Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Nationals win their third in a row by one run defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4 and taking the four game series. Of the Nats last ten victories, all have been one run games or have gone into extra innings.
After the game Davey Johnson said, “I don’t think I’ve ever squeezed” referring to the squeeze bunt he called in the seventh that almost ended up in disaster. Wilson Ramos was batting with Michael Morse at third in a 4-4 game and only one out when Davey Johnson went to the squeeze play in which he thinks he called for the first time in his career.
It happens so rarely Ramos wasn’t ready for it and missed the sign. Morse, who said he was “surprised” when he saw the sign, was running down the third base line expecting a squeeze and Ramos swung, luckily fouling the ball to the backstop. Morse kind of ducked his head when he saw the swing and both knew how lucky they were nobody got hurt. The next pitch was a ball and Ramos took, but for the third pitch Johnson decided to go right back to the squeeze. This time Ramos saw the sign and it worked to perfection scoring Morse and giving the Nats a 5-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Both players after the game talked about the incident and Ramos said he saw Morse running down the line and fouled it off. Michael Morse said, “that was a first, man it was scary, but you know what, in the end it worked out, he got the bunt down, it was a great squeeze.”
Tom Gorzelanny pitched well in a no decision, lasting six innings, giving up seven hits and four runs, but striking out six. The four runs he gave up both came on two run shots, one by Carlos Pena in the second and one by Aramis Ramirez in the sixth. Gorzelanny kept Roger Bernadina busy in center field as Gorzelanny used the whole field tonight and Bernadina made a couple great catches on the fence.
The Nationals bullpen did another solid job. Ryan Matheus, Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen went combined three innings of one hit ball and striking out four. Matheus raised his record to 2-0, Rodriguez got his fifth hold and Storen nailed his 22nd save.
The Nationals offense continues to roll as Ryan Zimmerman continues his positive progress going 3 for 4 with a double and nailing a two run shot which was his fourth of the season. For Zimmerman that’s his first three hit game since last September. Danny Espinosa got the scoring going hitting a two run bomb into the Nationals bullpen in the bottom of the first. With his 16th home run of the season, Espinosa leads all rookies in homers, RBI and extra base hits while leading all National League second baseman in home runs. Michael Morse went two for four with a double and raised his average to .301.
Jayson Werth continues to struggle going 0 for 4 and he heard the boo birds loud and clear, but he had a long fly ball in the seventh inning that moved Morse from second to third that ended up being the game winning run. Werth batted sixth for the first time this season.
The Nationals and Cubs play their final of four tomorrow at 7:05 from Nationals Park and you can hear the game on 106.7 The FAN. For the Nationals they will send Livan Hernandez (5-8, 3.73 ERA) against the Cubs Matt Garza (4-7, 3.77 ERA). The Nationals are 45-43 on the season, but still seven games behind the Braves in the National League wild card picture.
Check out what Davey Johnson, Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos had to say following the win.
Davey Johnson Postgame Audio
Tom Gorzelanny Postgame Audio
Ryan Zimmerman Postgame Audio
Michael Morse Postgame Audio
Drew Storen Postgame Audio
Wilson Ramos Postgame Audio