Davey Martinez’s club blew a lead in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s matchup with the Rays in Tampa Bay, but rallied to score two in the top of the tenth and get the victory they were on their way to before Daniel Hudson gave up a two-out, two-strike home run that tied things up at 2-2 in the ninth in Tropicana Field. To fight back and get a win like that after their closer faltered?
“It’s huge,” Martinez told reporters. “Hey look, you know their closer today gave up the two-run homer. That stuff happens.”
Luis García’s tie-breaking, two-run blast came on the first pitch of the 10th, and Martinez said that’s part of his approach when playing extra innings game on the road.
“When you’re on the road, you try to play just to score as many runs as possible,” the third-year skipper explained.
“We had no intentions of bunting. He went up there, and like I said, I told him, ‘He’s going to go after you first pitch, so be ready for it,’ and he was ready.”
That his club is still fighting at this point, with a 2% chance of returning to the postseason in FiveThirtyEight.com’s projections, pleases their manager to no end, but doesn’t surprise the former big leaguer.
“The fact that we come back and keep playing the game, like I said all along we don’t quit, that’s awesome man,” Martinez said.
“These guys, they’re giving it their all, they’re going out there and they’re playing hard, and Luis comes through today with a big homer for us.”
It was a big moment for García, whose second big league home run ended up being the game-winner.
“I feel very excited and happy I was able to help the team win,” the Nationals’ 20-year-old infielder said through translator Octavio Martinez after the game.
“I always try to help the team any way I can, whether it’s defensively or offensively, and today I was able to fortunately enough help the team get the victory today.”
García, who likely wouldn’t be in the majors in any normal season, is learning on the job in the big leagues now, and he was asked what he’s taken away from his time in the majors.
“I’ve learned a lot throughout the season,” he said, “from our manager, the coaches, and my teammates. I think the main thing I want to take from this season, is basically learned about the game itself, how to slow it down for me, not let it get too quick on me, and just remain with a good focus throughout the game as well.”
García and his teammates have to stay focused through two today in Miami...