With bases loaded in the top of the first inning and a run already in on a Giancarlo Stanton home run, Edwin Jackson was struggling. Tomas Telis stepped in as the 7th man to bat in the inning and a chance to blow the game wide open. Telis hit a soft liner in the hole between 3rd base and shortstop and Trea Turner ranged to his right and dove and caught the ball saving 2-runs. That’s how the game started.
It took Trea Turner less than an inning to get his uniform dirty. pic.twitter.com/cBkhyH63Bq
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 29, 2017
Edwin Jackson bounced back for a strong second, third and fourth innings, and EJax finished the game giving up 3 runs of which 2 were earned. The Marlins starting pitcher, Vance Worley, had dominated the Nationals and on this night the script was flipped as the Nationals knocked Worley out in the middle of the 5th inning and a 5-to-2 Nationals lead. That score held until a tense top of the 7th inning.
Dusty Baker allowed Edwin Jackson to come out to face the bottom of the Marlins order in the 7th inning at a 92-pitch count and their #8 hitter who led off with a single. Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly then pinch-hit with lefty Ichiro Suzuki. That move was not countered as Dusty Baker did not have a lefty reliever up in his bullpen. Suzuki singled putting men on 1st and 2nd base with Dee Gordon stepping in to the batter’s box and Giancarlo Stanton on-deck. Matt Albers and Oliver Perez were both warming-up at this point.
Gordon bunted right back to Edwin Jackson, and unfortunately Jackson threw the ball away scoring a runner and putting men on 3rd and 2nd base. The Nats lead was cut to 5-to-3 and the ballgame was on the line right here.
Dusty Baker intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton to load the bases and brought in Oliver Perez to face the lefty Christian Yelich in the 5-to-3 game. Perez in the 2-strike count got Yelich to ground to Anthony Rendon who threw out the runner easily at the plate. With one out and bases still loaded, Dusty Baker brought in Matt Albers to face All-Star Marcel Ozuna and Albers struck him out looking. Albers then got the final out of the inning on an easy groundout on JT Realmuto.
The 7th inning was truly a “Houdini Act”. Only 1-run scored and that turned out to be an unearned run. The Nationals then went on the attack in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2-outs. Daniel Murphy hit a double, followed by a Ryan Zimmerman walk, an Adam Lind walk to load the bases then an Anthony Rendon bases clearing double in the right-centerfield gap. That double was the 4th RBI on the night for Anthony Rendon who moved up to 85 RBI’s on the season.
“Anthony [Rendon] had a great game,” Dusty Baker said. “A great clutch game. The two-out [3 RBI] double and the two-out [RBI] single.”
Every Nats starter had at least one-hit tonight. Trea Turner was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters each had 2-hits apiece in this game.
The Nationals won this game 8-to-3 but it was a lot closer than the final score would tell you. More importantly the Nationals can now start counting down Magic numbers which is now at #18. The Nationals lead is at 14.0 games in the NL East with 31 games remaining in the season as the Nationals are now at a season’s best 29 games over .500 at an 80-51 record.
“It’s nice to be in that line-up and fun when we’re clicking,” Trea Turner said.
— Andrew Ross (@drazthegr8) August 29, 2017
“[Trea] looked pretty good actually,” Dusty Baker said. “Took some close pitches. He saw a lot of pitches which will help his timing. He played flawless defense at shortstop.”
Trea Turner’s impact was certainly felt on defense and offense. Having Trea Turner back gives Dusty Baker a chance to now play Wilmer Difo in several different positions so players can get some rest. Difo made his debut in rightfield tonight.
“[Difo] looked pretty good,” Dusty Baker said. “Other than that Willie Mays catch kind of scared us. But the first time he has been out there. We are going to work him everywhere. Like I told him, he is going to kind of be like my 6th man in basketball.”