It was a hot and humid one in D.C. on Wednesday night but the Washington Nationals braved the swamp-like elements to complete a three game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 4-3 victory. Starting pitcher, right-hander Doug Fister had just one blemish on an otherwise efficient outing which came in the form of a three-run homerun in the second inning for the Rockies.
“[It] was a constant battle all night,” Fister said. “[The keys were] guys played defense. They came out and played well, sacrificed a lot whether it was diving or just sacrificing themselves to make a play. That was big.”
Fister pitched seven innings and struck out five batters while giving up seven hits and three run. He threw 80 pitches, 56 strikes on the night.
Washington tied the game up in the fourth inning making it a 3-3 game with time to still secure a win. Outfielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run homerun off the Rockies’ starting rookie pitcher, left-hander Tyler Matzek with nobody out. Then, with two-out, outfielder Bryce Harper landed in scoring position thanks to a hard-hit double off Matzek. Shortstop Ian Desmond followed Harper in the batting order and watched as Harper took third base on a wild pitch. Then, Harper scored on a RBI-single hit by Desmond to tie up the game.
Desmond came through with a big clutch hit again in the seventh inning when a questionable homerun gave the Nats their 4-3 lead over Colorado. The Rockies had just replaced Matzek with right-handed reliever Matt Belisle and Desmond took advantage of that situation. He crushed a ball that bounced in such a way off the silver railing in right-center field that the chief crew took the play under review.
After the crew determined the hit was in fact a homerun and not a triple, Desmond trotted his way toward home knowing he gave his team the lead.
“[The season’s] been a grind,” Desmond said, “but I want to be that example, you know, like ‘Hey, you can fight back’ and I’ve done it before and I hope to do it again this year.”
Thanks to Desmond’s timely clutch hitting, Washington was able to finish Colorado off with their desired eighth and ninth inning pitching selections. Right-handed relievers Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano got the call and finished out the night with a collective of three strike outs, one walk, and two hits. Soriano had a pair of base runners with two out after walking Colorado catcher Michael McKenry and giving up a single to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, but managed to secure his twentieth save of the season and wrap up the sweep for Washington.
“He’s a guy that you know he’s going to be ready every day whether we’re playing a double-header, [it] doesn’t matter, he’s ready for every game and no matter what it comes down to we’ve got confidence in his abilities and what he does and know that he’s going to get out there and get the job done,” Fister said of Soriano, and that’s exactly what he did.
The Nats proceeded to beat Coloraro 4-3 and complete the series sweep before taking Thursday off and coming back on Friday for a Fourth of July match-up against the Chicago Cubs.