Victor Robles might have felt like the loneliest person in the ballpark after his baserunning error in Saturday night’s Washington Nationals’ loss to the Giants, but it wasn’t bothering him Sunday when he had a key sac bunt and a hit in the Nats’ 5-0 win which earned them a split of the four-game series.
Manager Davey Martinez told reporters after Saturday’s game that he would talk with Robles and help him understand the situation.
“He kind of — he understood,” said Martinez before Sunday’s game. “It’s a fine line for him about how to be aggressive, when to be aggressive, and when to kind of just let the game play the way we see fit.”
When Robles came to bat in the second inning, after Alex Avila led off with a single against Johnny Cueto, Martinez called for a sacrifice bunt.
Robles got a first-pitch slider on the outside edge, a good spot for a right-handed hitter to get the ball down, and guided it to the first-base side of the mound, where it bounced off Cueto’s glove for an error. With Robles’s speed, he had a good chance of beating it out anyway.
After another sac bunt from Joe Ross, his first of three for the game, moved both runners into scoring position, and Kyle Schwarber brought them both home with his second home run of the game.
Robles singled to center leading off the fourth and drew a walk to lead off the sixth, but was stranded both times.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Robles made what appeared to be running catch against the center field wall. He got the benefit of the initial call, but the play was overturned on review.
Nats’ starter Joe Ross got out of it by striking out Mike Yastrzemski and retiring Buster Posey on a fly ball to complete another of his eight scoreless innings.
Martinez said afterward that the Nats won the game by focusing on fundamentals, and Robles’s play was a big part of it.
“It’s daily conversations every day, even before they go to home plate, I have conversations with them about what I see and what we’re looking for, so they have an idea before they step up there what they really need to do, and then they got to go up there and they’ve got to perform,” Martinez said.
“Robles getting the bunt down. Joe getting three bunts down, those little things matter.”