The Washington Nationals on Sunday swept the Boston Red Sox with a 4-3 win, thanks to some late heroics by Roger Bernadina, who had a game-winning RBI double.
With the game tied at three at the start of the ninth inning, Bryce Harper – who was not in the starting lineup due to tightness in his back – was inserted as a pinch hitter in the frame and then made the most of his opportunity, drawing a walk to set up Bernadina’s big hit.
Harper raced home on Bernadina’s double, which broke the tie and gave Washington a scant 4-3 lead.
The Nationals (35-23) were able to hold on in the bottom of the ninth as reliever Tyler Clippard earned his eighth save of the season. He allowed a walk, but retired the last two hitters with strikeouts.
Alfredo Aceves (0-4, 4.99) – who was on the mound in the ninth inning – took the loss for Boston (29-31); meanwhile, Tom Gorzelanny (2-1, 3.26), who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, picked up the victory for Washington.
Jordan Zimmermann, who started for the Nationals on the mound, was strong as he went seven innings and gave up three runs. He did not factor in the decision, and gave up seven hits, struck out seven and walked two.
The Red Sox’s Jon Lester – who countered Zimmermann on the hill – went seven innings as well and gave up three runs on six hits.
Washington’s Danny Espinosa had a productive game as he drove in two runs. Espinosa, along with Bernadina and Ian Desmond, came through with two hits. Ryan Zimmerman also drove in a run.
The Nationals got on the board in the opening inning as Zimmerman plated Espinosa, who led off the game with a double. However, the Red Sox tied the game at one in the third inning as Dustin Pedroia plated Nick Punto with a RBI-groundout. They raised the score to 2-1 as David Ortiz hit a solo home run – his 14th – in the fourth inning.
However, the Nationals regained the lead in the seventh inning, 3-2, off Espinosa’s two-run double that plated both Desmond and Tyler Moore, who both reached base on singles.
The Red Sox tied the game in the bottom of the inning off a Scott Podsednik groundout that scored Ryan Sweeney.
With the win on Sunday, the Nationals are now 35-23 and lead the National League East by two full games. Furthermore, Washington’s three game sweep in Boston is their first since 1999, when they were known as the Montreal Expos.
The Nationals continue their road trip as they face the Blue Jays in Toronto in more interleague action. The three game series starts on Monday.