The boos of Philadelphia Phillies fans targeted toward Jayson Werth didn’t stop the Washington Nationals from winning Tuesday night’s game 7-4. Division rivalry aside, the Nationals had to prove they could handle one of Major League Baseball’s best teams on a night where their men in the corners were sidelined with stints on the disabled list.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and first baseman Adam LaRoche were out with an abdominal strain and left groin strain/labrum tear respectively. That means the gold glove caliber defense and slugging abilities were something the rest of Manager Jim Riggleman’s lineup would have to tend to.
“[Zimmerman’s] a great player. He’s not just a really good hitter, he’s a good baseball player. He runs the bases, he’s smart and he plays defense,” Riggleman said, “but if we’re not going to have him in there it was nice to have a few extra left handed bats […] we got a lot of contributions.”
Washington’s newest utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr. started at third while Matt Stairs started at first.
Right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez threw 98 pitches, 69 for strikes, in an outing that lasted through the seventh inning. Hernandez pitched his way into a bases loaded jam during the seventh that right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard got him out of. Clippard zipped a high 94-mph fastball past Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino to end the seventh.
Clippard struggled when he returned to the mound in the eighth, with the Phillies loading the bases in back-to-back innings, but Riggleman pulled Clippard in favor of left-hander Sean Burnett. Burnett went on to record his third save of the season.
Wilson Ramos (2 H, 1BB) and Werth (2 H, 1 BB, 1 HR) came through on offense but it was the Nats explosive fourth inning rally before Werth’s fifth inning solo shot off Phillies right-handed starter Joe Blanton – Werth’s first homerun against his former team – that pushed the Nats toward the 7-4 victory.
- Leadoff man Ian Desmond still isn’t doing much in the role. The Nationals’ shortstop went 0-for-5.
- Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett’s scoreless inning streak was snapped by an RBI-single by Placido Polanco just, ending the streak at 22 2/3 IP. That is the longest scoreless inning streak in the Nationals’ team history.
- Starting pitcher Livan Hernandez laid down a successful squeeze bunt off Phillies starter Joe Blanton during the Nationals three-run rally in the fourth.