Washington Nationals Recap: Jayson Werth’s 8th Inning Triple Helps Stephen Strasburg Get Win Over Rockies
By Ricky Keeler
For seven innings, the Washington Nationals (60-59) were not able to take advantage of the free passes that the Rockies’ pitching was giving them. Then, in the eighth inning, Jayson Werth finally made the Colorado Rockies (48-70) pay with a two-run triple to right to put the Nationals ahead for good. Thanks to Werth’s triple, Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 4.22 ERA) was able to get the win as he put up a dominant performance, giving up one run on two hits over seven innings. Due to the Mets loss in Baltimore and the Nats’ 4-1 win, Washington is now 3.5 games behind New York in the NL East.
The Rockies were able to get on the board first in the bottom of the second without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Ben Paulsen hit a ground ball to first that went under Ryan Zimmerman‘s glove and into right field. Paulsen would end up going to second on the play. Two batters later, with Paulsen on third, Strasburg threw a breaking ball in the dirt that got away from Wilson Ramos. Ramos would have plenty of time to make a throw home, but the throw was wild and the Rockies took a 1-0 lead.
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For the first six innings, the Nationals were given chances to drive in runs, but they could not get on the scoreboard against Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa gave up four hits, but he walked six batters over six innings. De La Rosa had six of the Rockies’ nine walks tonight. Despite those free passes, the Nats came up empty on the scoreboard.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning, Ramos lined out to Jose Reyes and Strasburg, who stayed in the game, struck out swinging to end the inning. While Strasburg didn’t get it done at the plate, he was dominant on the mound tonight. The Nats’ right-hander went seven innings, gave up one run (no earned run) on two hits, struck out five, and did not walk a batter on 93 pitches (68 strikes) in the victory.
In the top of the seventh, the Nats would tie it up against reliever Gonzalez Germen. With two outs, Bryce Harper hit a double and Yunel Escobar and Ian Desmond drew walks to load the bases. With Zimmerman up, Germen threw a wild pitch that allowed Harper to score, but Escobar was caught in between third and home to end the inning.
The Nationals would work another two out rally in the following inning. Ramos singled to right and Clint Robinson, who was pinch-hitting for Strasburg, drew a walk against Rafael Betancourt (2-4, 6.27). That set the stage for Werth, who delivered the game-winning hit with a two run-triple to right to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.
After Casey Janssen threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning on seven pitches, the Nationals would add one more run in the ninth against John Axford. Escobar would single to right with one out. He would steal second, advance to third on a sac fly by Desmond, and then come home on a base hit to right by Zimmerman. With that RBI single, the Nats took a 4-1 lead.
In a rare save opportunity, Jonathan Papelbon retired the Rockies in order in the bottom of the ninth on nine pitches (eight strikes) to record his 20th save and his third as a National (first one since August 4).
Next Game: The Washington Nationals will look for the sweep of the three game series tomorrow night against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. You can catch the game at 8:40 PM ET on MASN2. Max Scherzer (11-9, 2.73) gets the start for the Nats against Yohan Flande (2-1, 4.19) for the Rockies.