Washington’s Nationals hit three doubles (one each by Victor Robles, Josh Bell, and Starlin Castro) and three home runs (one by Juan Soto and two by Ryan Zimmerman) and did win the series finale with the Rays in Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field, but as Davey Martinez put it afterwards, “the game wasn’t pretty.”
“We did make some mistakes,” Martinez said, “... we go out and score two, we come back, we walk some guys, [Patrick] Corbin couldn’t throw a strike, we give up three, and these boys just battled. It was a battle. And knowing what we’re going through, these guys fought till the end, and like I said, those at bats were exactly what we were looking for in [those] situations, and it was great.”
Martinez’s club went 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base overall, but they did manage to earn a split with the AL East-leading Rays, and they got some big hits from players other than the usual suspects, at least in the end.
Soto and Zimmerman did account for five of the nine runs the team scored, but it was Yan Gomes (RBI single in the 10th), Kyle Schwarber (sac fly), Starlin Castro (RBI double in the 11th), and Josh Harrison (sac fly), who drove in the other four runs in extra innings to put the visitors over the top in the Trop. [ed. note - “Really?”]
“Starlin with a big hit, but Yan Gomes with a two-strike hit, the fly ball by Josh Harrison, huge against that guy [Diego Castillo]. So I’m proud of the boys,” Martinez said.
“And I said this all the time, these guys have big hearts, they’re not going to quit, they’re going to battle, when they’re down they’re going to battle and we saw that tonight.”
Today, the Nationals are back in the nation’s capital, where they start a four-game set with the San Francisco Giants and an 11-game homestand overall, but they’re currently 25-33 after losing six of their last ten, but don’t tell Martinez that it’s too late for his club to get back into the postseason chase.
“To me, it’s never too late,” he said last night. “It really isn’t. I hope that we proved that in ‘19.
“I mean, I’ve seen it,” the fourth-year manager added, “I experienced it, we just got to get rolling. We got to have some things go our way, but we’ve got to keep grinding, and that’s what you saw tonight.
“These guys grinded out at bats and they played really well at the end, so let’s build from that.”