On Friday night in the nation's capital, the Nats managed to win 3-1 in spite of the fact that they went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position, thanks to Anthony Rendon's solo home run and two unearned runs that scored on a rare error by Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina.
In Saturday's 4-3 loss the Nationals were 1 for 7 w/ RISP, but they generated opportunities and the tying run was 90 ft from home when Jayson Werth struck out to end the game.
"It's what any team would want," Matt Williams told reporters after the loss. "With the heart of their order coming to the plate. With the ability to tie the game or win the game. It's what you want. And we'll take that opportunity every day."
As long as the Nats' hitters were generating opportunities, eventually things would happen, Williams reasoned.
He said so again after the Nationals were finally able to cash in on late chances to get back into the game in the finale of the four-game set with the Cardinals and win it on a walk-off sac fly by Denard Span.
"They've got a really good [bullpen]," Williams said. "They've got good starters. They've got a good offense. They play good defense. Their bullpen is fantastic. We just created more opportunities, so eventually came through. And that was a good at bat by Denard."
The Nationals were 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position Sunday, 0 for 10 before Ian Desmond in the seventh and Danny Espinosa in the eighth came through with RBI singles that cut the Cards' 2-0 lead in half and then tied it before Span's seven-pitch, bases-loaded, one-out battle with right-hander Seth Maness in the ninth, which ended in an opposite field walk-off sac fly.
"I talk about those opportunities and giving ourselves that multiple times in a game," Williams said. "You like your chances, certainly. Especially against a good team like that, we want to create those. I don't know how many guys we had on base today, but it felt like a lot..."
"That's a testament to their staff too," Williams continued. "Their pitching is good. We just want to continue to do that and give ourselves those opportunities, because if we do then we've got a chance."
Williams praised both hitters' willingness to lay off pitches that were out of the zone.
"Nate's at bat is an example of it," he said. "Didn't get outside the zone. Denard in the last inning certainly didn't get outside the strike zone. He fouled off a couple of balls. Mike [Matheny] played the five man infield to cut that right side of the infield off and [Span] did a nice job of staying on a baseball. Those situations present themselves and sometimes you've got to adjust to what the situation gives you, but overall they swung the bats really well and created those opportunities."
"Opportunities are big for us," the first-year manager reiterated.
By taking advantage of the ones they did, the Nationals completed their sixth comeback win of the season and earned a split of the four-game series with the Cardinals.
"They fight, and again," Williams repeated, "... it's repetitive and it sounds like a recording, but we just want to create opportunities as many times as we can during the course of a game and eventually something will happen. But you can't get away from doing that. That's what good offensive teams do."
• Chase Hughes from CSNWashington.com and NatsInsider.com and I talked about the Nationals' offensive contributions from Espinosa and Span, Bryce Harper's big day in the headlines on Saturday and Stephen Strasburg's start this afternoon in Nats Park on the latest edition of Nats Nightly...