Davey Martinez wasn’t even watching as one of the most important moments in Washington Nationals’ franchise history (to that point) played out this past October. Martinez told ESPN’s Buster Olney in an interview last week that he saw Juan Soto’s bases-loaded, two-out hit off of Milwaukee left-hander Josh Hader in the eighth inning of the 2019 NL Wild Card Game, but the skipper sized it up as a game-tying, two-run single, and started looking at his lineup card to see what he wanted to do next.
“Not to say that we’re superstitious or anything, but we needed to get something going,” Martinez said of his activity in the home dugout, with his club trailing 3-1 to the Brewers through seven and a half innings.
“So I started moving around different places in the dugout,” Martinez explained, “standing different places. We started getting going, I was on the other side of the dugout, towards first base. Base hit, I know we’re going to tie the game, so I look down at my card, and trying to figure out what’s next, who’s going to pitch, all of a sudden I hear the crowd — I heard like a second roar of the crowd, and I look up and I saw the right fielder going back, running for the ball.”
Brewers’ outfielder Trent Grisham had the ball go under his glove as he charged in to try to limit the damage on Soto’s hit, and all three men on base came around to score as the right fielder recovered it in the win-or-go-home matchup, which the home team suddenly led, 4-3.
“I all of a sudden became a quick fan and started running down the dugout screaming, ‘Run! Run!’” Martinez recalled.
“And we scored that run, the third run, to go-ahead, and then we were all jacked up, now I had to regroup, focus and get the guys in there we needed to get to, which, we had [Daniel] Hudson up and I was comfortable with Hudson pitching the ninth.”
Hudson worked around a one-out single for a scoreless ninth and the Nationals advanced to the NLDS, which they won, before going on to win the NLCS and World Series.
“I saw the base hit and I was elated that we were going to tie the game,” Martinez said of the Soto hit that kept the season alive, “...and all of a sudden I heard the crowd, and then when I looked up I saw Grisham running back for the ball, and I became, like I said, I really became a fan, I started screaming.”
So did everyone else, Davey.
[ed. note - “FWIW: Chip Hale missed Howie Kendrick’s go-ahead grand slam in Game 5 of the NLDS with the Dodgers because he had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t wait any longer. So that’s something that happened too.”]
Check out the entire interview with Martinez and Olney. It’s well worth a listen:
Podcast https://t.co/NOJeQC7uSV Nationals Manager Dave Martinez rounds out Manager Week with memories from the team's championship run -- the pivotal play he didn't see; the memento he'd love to have; the unusual work he's doing during the lockdown. @ToddRadom's quiz— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 11, 2020