January 22, 2022

Washington Nationals Game 138 Review: Nats patiently wait out Phillies pitchers in 9-6 win


Five wild pitches, 13 walks, four errors and a hit-by-pitch. A balk. 11 pitchers used. Three hours and 48 minutes worth of “baseball.” It was that kind of game.

The Washington Nationals, needing every single win possible as their playoff hopes dwindle, outlasted the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night with a sloppily played marathon 9-6 win to keep their wild card deficit to 7 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

Gio Gonzalez pitched 5 2/3 innings to “earn” the win, though his effort was clouded by three walks and two wild pitches.

The Nats got the scoring started in the second off Phillies starter Ethan Martin (L, 2-4). On a 2-2 pitch, Martin hit the leadoff hitter Jayson Werth in the upper left arm. Adam LaRoche drew a one-out walk ahead of Wilson Ramos’ 10th home run of the season to put the Nats up 3-0.

Philadelphia cut into the lead in the fourth. Kevin Frandsen led off with a single and went to second on Ryan Zimmerman’s error when he couldn’t handle a grounder to his left from Carlos Ruiz. Gonzalez (W, 9-6, 3.49)  struck out Darin Ruf for the first out of the inning, but both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Cody Asche then delivered a single to center on an 0-2 pitch to plate both Frandsen and Ruiz.

But it didn’t take long for the Nats to continue their onslaught against Martin. Denard Span led off the fifth with a double and went to third on Zimmerman’s grounder to the right side of the infield. Bryce Harper drew a walk and after Werth fouled out to first, Desmond walked on the tenth pitch of his at bat. Martin then walked Adam LaRoche to force in a run.

At that point, Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg lifted Martin in favor of Justin de Fratus, but the reliever stunningly walked Ramos on four pitches to force in another run to make it 5-2 Nats. They added to that in the next inning. With one out in the sixth, Span reached on third baseman Asche’s throwing error, went to second on a balk by rookie Mauricio Robles, who was making his MLB debut, and stole third on ball four to Zimmerman. Harper then hit a slow roller to third that Asche fielded cleanly and threw Span out at home.

But Werth and Desmond both singled with two outs to drive in a pair of runs to make it 7-2 at the time.

The Phillies made some noise in the bottom of the inning. Ruf drew a one-out walk from Gonzalez and went to second on Gio’s second wild pitch of the game. After Asche lined out, John Mayberry reached on a Desmond throwing error and Ruf scored. Michael Martinez then lined a single to center to score Mayberry on a close play at the plate. Ryan Mattheus was called on to relieve and promptly gave up a single to pinch-hitter Chase Utley to plate Martinez and make it 7-5, but got Cesar Hernandez to ground out to end the frame.

In the seventh, recently recalled Corey Brown clubbed an upper-deck homer to right to increase the Nats lead to 8-5 in his first big league at bat of the season.

But the Phillies got that one back in the bottom of the eighth on Cody Asche’s one-out solo home run, his third of the season, against Tyler Clippard.

The Nats got an insurance run in the top of the ninth on quite a peculiar play. With two outs and runners on the corners, Bryce Harper struck out. But the ball got away from catcher Carlos Ruiz and went to the backstop. Span raced home from third on the wild pitch, and Zimmerman went all the way to third as Harper reached first on the play.

Rafael Soriano gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth inning, but coaxed a double-play ball from Kevin Frandsen to end the game and earn his 37th save of the season.

THE GOOD: Wilson Ramos. 1-for-2 with a three-run homer and four total RBIs. Denard Span went 3-for-6 with two runs. Werth and Desmond both with a pair of hits.

THE BAD: Anthony Rendon went 0-for-4 with 4 LOB.

THE UGLY: Seriously Phillies, where are you getting all these relievers that walk more than they strike out in the minors and why are you pitching them in Major League games.

THE STATS: 11 hits, 9 BBs, 7 Ks. 3-for-13 with RISP, 13 LOB. E: Zimmerman (20, fielding), Desmond (16, throw), Ramos (8, missed catch).

NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:05 pm. Jordan Zimmermann (15-8, 3.33) faces Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.94).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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