Two of the three Nats All-Stars came up big and a worthy All-Star snub named Anthony Rendon was most of the offense with two home runs and three RBIs. All-Star Max Scherzer went 7 innings giving up 3-runs and the only Nats positional player who is an All-Star, Bryce Harper, hit a 2-run home run for the much needed game winning RBI in this game. With All-Star closer Sean Doolittle on the DL, it was Ryan Madson who earned the save tonight with all three outs turned by Trea Turner on slick plays in the 9th inning. In this one-run game, it was the Nats who came up with the win. With all the great seasons Ryan Madson had in his career — he was never an All-Star.
“Focus on the ground ball to the last hitter,” Ryan Madson said on the doubleplay ball. “I got him with my sinker.”
The Nationals picked up a 1/2 game on the idle Atlanta Braves and kept up with the Phillies in the NL East. This game certainly became a nail-biter in the end as the 8th inning was given to Kelvin Herrera who gave up a home run to the second batter he faced and then walked two batters before retiring the last two batters of the inning for the “hold”.
“[Rendon] got the 2 home runs and the two out hit,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I told him — ‘complete ballplayer’.”
The Nats had 11-hits tonight and every batter had a hit except for last week’s Player of the Week, Mark Reynolds, who was 0-5 but at least he did not strand any runners. Harper was 1-for-5 with 2 strikeouts and at the right time in a 3-to-2 game, Bryce crushed a Jerry Blevins fastball 382 feet with a lofty 35° launch angle. Trea Turner got off the schneid in his final at-bat with a long double to deep centerfield.
The Nationals hit a lot of hard liners tonight that were right at fielders in much the way they did yesterday in Pittsburgh and the difference tonight was 3 balls over the fence for home runs scored all of the Nats runs.
The game started off real sketchy as a ball was hit into shallow centerfield and Michael Taylor slowed up and became a double that scored. It was very reminiscent of a ball in last year’s NLDS where the players all looked at each other. You’d think they learned but they did not. Luckily it didn’t factor into a Nats loss but it went on Scherzer’s ledger and never should have. It’s the “little things” and for a rare change it didn’t bite the Nats in this game. The rest of the game the Nats played crisp baseball and made the plays when they needed to.