After dropping 2 of 3 to San Diego in D.C. last weekend, the Washington Nationals have won the first 2 of 4 with the Padres in Petco Park, holding the home team to a run on three hits in a 3-1 win on Thursday, and three runs on four hits in last night’s 6-3 win, and manager Davey Martinez, as he’s wont to, talked, after a late-game rally in the ninth decided the second win, about good pitching and solid defense being the keys for his club.
“They’re playing well,” Martinez told reporters in his post game press conference from Petco Park, “... and I’ve always said this from Day 1: You get good pitching, you get good defense, the hitting will come and go, and right now we’re getting opportunities to score some runs, they’re battling. And we’re actually finishing games. The last couple of days have been really good. And even before then, we fell short, but we’re playing a lot better. But defense and pitching is going to help us out. If we can pitch and get to that bullpen, those guys have been doing well.”
The Nationals’ bullpen covered four scoreless innings on Thursday, and gave up just one hit in 4 2⁄3 scoreless last night, picking up the slack for starters Aníbal Sánchez (5 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER), and Paolo Espino (4 1⁄3 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 3 ER).
Martinez’s club got good pitching and adequate defense, and the offense came through with a three-run ninth which broke up a 3-3 tie last night. Victor Robles walked, then scored to go ahead on an error on a swinging but by Lane Thomas, when Padres’ reliever Josh Hader fired a throw well wide of first, allowing Robles to score from first before Alex Call hit one out to left-center in the at-bat which followed, 6-3.
“For me, it’s all about Robles right there,” Martinez said after the win.
“Robles works a good walk against a tough pitcher in Hader. He gets on base, and I said, ‘Okay, things could happen, things could happen quickly, we got the top of the order coming up,’ and sure enough, I know Lane hit a little dribbler, [Hader] throws the ball away, and here we go. And then Alex Call with a big home run.
“I’m excited for him. But I’m really excited about how our guys are just not quitting.
“They’re playing hard, which, I’ve always told them we’re going to play 27 outs, every single day, right? And they’re doing that.”
Now they just have to do it again. And again.