courtesy of muohace_dc
When Xavier Nady entered in the 8th inning of Friday night’s contest between the Nats and Reds it looked like the hard luck loser of the Nationals pitching staff, Jordan Zimmermann, was headed for another hard luck loss. The Nationals had scored nothing for Zimmermann as he pitched seven strong innings giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks with 3 strike outs. Nady would have none of it however as he rocketed a pitch over the wall of the Reds bullpen 377 feet away.
Nady’s entrance into the game was a lesson in managing 101 from Davey Johnson to Dusty Baker. With 1 out in the 8th inning Davey inserted Chad Tracy to face Bronson Arroyo. Wary of the lefty on righty match-up Dusty lifted Arroyo for former Nat Billy Bray who wouldn’t throw a pitch to Tracy as Davey immediately countered with Nady who made Dusty pay for not keeping up with the thought process of Johnson.
With the game tied chances would present themselves and both the Reds and Nationals would find ways to squander them. In the top of the 12th inning against Tom Gorzelanny Ryan Ludwick would lead-off with a double. The Reds would then send a pinch hitter Zach Cozart in to bunt. Cozart could not get the bunt down as he popped out to Wilson Ramos. Gorzelanny would then walk Hannigan before striking out Heisey and Stubbs to end the frame.
It was then the Nationals turn to bat and they would end up with just as much opportunity as the Reds. With 1 out Roger Bernadina would walk and steal second. Ramos would then hit what should have been a standard groundout to the shortstop, but Bernadina was in motion before Ramos swung and therefore didn’t just get to third and hope for a wild pitch. He tried to round third and head for home. When Cozart saw this he gunned the ball to third and Bernadina froze, turned and ran towards home, then back to third, and back home before being tagged out. And while Bernadina was doing all this running Ramos had ended up on third.
There were now two outs in the inning and although many of the fans had made their way through the exits that didn’t stop those that remained from audibly chanting for a wild pitch from Alfredo Simon. With the chants of wild pitch in the air and a 2-2 count on Lombardozzi Simon panted the inside corner and Lombo was called out on strikes.
This being Friday and 13th it is fitting that this game went into the 13th and it is fitting that Craig Stammen was the pitcher to start the 13th as he had carved up the Reds line-up the day before on just 10 pitches. Tonight he wouldn’t do quite that well as he would get Valdez to strike out on 4 pitches before giving up a single to Votto and then getting Rolen on 5 pitches and pinch hitter Brandon Phillips on 6. Stammen was once again marvelous and has now recorded his last six outs all via the strikeout.
For the bottom of the 13th the Reds would send Sean Marshall to the mound and he would not be sharp. After getting Desmond to ground out Espinosa would single and Zimmerman and LaRoche would walk setting up the final at bat of the game for much maligned Jayson Werth. With the infield and outfield drawn in Werth wasn’t to be denied in what was his third chance to walk this game off. With a 1-2 count Marshall threw Werth a curveball and he drove it back up the middle to score Espinosa from third and send the remaining Nats fans home happy with a 2-1 victory that sent the Nationals to 6-2 on the season.