was excellent besides allowing these unearned runs (as all Nats pitchers do), with eight innings in which he allowed just four hits and no earned runs.

Champ of the Game: Zimmerman (+28.7%) was just 1-4, but his critical double and run scored won the Nationals the game. New York’s Quintanilla (+32.3%) was great overall, going 2-3 with a walk, including his team’s only RBI hit.

Chump of the Game: Kurt Suzuki (-7.7%) did nothing egregiously wrong, but was 0-3 when every other position player except Roger Bernadina got a hit. Obviously for the Mets, Parnell (-81.5%) blew the save and recorded only one out, that being on the sacrifice fly that won the game.