The Washington Nationals might as well change their nickname to the Washington Walkoffs with all the last minute, down-to-the-wire wins they’ve accumulated this season (12 in total). Davey Johnson and his boys in red, white and blue beat the last place Houston Astros 4-3 in 11 innings Friday night at Nationals Park in front of the thin crowd who stuck it out until the end.
Starting pitcher and recent call-up Tommy Milone pitched an effective game. The young gun has yet to issue a walk in his two career starts in the big leagues and isn’t afraid to throw inside on right-handed batters as a south paw.
Washington scored early creating a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Rick Ankiel scored on a homerun hit by Ryan Zimmerman, his eleventh of the season, after drawing a one out walk. Houston trickled back to tie the game at two a piece after scoring a couple runs until they eventually took the lead in the sixth.
Astros first baseman Carlos Lee leadoff with a double in the sixth and scored off a single hit by shortstop Clint Barmes (2-for-4). That lead stuck around for eight at-bats until the Nats tied the game back up 3-3 in the seventh. Danny Espinosa drew a one out walk and moved all the way to third after Houston’s starting pitcher Bud Norris made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first. Once Espinosa got to third during first baseman Chris Marrero’s at-bat, Marrero proceeded to hit an RBI-double.
For as efficient as the Nats bullpen remained after Milone’s exit in the sixth inning, the Nats offense remained sporadic all night. Relievers Craig Stammen, Henry Rodriguez, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard did their jobs and pitched a collection of clean frames but the offense couldn’t muster the same.
When it came down it, though, Washington solidified the win in the 11th inning when Ryan Zimmermand and Michael Morse drew back-to-back walks with one out. Jayson Werth followed those walks with a single that the Astros’ third baseman Chris Johnson could not make a play on. His error was the Nationals gain and Zimmerman scored to win it.