The Nats blew the save but did not blow the game as Trea Turner sends 28,910 fans home happy on a walk-off 2-run blast! The Nats have their first 4-game winning streak of the season and have now won four consecutive series and nine of their last eleven games to get back to 5-games under .500. For Turner, he picked up his bullpen that blew a 3-run lead, and what should have been an Anibal Sanchez win. This was Trea Turner’s third career walk-off home run and his second of the season as he got the Nationals their first win of 2019. In a bit of history, Turner is the first shortstop since 2006 to have two walk-off home runs in the season and last accomplished by Carlos Guillen. Turner is also the first player in MLB this season with two walk-off hits, and he has done this in just 21-full games, and in 19 of those games he has been swinging with only nine fingers wrapped around the bat. That was Turner’s first home run since returning from the IL.
“Luckily got a good swing on the ball, and it got out,” Turner said.
Once you thought the Nationals bullpen was fixed, the 8th inning imploded once again. Kyle Barraclough threw a perfect 7th inning but came out for the 8th inning and gave up a 2-run blast to make the score 4-3 then Wander Suero gave up the game tying home run to Wellington Castillo who was batting in the upper 100’s for the blown save and a tie game. Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless ninth to give his team a chance for a walk-off win and it worked according to the script.
The Nationals beat the bad weather that is heading into Washington, D.C. as the team heads to their charter flight to San Diego for a four game series against the Padres. The Nats will then head back to face the White Sox for another two game series, but the next series will be in Chicago.
For Anibal Sanchez, he threw 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball and got himself out of a major bases loaded jam early with no outs with a strikeout and a nice line-drive doubleplay out by Anthony Rendon.
“What I feel is the fact that three weeks ago we probably lose that game, and we end up winning [today]. That’s how I feel,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Guys battled back. We lost the lead. They came back and we won the game. We aren’t going to win with three guys in the bullpen. I can tell you that. I didn’t want to use Suero today. … I credit the boys for coming back and Trea walking-them-off.”
Martinez admitted that he does not know how he will configure the bullpen tomorrow, and does not want to use Suero for the next two games. The Nats offense did not take advantage enough today, but it was good enough for a walk-off finish. Howie Kendrick had a game to forget going 0-4 while leaving 5 runners on-base. Besides Turner’s offense, Juan Soto was 3-4, and Kurt Suzuki and Matt Adams both had two hits each. While ruled an error, Gerardo Parra had a pinch-hitting appearance and made weak enough contact over the drawn-in infield to push across a run. The error was charged to Tim Anderson, but it was not a routine play. Parra once again made contact and helped his team.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria went to his closer for the 9th inning in a tie game on the road which goes against the managerial handbook of strategy. Alex Colome could not find the strike zone against Brian Dozier, and Colomè made the costly mistake of walking him to start the inning. Turner worked the count to 3-2 and got a high fastball (95 mph) to drive and smashed it to the back of the White Sox bullpen for the game ender.
“He throws so many sliders, when I originally went up to bat, it felt like I was looking for a slider kind of middle of the plate to hit,” Turner said. “Then he threw a bunch of ‘em as balls to Dozier and then threw me one and then started going to the fastball more and, the first time I faced him, it’s just a matter of seeing more pitches, not anything more than that, I guess.”
“We’ve played good baseball all year, we’ve just been on the losing side because of something stupid each game,” Turner said. “Stupid mistakes are starting to go away and we’re starting to play consistent and pitch when we need it — hit when we need it. We bailed our pitchers out today, but last week, they bailed us out. That’s what good teams do. When you need to score one more run than the other team, no matter when it is, I think we’ve been able to do that lately. That’s how you win.”
Next game: San Diego.