The Washington Nationals racked up another one-run win in a game where Michael Taylor threw-out a runner at home to keep the game tied at 1-to-1 then in the bottom of the 9th inning cranked a long double off the centerfield wall to send Juan Soto home to walk-off this win by a final score of 2-to-1. Video here.
With Jeremy Hellickson and Eric Lauer tied up in a pitcher’s duel of one-run ball, it was up to the bullpens and if a mistake was made — it could be the difference in the game and it was. The Padres third baseman bobbled a 9th inning groundball which was a tailor-made doubleplay ball allowing Juan Soto to scamper to 2nd base with one out and set up the 9th inning walk-off. With a 2 strike count on Michael Taylor he hit a foul ball that first baseman Eric Hosmer couldn’t corral giving Michael Taylor second life and he pounced and took advantage.
“Like a weight was being lifted off,” Taylor said. “It’s been a rough stretch for me. I took a deep breath. I’ve been waiting to have something turn for me.”
It is amazing how fast you can go from zero to hero in the game of baseball.
Michael Taylor was 0-3 and batting .185 before that double to win the game, and in the 6th inning Taylor threw a 98mph missile to throw out a Padre at home for the defensive play of the game.
“It was huge, not just for Michael but for our team,” manager Dave Martinez said. “For him to get a big hit like that for us and the big defensive play was huge.”
Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson replicated what he has done in his previous 6 starts with being stingy with giving up runs. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game in the 6th inning with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. For Hellickson’s great effort, he got another no-decision while lowering his ERA to 2.13. He still was happy to sing praise about his teammate.
“You save a run in the field, and hit the game winner,” Hellickson said. “Can’t have a better game than that.”
The Nationals scored their other run on a Bryce Harper blast that tied the game in the 5th inning at the 1-1 score.
The Nationals had their chances in this game as they had 5 other scoring opportunities but could not cash in earlier in the game. Better late than never.
Also to mention, Juan Soto worked 3 walks to go with a single as the Padres did not want to put anything over the plate to him in 3 of his 4 at-bats. Soto worked the lead-off walk to start that 9th inning and scored the game winning run. He did not chase a pitch in the dozen balls he saw in 3 at-bats where he walked each time on 4 pitches near the zone. Read the fourth paragraph in that article from March 12th as that will foreshadow an advanced unselfish approach that Soto showed. In the one at-bat today where Soto saw two pitches in the zone, he laced a single.
Man, you hit one HR in your first start and all the sudden you're getting the Barry Bonds treatment. pic.twitter.com/DS4dBtED9d
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 23, 2018
Every position player except for Wilmer Difo and Pedro Severino had hits in the game, but both players were solid on defense. Severino made that great tag on the throw to the plate from Taylor and also threw-out Jankowski who was previously a perfect 7-for-7 in steal attempts this season until Sevi threw him out trying to steal second base.
It was Wander Suero who pitched the remainder of the 6th and 7th innings, and Brandon Kintzler pitched the 8th and Sean Doolittle for the perfect 9th which earned him the win. The bullpen did its job on this day pitching a 3 2/3 inning shutout.