After suffering a demoralizing sweep at the hands of the Mets over the weekend and a painful loss to the Diamondbacks last night, the Washington Nationals snapped their four-game losing streak with a dramatic, 5-4 victory over Arizona late Tuesday night.
Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos—in the midst of one of the worst offensive seasons of his career—came through with a clutch hit for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Nationals entered the inning in a 3-3 tie with the D-backs, but they mounted the late-inning rally they’d been looking for for several days to take a decisive lead.
Ryan Zimmerman got the rally started for the Nationals by taking a four-pitch walk from Arizona reliever David Hernandez. Jayson Werth then followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position for the Nationals, but Ian Desmond grounded out and failed to drive in the runs. Fortunately for the Nationals, the Buffalo came through. With two strikes, the Nationals’ catcher connected on an 82 mph curveball and hit it the other way for a two-run single.
It was a huge hit for Ramos and a key moment in the game for the Nationals, who had been unable to score against Arizona pitching since the first inning.
Hours before Ramos’ heroics, however, the Nationals’ offense had put an important crooked number on the board in the bottom of the first inning.
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Yunel Escobar got the scoring started for the Nationals with a solo home run to center field. Washington scored two more runs later in the inning on an RBI single by Zimmerman and an RBI groundout by Werth, giving them a 3-0 lead.
With starter Max Scherzer on the mound, scoring three runs in the first inning is usually enough to secure a win for the Nationals. Unfortunately for Washington, one bad inning from Scherzer made the game far more interesting than they would’ve liked.
After cruising through three innings, Scherzer allowed three runs in the top of the fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the scoring started with an RBI single to make it a 3-1 game. Chris Owings tied the game later in the inning with a two-run single.
On the night, Scherzer allowed three runs on four hits over six innings of work. He struck out nine batters but struggled with his command at times and walked three.
After Scherzer left the game, the Nationals’ bullpen turned in three scoreless innings of work. Casey Janssen retired the D-backs in order in the seventh. Drew Storen was his usual, dominant self in the eighth, retiring Arizona in order while throwing all nine of his pitches for strikes.
The Diamondbacks made it interesting in the ninth inning, after a throwing error by Escobar allowed a run to score and put the tying run in scoring position for Arizona. But Nationals’ closer Jonathan Papelbon bailed Escobar out and retired the last batter to secure the 5-4 win for the Nationals with his 19th save of the season.
Next Game: After snapping a four-game losing streak Tuesday night, the Nationals look to start a winning streak tomorrow night as they continue their four-game series against Arizona. Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nats, while Rubby De La Rosa takes the mound for the D-backs. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.