Davey Martinez’s squad managed just three hits last night, in what ended up a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, but two of the three were RBI doubles by Anthony Rendon, whose 31st and 32nd two-base hits of 2019 were enough for the home team to take the first game of the three-game series in the nation’s capital.
Trea Turner reached via HBP, stole second, and scored on the first of Rendon’s two hits in the bottom of the third, and the Nationals’ leadoff man walked to start the eighth, moved over to second on a bunt by Adam Eaton, and scored the second run when the Nationals’ third baseman did it again, breaking up a 1-1 tie.
So three hits total, 2 for 10 with RISP and six left on base in a one-run game, a start by left-hander Patrick Corbin in which he was solid if not spectacular, and the Nationals still held on for their fifth straight win and their eighth in the last ten, pulling within 4.5 of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East and going up +2.5 in the NL Wild Card race.
“When your starting pitcher goes out there and competes like Pat did, and keeps us in the game, we always have a chance,” Martinez told reporters after the Nationals went 11 over .500 with the win.
“That’s the way we feel. I told the guys, ‘Hey, it only takes one more than the other guy, so just keep playing the game.’ They played the game. Adam Eaton with an unbelievable bunt, Trea with a great walk, and all of a sudden here comes Anthony Rendon with a big hit. That’s all we needed today, we just needed two runs. [Brewers’ starter Adrian] Houser was actually pretty good. He had a good two-seamer, curveball, and he started mixing up all his pitches as he went along through the game, so it’s just one of those days.
“Hopefully we come back tomorrow and score a bunch of runs, but for us to come out and win and [Sean] Doolittle come in and get the save was tremendous.”
Doolittle came on a half-inning after Rendon’s second double and worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless frame and his 28th save of the season.
While Rendon’s big hits were the difference, his teammates set him up for success before he cashed in on the opportunities.
“Adam Eaton just playing the game right there,” Martinez said of Eaton’s sacrifice bunt in the eighth, “and you’ve got a couple chances, one with Anthony and the other with Juan [Soto] behind him. But [Rendon] has been unbelievable all year long, he really has. Like I’ve said, he’s the guy that makes our lineup go and you’re seeing that right now. He comes up big for us in all aspects of the game.”
What will Rendon do tonight? Tune in at 7:05 PM EDT to see.