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Ian Desmond's walk-off winner caps emotional couple days in Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals lost a member of their family on Tuesday. Ian Desmond, who has a long-standing connection to Randy Knorr and Nats' skipper Matt Williams spoke about the death of Knorr's wife before and after Wednesday's game.

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

"Yesterday was a sad day around here," Matt Williams told reporters in the nation's capital on Wednesday afternoon, when asked about the news that the Washington Nationals relayed after Tuesday's game about the passing of Nats' bench coach Randy Knorr's wife, Kimberly Knorr.

"It was a rough day for everybody," Williams said. "The coaching staff knew early, we addressed the players yesterday afternoon. We are a family and any time you lose a member of that family, it's a long day.

"We will lift Randy as much as we can, from afar for now and when he gets back we'll support him as much as we can as well." -Matt Williams addressing tragic news for Randy Knorr

"All of us know Kimberly very well. She was a vital part of our efforts in Spring Training, especially with the Wheelchairs 4 Kids, had fantastic support from the team, so all of the guys know her personally, so it's tragic news."

Williams said the entire Nats family will be thinking of Knorr and his family as they deal with the tragic event.

"We will lift Randy as much as we can," he said, "from afar for now and when he gets back we'll support him as much as we can as well. It's never easy to lose one of your family."

With Knorr away from the team for now, the Nationals observed a moment of silence before Wednesday's matchup with the Atlanta Braves and kept his jersey in the dugout.

As it happened, on the field last night in Nationals Park, one National with a long-standing connection to Knorr, Ian Desmond, a 2004 draft pick by the Montreal Expos who played for Knorr when the former major league catcher managed the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2005, came through with a walk-off sac fly in the bottom of the eleventh inning.

Williams has rested Desmond recently to try to get the 29-year-old infielder on track in what has been a rough start to the season for the shortstop, so the Nats' skipper was happy for him when Desmond came through with the game-winner.

"It's been a while since he felt like he contributed," Williams said. "So tonight he did that in a big way."

Desmond, however, said he feels like he contributes every day.

"Whether I get hits or whatever, I feel like I bring something to the team every day. I feel like I contribute," he told reporters.

"The box score might not say that, but I know what I bring to the team," he said. "It felt good to drive a run in there, but we've still got a lot of time to play and whether you're getting hits or not there's a lot of other ways to contribute to the team."

Desmond mentioned his former manager and current bench coach in his on-field interview after the win, and he was asked what Knorr meant to him when he spoke again in the clubhouse.

"A lot," he said. "I can't say -- words couldn't describe it. This guy has been there for me since I was eighteen. We've been through a lot together."

"That was awesome," he said of the emotional walk-off winner, "but I mean -- I'd do anything to be able to go and give him a hug."