There are many things that good teams do well, and one of them is to make costly errors into minor mistakes. To turn a missed call that led to a run into a footnote. It looked as if the story of this game was going to be how Espinosa and Lombardozzi struggled with defense up the middle and how homeplate umpire, Mike Muchlinski, called a strike three swinging a foul ball when even Reyes was heading back to the dugout.
Reyes would end up drawing the walk and coming around to score after a Lombardozzi error and Donovan Solano sac bunt. The Nats were down though not due to a bad call, but because of their up the middle defense. In the second inning Jordan Zimmermann did the uncharacteristic and gave the Marlins two free baserunners on a hit by pitch and a walk. With one out Gorkys Hernandez hit a tailor made double play ball to Lombardozzi who tossed the ball to Espinosa at short who then tossed the ball into the seats. It was the first of two errors on Espinosa, and in total the errors by Lombardozzi and Espinosa would lead to three unearned run and one extra earned run due to the missed double play.
All of that is inconsequential. The Nats are a team that fights to the final out and when Mike Dunn opened a door by missing a play at first allowing LaRoche to reach base in the bottom of the 8th the Nats ran through. By the time the inning was over the Nats would send ten men to the and score six runs to turn a 6-4 loss into a 10-7 victory. After LaRoche reached base Werth would do his Werthian thing and draw a walk. Kurt Suzuki would strike out swinging trying to put the Nats ahead with a three run homer. Lombardozzi and Moore wouldn’t try that hard as they would both use short compact swings to hit singles that first brought the Nats within one and then tied the game.
Espinosa and Harper would then go back to back to add four more runs and send the game into the ninth with the Nats looking for the victory. For Espinosa it was a much needed clutch hit in a game that otherwise would have focused on his errors, but that is baseball. One minute a player is the goat of the game and by the time their next at bat end they are the hero. Just look no further than David Freese in game six of last season’s World Series for a similar circumstance. In past seasons the Nats had to play mistake free baseball in order to even have a chance to win, but now they have enough good players that a couple mistakes are just paving the way for a comeback.
This is who the Nats are and who they have been all season long. 19 different relievers have blown saves against the Nationals with Mike Dunn being the latest victim. The Nats have shown time and time again that they cannot be counted out. Just when it looks like they are down and have been defeated they comeback. It is important to remember that the Nats wouldn’t have been in the position to comeback if it wasn’t for the four runs they had already scored, and two of those runs were scored by Adam LaRoche who coming into this game had hit five homers in his last ten games. LaRoche has historically been a second half player and he is starting to show it in big time fashion.
The good thing about the Nats line-up is that now with Werth, Morse, Zimmerman, LaRoche, and Harper all playing together the Nats can be a very dangerous offense if any two of them are hot during the same stretch. This win is even more important for the Nationals as the Braves were getting too close for comfort and as the Nats were pulling off a comeback victory at in DC, Justin Maxwell was going 4-4 in Atlanta to help the Astros beat the Braves and give the Nats a three game division lead.