Dusty betters last year with win #96 on a De Aza walk-off!

“The Firm” by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

In a strange development, the previously always perfect Sean Doolittle was imperfect tonight in his first appearance after his birthday when he suffered a blown save. The good news is that Dooo kept it at a tie in the top of the 9th inning to give his team a chance to win, and the Nationals walked-it-off in the bottom of the 9th inning to win it on an Alejandro De Aza single.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, lead-off batter Anthony Rendon singled which was followed by a Daniel Murphy single. Rendon was able to motor around second base to get to 3rd base. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to pitch to Alejandro De Aza with no outs instead of walking him with bases loaded and RBI machine Adam Lind in the on-deck circle. De Aza was able to pull a ball just past the first baseman down the line for the walk-off winner.

Edwin Jackson started the game and was wildly effective going 6 innings while only giving up 2 runs. On this night, EJax was throwing his fastest velo of the season throwing 4 pitches above 97 mph including one heater at 98.1 mph according to the official radar gun. Jackson departed in a tie game and received a no-decision. Brandon Kintlzer pitched a perfect top of the 7th inning and the Nationals scored 2-runs in the bottom of the 7th inning on RBIs by Adam Lind and Alejandro De Aza. Ryan Madson also had a perfect 8th inning to get it to Sean Doolittle for the 9th inning.

The win was the Nationals 96th of the season which is one more than the Nationals had last year. The Nationals have three games remaining this weekend to better that mark!

News after the game was that Howie Kendrick had a tight hamstring and for precautionary reasons he was removed from the game.

All Nats who played the full game reached base safely via a hit or walk. Wilmer Difo had 2 hits in the game, Alejandro De Aza also had 2 hits, and Daniel Murphy had 3 hits. Anthony Rendon only had 1 hit but had 3 walks in the game.

We learned after the game that Edwin Jackson was pitching with a heavy heart after his grandmother had passed away a few days earlier. In addition, Jackson was pitching with the knowledge that this was possibly his last start as a Washington National and also with an uncertain future.

“[Edwin Jackson] threw the ball great tonight,” Dusty Baker said. “Other than that walk to the eighth hitter, which started their rally, he threw the ball well tonight.”

Jackson was victimized by a walk to the Pirates number eight hitter Max Moroff on 4 pitches as he scored from second base easily on a Chris Bostick hit to centerfield. The hit was turned into a double as Michael Taylor seemed to slow up the last 10 feet before picking up the ball, and Taylor inexplicably turned and looked towards 3rd base which we are not sure why and that caused him to yank a poor throw to 2nd base as Bostick took the extra bag on him. The next batter then got an RBI single because Bostick was in scoring position. If Bostick had not advanced then the second run on Jackson’s ledger would not have scored.

Technique, hustle, and knowing where you are throwing the ball to is important as you will see in this freeze frame (below). This happened twice to Taylor in the Dodgers series as they were taking extra bases.

Screengrab photo from Pirates ATT Sportsnet video

On stock rising, Adam Lind continues on his torrid pace of driving in runs. In this game, he pulled an 18-hopper to the 2nd baseman to score a run on a productive out for an RBI and also had a sacrifice fly RBI to bring his total up to 59 for the season. Lind has accomplished this RBI total in only 263 at-bats bringing his AB/RBI ratio to a team’s best to 4.46.

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