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Nats 6, Marlins 4: Desmond, Escobar key late rally

May 4, 2015, 9:47 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: On the heels of an eventful, 10-game road trip that ended on a high note, the Nationals were right back at the park Monday night to open a 6-game homestand, with another surging division rival in town. What transpired was another taut, low-scoring affair that was decided late.

As has been the case too often this season, the eighth inning appeared to be the Nationals’ downfall yet again. But then came an impressive counter-punch that flipped the script entirely.

After tying the game in the bottom of the seventh on Jayson Werth’s 2-out RBI single, the Nats gave two runs back to the Marlins during a rally that began with a Dee Gordon leadoff walk against Blake Treinen. Treinen did record a pair of strikeouts to put his team on the verge of escaping the jam, but rookie Matt Grace surrendered a 2-out single to pinch-hitter Jeff Baker, with Gordon scoring ahead of Bryce Harper’s one-hop throw to the plate, which was dropped by Wilson Ramos.

The Nationals, though, struck right back in the bottom of the inning when Ian Desmond launched a first-pitch fastball from Bryan Morris into the batter’s eye in center field, tying this game at 4 and earning a curtain call from the appreciative crowd of 24,731. Then after hits by Tyler Moore and Denard Span, Yunel Escobar delivered his fifth hit of the night, this one a 2-run single that gave the Nats the lead.

Up 2 runs in the ninth, the Nationals had to make an on-the-fly adjustment. With Drew Storen and Aaron Barrett unavailable after pitching three of the last four days, Tanner Roark was summoned for the first save opportunity of his career. And the right-hander came through, striking out Giancarlo Stanton on a 3-2 slider to end it.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: What a revelation Escobar has been for the Nationals. He was touted for his ability to put the bat on the ball, and he has done that to perfection so far this season, never better than he did Monday night. With a 5-for-5 performance at the plate, the veteran infielder delivered five singles, in a variety of styles. He pulled base hits to left field, he went the other way on hit-and-runs. And with the game on the line in the eighth, he again went the other way off Morris, lining his big single to right that put the Nats ahead for the first time in the game.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: After some inconsistent starts over the last month, Jordan Zimmermann was pretty much back to his old self in this game. He had command of all four of his pitches, he worked fast, he got quick outs and he didn’t walk a batter over seven strong innings. The first run Zimmermann allowed wasn’t his fault — Werth’s error set the stage for it to score — but he did make a mistake on his seventh-inning fastball to Justin Bour, resulting in the go-ahead homer. Still, Zimmermann pitched plenty well enough to earn a win. Unfortunately, Matt Williams had no choice but to pull him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, despite a pitch count of only 81.

KEY STAT: During his 20-game streak reaching base, Bryce Harper owns a .460 on-base percentage.

UP NEXT: Tuesday night’s game features Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60) trying to bounce back after a rough start in Miami last weekend, with Mat Latos (0-3, 6.86) trying to duplicate his strong outing against the Nats in that previous series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - May 4, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    That should count as two saves.

  2. Drew - May 4, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    Wow. Big win against another good division rival.

    GYFNG!

  3. Danny - May 4, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    Now that was a fun, quality win.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 4, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Excellent game…. such fun… and that sequence from Tanner/Ramos on Stanton…. wowzers…

    Got him swinging… beautiful pitching…

    What a night Escobar… what a night…

  5. AlexandriaNatFan - May 4, 2015 at 9:51 PM

    Tanner = Guts.

    Esco = Clutch.

  6. nattygoats - May 4, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Great job. Minus Blake. He has to go down. But great win.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Nats 3 1/2 behind the Mets. Just sayin’

  8. David Proctor - May 4, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Great win. Some sloppy defense again. Both easy plays and tough plays. But they pulled it out and that’s what matters. Escobar 5/5. Even with the bullpen having issues, 3 years of Escobar for 1 year of Clippard is an absolute no-brainer. He’s been fantastic.

    I remain unconvinced by Treinen. He’s giving up runs literally every game he enters. He’s had some bad luck (Werth’s misplay), but he just doesn’t have the command and gives up too many hits. He did show a very nice slider today, but when Janssen comes back, you have to consider Treinen being the corresponding move. It’ll probably be Solis or Grace though.

    Still, great win.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

      Mixed bag defense. Some nice plays Denard and Desi and Bryce. Werth with the E7 and Espinosa just not making the plays that have the higher degree of difficulty.

      • David Proctor - May 4, 2015 at 10:02 PM

        You’re right, I forgot about Denard’s great catch. He really went a long way for that and took a perfect route. Three drops were big stories until the offense woke up in the 8th. Werth dropped it, Espinosa dropped it and Ramos dropped it. I’m almost surprised when Ramos actually catches those throws now, he’s struggled with it for so long. But they got the W.

        And how about Roark? Great job by him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:09 PM

        Ramos probably doesn’t get Gordon going low and wide but it would have been fun to see him swipe tag. Any slower runner and Bryce gets more time to get the ball there and Ramos could set up better.

  9. sjm308 - May 4, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    Guess after an 8+ hour plane trip back home, this was a pretty good welcome home gift.
    My body clock tells me its 4 in the morning but Nationals Win!!!!

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    If Papelbon finishes off the Barves, Nats move into sole possession of 2nd place and 3.5 behind the Metts.

  11. TimDz - May 4, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    That sequence to Stanton is the blue print of how to pitch him….that was masterful….

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      Let’s not get too carried away.. Roark went 3-0 and then threw a meatball. Luckily Stanton was taking all the way on 3-0. Then he threw 2 quality strikes for the K.

  12. Eric - May 4, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    “What gave you the confidence to go to Tanner in that spot?”

    “Really? He’s Tanner F’ing Roark, man!!!”

    🙂

  13. manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    Last 5 starts accumilitate

    IP 32.2
    H 29
    ER 4
    R 5
    BB 5
    K 33
    ERA 1.10

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    Oblique strain for Rendon.

    • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      And how long does that take? (Or is that a silly question answered with the obvious ‘it depends how bad”?)

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 4, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      Ouch.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      Escobar 10 days. Rendon probably more. Plus resting knee. I prefer him back close to 100% then second have season he can be real fresh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:12 PM

        I’m thinking the same. About another week to be 100% then back at it. Why would it take more than Escobar?

  15. Eric - May 4, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    Oblique strain for Rendon (per MW presser). Oof…

    But rest easy, Rendon, we got this!

  16. manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    Rendon rest 2 weeks before continuing baseball active

  17. adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Team RISP tonight: 3-for-8. Just sayin’

    • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      Up to .248

      • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:18 PM

        And their overall BA is .239 — meaning they do slightly better with RISP

        And while I’m on the subject — entering today’s play, the Nats are bottom five in BA and top five in runs scored. Meaning, they actually do make more productive use of their situations than other teams.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:27 PM

        We are near top in walks to have more base runners.

        Real problem mass majority of outs are not positive outs.

      • scmargenau - May 4, 2015 at 10:51 PM

        Wonk, 2 13 run gam s exaggerate the other 24 games. Look at that stat without those 2 games.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:15 PM

      Good comeback from the 1-5 RISP.

  18. Nats Fan Zee - May 4, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    And this is what 2nd place feels like 😀

    • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      As the theme song from the TV show The Jefferson’s would say, “moving on up , on the east side.”

  19. Eric - May 4, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    That curve Zinn threw to K Gordon was a masterpiece.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:17 PM

      He had it going tonight after that almost disastorous 1st inning after Werth’s E7. The pitch to Bour was credit to the batter. Needed it up a hair more but didn’t want to walk him and Bour just got enough and snuck it out.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:53 PM

        Watching King Felix, but was the Werth’s miss to routine to even comment?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:55 PM

        It just clanked off of Werth’s glove.

  20. Eric - May 4, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    As other’s have stated above, I remain skeptical of Treinen’s ability to harness his talent…but there was something different about him tonight after the two walks. He buckled down and made some pitches that I didn’t think he really had in him…

    Hope he can take the next step, because he could be nasty.

    • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:22 PM

      “He could be nasty” is exactly what some others see in him, and why he keeps getting trotted out. It’s definitely worth some hair raising moments and growing pains if he ends up panning out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        It has to be his warmup routine. While he had 2 walks, one was IBB.

      • scmargenau - May 4, 2015 at 10:54 PM

        He should be relegated to low leverage only. As DP said, he pretty much gives at least a run per outing.

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 7:24 AM

        Well . . . actually, only half the time.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    Barves lost. Nats in sole possession of 2nd place. 3 1/2 behind the Mets.

    • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      I owe you a beer, Ghost!

  22. adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    Braves actually did get the tying run up to the plate with 2 out in the ninth — but lost.

    So the Nats are now in sole possession of 2d place.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:29 PM

      Let’s win tomorrow, and hope O’s beat the Mets.

      • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:34 PM

        It’s a rare day that I’d ever root for those @#$n Oreos.

        But, tomorrow will be one of those days 😉

      • adcwonk - May 4, 2015 at 10:35 PM

        (to clarify — nothing against the team — in fact I *wish* I could root for them. But, alas, it’s the owner, his attempts to keep DC from ever getting a team, and now ripping us off via MASN)

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - May 4, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    “adcwonk – May 4, 2015 at 10:34 PM
    It’s a rare day that I’d ever root for those @#$n Oreos.

    But, tomorrow will be one of those days 😉

    adcwonk – May 4, 2015 at 10:35 PM
    (to clarify — nothing against the team — in fact I *wish* I could root for them. But, alas, it’s the owner, his attempts to keep DC from ever getting a team, and now ripping us off via MASN)”

    Ditto on everything.

  24. manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 10:50 PM

    As of now is it Trainan leaving when Janssen comes back?

  25. fstop1970 - May 4, 2015 at 11:02 PM

    The rest of the May schedule is not easy, but doable to be on the plus side of 500. The rest of the May schedule for the Mets could be brutal. We’ll see starting tomorrow night, but on June 1st, the Nats could be where we hoped they’d be, 1st place in the NL East.

  26. letswin3 - May 4, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    I keep on hoping that Wilson will somehow start holding onto those outfield throws.

    Great job by Roark, Escobar (he loves to go the other way) and Span.

    And it all started with that Simmons slide.

  27. manassasnatsfan - May 4, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    In watching the replay I noticed, though I failed to notice originally Desi did what he likes to do. Swinging at the first pitch. A hanging slider.

  28. therealjohnc - May 5, 2015 at 12:04 AM

    Seriously crossed the nerd streams tonight to try to break my personal 0-3 schneid at Nats Park this year. It was Star Wars Day, I wore a Star Fleet emblem on a Galaxy Quest shirt (“Never Give Up! Never Surrender!”). Got my Livo Bobblehead, sat with my brother in his seats in section 314 and bonded with a couple of fellow Queen fans. Stomped, clapped and cheered – and got a Curly W!

    May the Fourth be with us all …

  29. veejh - May 5, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    Treinen is entering into HRod territory. He needs to reign in his command, and now.

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