It wasn't exactly pretty, but the Washington Nationals managed to win their tenth straight game in Citi Field last night, taking a 3-2 decision from the New York Mets and setting themselves up with an opportunity to sweep the three-game set from their NL East rivals. Along the way to their 65th win, however, there were three errors, one each by Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and Kevin Frandsen, eight Ks vs veteran righty Bartolo Colon and a nearly-blown save.
"Some miscues tonight," Nationals manager Matt Williams acknowledged after the game.
"The ball hit to [LaRoche], he was going to catch it in the air. then decided not to catch it in the air and got it deep and it got by him. [Frandsen] just misplayed the ball in left. The pickoff throw, a little mixup in signals there, but they're resilient, so mistakes are made sometimes and you have to overcome them."
The takeaway, in the Nats' first-year skipper's mind, was that in spite of the miscues the Nationals were able to beat the Mets yet again.
"That's important for us," he said when asked if just getting the win is what mattered. "We don't want to put ourselves in that situation though and we want to play clean baseball and don't give them extra outs. Any team can beat you [with] extra outs, especially these guys, so we were fortunate tonight, but that happens. So if you get in that situation, you've just got to overcome it."
The Nationals came back from a 1-0 deficit which was the result Frandsen's error in left on a dropped catchable ball in the fourth, took a 2-1 lead in the seventh, added to it in the eighth and survived the ninth with Nats' closer Rafael Soriano giving up a solo home run by Mets' catcher Travis d'Arnaud and putting two runners in scoring position before an out at home and a grounder to the mound ended the game.
Williams said Soriano was just up in the zone, but he too overcame his difficulties and locked down save no.27 of 2014.
The problem last night, for the 34-year-old closer, according to Williams, was that he was up in the zone after three-plus days waiting for the latest save opportunity.
"Just the ball up in the zone. Just up, middle. The homer was, he missed location and both base hits up the middle he missed location, so just a little off. Regular work is key for guys, but sometimes in the closer role you don't get it, so, we were able to hold on."
In spite of his struggles, it took Soriano just 15 pitches to complete the inning, so he should be good to go again tonight if the Nats need him.
• Here's the lineup that will take on Mets' right-hander Dillon Gee in the series finale: