"We came back against one of the best closers in the game and tied the game," Matt Williams told reporters after third baseman Anthony Rendon hit a two-out, two-run game-tying home run in the ninth inning on Friday night in Nationals Park.
It was the first home run Atlanta Braves' closer Craig Kimbrel has allowed this season, 29 innings into the 26-year-old closer's 2014 campaign.
"Had an opportunity," Washington's first-year skipper lamented after the Nats' 6-4 extra innings loss in the nation's capital.
"We lost it, but I'm proud of them for fighting back and staying in it and giving ourselves an opportunity. [Kimbrel] doesn't give up many homers."
Rendon's 11th HR of the season was the 11th Atlanta's '08 3rd Round pick has surrendered 256 ⅓ innings into his major league career (0.39 HR/9) and just the third that drove in more than one run.
After the Nationals struggled to score runs against Braves' starter Mike Minor over his seven innings on the mound, and failed to capitalize on back-to-back two-out hits off Anthony Varvaro in the eighth, Kimbrel took the mound looking for save no.22, but instead picked up blown save no.4 when Rendon turned a 98 mph 2-1 fastball around and hit it out to left-center and off the wall separating the Red Porch seats from the visitor's bullpen.
"This game changes on one swing sometimes," Williams said.
The Nationals lost six of the first seven games with the Braves before last night's meeting, but suddenly with Anthony Rendon's home run, the momentum seemed to shift.
Four innings later, with two runs in the thirteenth, Atlanta reclaimed the edge in the currently lopsided rivalry between the top two teams in the NL East, taking a 6-4 lead, the seventh game of eight between the two teams and first place in the division.
"That could have been the one swing," the Nats' first-year skipper said.
"It turned out it wasn't. So, we have to be ready to go tomorrow and put this one behind us like we always do. It's no fun to lose. Nobody wants to lose, but we've got two more against these guys and a whole bunch of games left, so we have to have short memories, but we got to their closer, so that's tough to do. We gave ourselves a chance."
AUDIO: #Nats Nightly = @NationalsDSP + FBB talking about the #Nats' 6-4 loss to the #Braves, Stras, Rendon + more: http://t.co/GQDz2euMIH— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) June 21, 2014