How did the Washington Nationals respond to Monday night’s 4-2 loss in St. Louis, which left them a +0.5-game up on Chicago’s Cubs for the top Wild Card spot and +1.5 over the next-closest team, Milwaukee’s Brewers?
They didn’t panic, fill-in skipper Chip Hale said after the Nats’ 6-2 win over the Cardinals in the second of three in Busch Stadium.
“There’s no panic,” Hale told reporters, “and like I said, once the game’s over last night, it’s a new one today, and same thing tonight, you win, start from zero tomorrow. So yeah, there’s definitely no panic.
“These guys have a lot of fun, obviously winning is a lot more fun than losing.”
Howie Kendrick went 3 for 4 with a triple the first time up, a solo home run in his second at bat, and after flying out to right the third time he stepped up, he hit a single in his third trip to the plate, and walked in his final plate appearance.
With the score 2-1 in the Nationals’ favor in the sixth, Juan Soto doubled to start the inning and scored on a two-out RBI single by Victor Robles, 3-1, and Robles hit another RBI single in the eighth, 4-2, and scored on an RBI double by Yan Gomes, 5-2, before Soto’s sac fly in the ninth to give the visitors a four-run lead.
Hale was asked about Robles coming up big with the two two-out hits in a 2 for 3, two-RBI performance in St. Louis.
“Well I’ll tell you, Vic, all year, even if he struggled in a game he has a flair for the dramatic,” Hale said, “and he will come up with big hits, and he’s not afraid of the moment, which is a beautiful thing for a young kid. He and Soto, I think they thrive in those situations, so not surprised one bit. And very proud of him. It’s not easy at this point in the year, they’re tired, they’re battling their tails off, and they want to be the guys up there, so I was very proud of Vic tonight.”
The win set up this afternoon’s rubber match in the finale with the Cards, which starts at 1:15 PM EDT in Busch Stadium.