Rendon Delivers Big Hit. Nats Win Ninth Straight.


Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Entering tonight’s game, the Nationals had seen a little bit of everything during their eight-game winning streak: a blowout, three walk-off wins, blown leads and dramatic comebacks. On Wednesday, the Nats did a little bit of everything with great starting pitching, timely hitting, a blown save, and then a walk off win.

Sometimes winning your ninth in a row is a grind.

Anthony Redon pinch hit for Rafael Soriano (3-1) in the bottom of the ninth, driving in Bryce Harper for yet another walk off win. The Nats nine game winning streak is one shy of tying the team record of 10 set in 2005.

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The Nats got on the board early against Trevor Cahill when Wilson Ramos drove in Ian Desmond with a RBI groundout in the second. Harper, running hard from first, broke up a possible double-play with a hard slide into Arizona’s second baseman Aaron Hill. The Nats then scored an additional run in the sixth with back-to-back doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Jayson Werth.

The two runs were more than enough for Tanner Roark. Without being particularly dominant, Roark quieted the Diamondbacks’ bats with his ability to change speeds and locations, forcing easy fly balls and groundouts. Arizona threatened in the top of sixth, placing runners on the corners with one out, but Miguel Montero grounded back to Roark, starting a double-play that ended the inning and the threat. On the night, Roark tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out two.

Cahill’s night was over after 6 1/3. He allowed the two earned runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts.

Tyler Clippard started the eighth, and in his second straight appearance against Arizona he surrendered the game-tying home run. After a leadoff walk to Jordan Pacheco, Ender Inciarte drove a Clippard fastball over the right field wall. With one out, Drew Storen entered and recorded two outs to complete the inning.

Soriano earned some redemption by pitching a perfect ninth, striking out one. After his recent struggles, Soriano came off the field with an extra hop in his step and then earned the win with the late game heroics.

Harper led off the ninth with a single, moved to third on Kevin Frandsen’s single, and then scored on Rendon’s single past the diving Cliff Pennington at third.

Harper finished the night 3-for-4, his first three hit game since July 18 against Milwaukee. Frandsen went 2-for-3 with a walk. Adam LaRoche went 1-for-2 with 2 walks. Desmond stole his 16th base of the season.

With the Braves loss to the Pirates earlier in the night, the Nats are now up seven in the East. On Thursday the Nats go for the four-game sweep and their third series sweep in a row with Gio Gonzalez (6-9) pitching against Wade Miley (7-9).