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Washington Nationals walk off on 2-run single by Anthony Rendon, win 7-6 in sloppy game with Miami Marlins...

Anthony Rendon did it again. And he’s currently leading the National League in AVG (.333), and is 2nd in OBP (.412), and 3rd in SLG (.619).

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

After blowing a 4-2 lead when the Miami Marlins scored two on returning relievers Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elías in the top of the seventh, the Washington Nationals went back up on Juan Soto’s second RBI double of the game in the bottom of the seventh, 5-4, but Daniel Hudson gave up a leadoff single and a two-run home run in the first two at bats of the top of the ninth, 6-5 Marlins, and it looked like the home team was going to lose what was a sloppy series opener with the Fish.

Ryne Stanek, acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in a July 31st deal, had three blown saves in four opportunities with the Marlins before last night, however, and a leadoff single by Howie Kendrick and a walk to Trea Turner got the Nationals off to a good start against the righty in the bottom of the ninth.

Gerardo Parra fouled off a 97 MPH first-pitch fastball, then tried to bunt, and popped out to the pitcher, but a passed ball/wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and set Anthony Rendon up with an opportunity to win it which he cashed in with an RBI single for the walk-off winner, driving in both runners to end the game.

“We tried to get the guys over just to give Anthony and Soto a pop,” Nats’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the game, “and wild pitch gets them over and [Rendon] does what he’s been doing all year. I mean, he’s been phenomenal, and I say it all the time, but for me he’s a candidate for the MVP, he is, he’s carried us in them big moments all year long.”

Rendon went 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored on the night, leaving him with a .333 AVG, a .412 OBP, and a .619 SLG on the season, good for 1st/2nd/3rd across the line among all NL hitters.

The Nationals had limited history against Stanek, eight plate appearances between them, one by Rendon, who struck out when he faced the righty in 2018, but Martinez said they’d done their homework on the reliever.

“We get video, they watch video, they understand, which we told the guys, ‘You got to get him in the strike zone,’ one, ‘He’s got a really good slider, electric fastball, so you’ve got to get him in the strike zone,’ and they did a good job, I mean, Howie hit a bullet and Anthony comes up there, and Trea, unbelievable at bat just to get a walk, laid off some pretty good sliders, and then Rendon is Rendon, got a slider, a good pitch, and was able to get a base hit.”

How does Rendon continue to come up with big hits in key moments?

“I don’t know,” he told MASN’s Alex Chappell on the field after the game. “I just try to stay cool, calm, and collected.”

He was cool, calm, and collected as he ducked and accepted a Gatorade bath as well.

With chants of “MVP” raining down on the 29-year-old infielder, he was asked what he made of the fan reaction.

“We need this energy from y’all for the rest year,” he said, directing his response to the crowd. “Go tell your friends, go tell your families, we need y’all. I’m out.”

“Nobody said it was going to be easy, as we all know” the Nationals’ second-year skipper said, when asked about winning what was an ugly game for his club, “but like I said, this team has character, and they’re resilient and they stay in the fight day in and day out and that’s all you can ask them to do.”