Roger Bernadina has made some fantastic catches in his career with the Washington Nationals. This one might have topped them all.
With two out and two on in the bottom of the 12th inning, Brett Wallace drove a Tyler Clippard fastball to the deepest part of left center, toward the screen wall in front of the Nats bullpen, some 400 feet from home plate. Bernadina leaped at the last moment and, disappearing behind a column, snared the blast before crashing into the padded fence, securing the Nats 3-2 win over the Houston Astros in the process.
But words can’t do it justice. Watch the video below.
The Nats have won 14 of their last 19 games to extend their best-in-baseball record to 67-43. With Atlanta’s loss to Philadelphia, Washington now holds a four-game lead over the Braves in the division.
Bernadina’s catch ended a shaky 12th inning for Tyler Clippard, who earned his 23rd save of the season despite giving up a hit and a walk in the inning. It also made a winner of Drew Storen (1-0), who got two outs in the 11th inning, including a strikeout.
The game-winning run came courtesy of a booming double by Michael Morse half-way up “Tal’s Hill”, the silly incline is straight center field. The blast, at least 425 feet, would have been a home run in almost any other park in the Majors and it extended Morse’ hitting streak to 16 games. Cesar Izturis ran for Morse and took third on Bernadina’s sacrifice, and scored on Danny Espinosa’s single up the middle. Espinosa accounted for all three of the Nats runs, homering way back in the second inning with a runner aboard.
Ross Detwiler had another very strong performance, pitching seven innings of three-hit ball, with just two walks. He gave up a two-run home run in the first inning to Ben Francisco, but precious little else, generating 12 ground ball outs among his 85 pitches.
THE TAKEAWAY: The Nats improve to 10-6 in extra inning games, which is only slightly higher than their overall winning percentage. It’s great that they’re earning a reputation for “never giving up”, etc. but this team is just downright good. It’s been a little nerve-wreaking the last couple of nights against a very bad Astros team, needing extra innings in both contests, but the nats just keep on winning. You have to think at some point the Braves are going to look at the scoreboard and start wondering how the Nats are going to win on any particular night.
THE GOOD: Espinosa went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored.
THE BAD: Steve Lombardozzi went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
THE UGLY: Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. It was a tough night for all the hitters, as the teams combined for just 11 base hits in 12 innings.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 8:05 pm against the Astros. Gio Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34) faces Armando Galarraga (0-1, 5.23).