After the Rays intentionally walked Adam LaRoche before Danny Espinosa, Espinosa delivered the final blow in the sixth inning, breaking the tie. The Nationals went on to win the rubber game of the series 5-2.
The move to walk LaRoche in front of Espinosa made sense to the Rays. Espinosa hit the decisive double from the left side, where he’d only been hitting .188.
“I definitely take it personal in a sense that, I want to get ’em. I want to make them pay for what they’re doing.”
Gio Gonzalez struggled early, throwing 50 pitches over the first two innings but was able to pitch into the sixth inning and earned his ninth win. After Gonzalez left the game, Craig Stammen entered to pitch the seventh and issued a leadoff walk. After two walks, Johnson brought in reliever Michael Gonzalez.
Not to be outdone by Stammen, Gonzalez also issued a walk, thus loading the bases. Johnson then brought in Ryan Mattheus, who reached a full count before he was able to get the job done, striking out Will Rhymes with two outs to leave the Rays stranded.
Along with Mattheus’s clutch pitching, Ian Desmond turned heads, doing a little bit of everything. Desmond helped calm down Gonzalez over command and umpiring, made a sparkling defensive play, had an RBI single, stole an additional base on a moment of lackadaisical Rays defense and even helped a woman in the mid-inning “Steal Second Base” contest.
Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman attempts to climb his way out of his slump. After striking out his first three times, Zimmerman hit a single.
Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard were able to close out the game without any other dramatics. Clippard earned another save since he was named closer in May.
Today, the Nationals head up to Baltimore for the Battle of the Beltways Round Two. Davey Johnson will making his first return to Camden Yards since 1997.
Because you should also know…
- After Chien-Ming Wang‘s struggles since his return to the rotation, Davey Johnson announced Ross Detwiler (who was moved to the bullpen to clear a spot for Wang) will return Detwiler to the rotation and Wang to the bullpen.
- Jayson Werth participated in BP with the Nationals yesterday. Werth also threw the baseball around (except he didn’t catch any).
- Wilson Ramos is having one more surgery to repair his knee. The catcher already had one surgery to repair his torn meniscus. Doctors are waiting until July for the second surgery so some of the swelling can go down.
- If you didn’t like hearing about Bryce Harper‘s disdain for clown questions, you’re out of luck. The outfielder applied for a trademark for his ‘That’s a clown question, bro.” Under Armour will also be selling t-shirts of Harper’s phrase.