Trailing 3-1 after five and a half, Washington’s sixth inning rally last night lifted them to a 4-3 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nationals’ catcher Matt Wieters drove in a run with a double to center, and a Howie Kendrick walk and Rafael Bautista single loaded the bases in front of Trea Turner, who hit an 0-2 fastball from reliever Adam Morgan back up the middle for a two-run single that completed the comeback.
With a 4-3 lead, the Nationals turned things over to the bullpen and Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle locked down the NL East division leader’s 86th win.
Turner, who came up with the big hit, talked after the game about his approach in that at bat against the Phillies’ left-handed reliever.
“Get a good pitch to hit,” Turner said, keeping it simple.
“In the first couple of at bats, I felt like I had some pitches to hit and didn’t capitalize, and [Morgan] threw two tough pitches in the first two and then got that third one in the middle of the zone and put a decent swing on it.”
“That was big,” Dusty Baker said of Turner’s two-run single, “because chances are he wasn’t going to strike out and he wasn’t going to hit into a double play so you figure he was going to put the ball in play. And that was a big hit, and when you make a comeback you want to come all the way back or else invariably, a lot of times you end up losing that game because you had a chance.”
“We got some big hits tonight,” Baker added “that was a big hit by Bautista also, a big hit by Wieters to hit on a 3-0 count, so they were one-ing us to death and we had that crooked number, that 3-spot and that held up for our bullpen.”
It held up, at least in part, because center fielder Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall to pull a fly ball off Andres Blanco’s bat down for the first out of Philadelphia’s eighth.
“Michael Taylor saved the game on that home run that he took away,” Baker said.
“That was a tremendous play You’re used to seeing Michael do things like that in center field, because he’s becoming one of the best in the business.”
With the win, the Nationals improved to 32 games over .500.
“It was a good for us to win, our magic number is at least down to five, could be four I guess, so we’ve just got to keep rolling.”
With three to play against the Phillies in the nation’s capital this weekend, the Nationals could clinch the division as early as tomorrow night.