- Judge strikes down Arkansas abortion law — nation’s toughest — as unconstitutional
- Court: Tenn. must recognize 3 same-sex marriages
- Russia claims to have downed U.S. drone over Crimea region
- John Daly shoots 90 at PGA Tour event: ‘I’m falling apart’
- Police: Man arrested in West Virginia may be linked to Alexandria killings
- Smile: Equipping cops with body-mounted cameras gains steam in Calif., N.Y.
- Obama to sign bill cutting taxpayer money for party conventions
- Half of Americans worried about second Cold War: poll
- Kermit Gosnell clinic aide who heard aborted baby scream gets 5 to 10 years in prison
- Iraq mulls law to let men marry 8-year-old girls
New dad Desmond helps deliver Nationals win
As scripts go, Ian Desmond couldn’t have written the one for this week of his life much better.
From the depths of despair five days ago, when a dejected Desmond sat in front of his locker in Pittsburgh and sighed – unable to come up with the words that would make his two latest fielding errors go away, Desmond returned to the team Thursday from paternity leave after the birth of his first child and hit the game-winning home run in the Nationals’ 4-3 victory over the Mets.
The homer, which was a laser solo shot into the visitors bullpen at Nationals Park, came one inning after he tripled to start a two-run rally in the fourth. The shortstop was 2-for-4, raising his average 15 points to .220 and helping Livan Hernandez to his third win of the year.
“He’s the big daddy,” Hernandez said. “He’s very happy. He came back relaxed and you see him today, he’s unbelievable.”
It was just the second time in Desmond’s career that he’s tripled and homered in the same game. The other time was in October 2009 during his 21-game September call up.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “He’s a great competitor and he’s gone through some tough times here in April, but he’s had some big games for us too and tonight was a real good ballgame… Fatherhood exceeds anything that we do out here anyway, but I know it’s a special time in his life and I’m just really happy for him.”
Desmond bounced around the’ dugout, field and clubhouse before the game with a smile, accepting congratulations and well-wishes from everyone in his path. He and his wife, Chelsey, welcomed their son, Grayson Wesley, on Tuesday – a night Desmond said he spent with his son on one arm and the Nationals’ game streaming on his cell phone in the other.
He watched his teammates suffer through a gut-wrenching loss Wednesday night, and returned with the desire to ignite his team and its offense, and to help stop their latest skid.
“Watching the games the last two days, it just seemed like the team needed a little spark,” Desmond said. “I came in here today hoping to be able to do that, and I did and it felt really good.
“We’ve got to start (getting hot). We’re starting to lose ground (in the NL East). We’re better than what we’ve been playing, and we don’t want to lose that ground.”
The Nationals (11-13) didn’t make things easy on themselves – never having more than a two-run cushion and generally forcing Hernandez to work with a one-run lead. But it was not an issue for Hernandez, who was as sharp as he’s been all season, going eight innings and allowing two earned runs off seven hits and one walk.
He struck out five, added a single and an RBI on a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning – when he displayed solid boxing-out skills to delay his trot to first base and hold Mets catcher Josh Thole back from reaching the ball in time to get Jerry Hairston Jr. running home from third.
And Hernandez, who was given a warm reception by the fans each time he came to bat, did it all one day after news surfaced that the pitcher was the target of a federal money laundering probe in connection with a convicted drug kingpin in Puerto Rico.
“I’m going to let you know one day,” Hernandez said after the game when asked about the investigation. “Whatever came out and whatever people (don’t) say the truth, it’s OK. I can’t do nothing when something comes out and I can’t do nothing. The fans are always there. These are great fans in baseball. They support the team and they know we play hard, and that’s it. I can’t control nothing else.”
Just as he couldn’t control what happened when he left the game after a 1-2-3 eight inning and turned things over to Drew Storen for the save.
Less than 24 hours after a bullpen meltdown reached its apex in the ninth inning, Storen kept his composure when Thole singled and pinch runner Chin-lung Hu stole second base with two outs. Instead of getting rattled, Storen worked former National Willie Harris to a 3-2 count and threw a nasty slider to get Harris swinging and end the game – earning dual fist pumps from both Storen and catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
“There’s a lot of things to feel good about this game,” Storen said after his fourth save. “Ian putting the effort that he had and Livo too. I got out there and, yeah, I want to do well, but really, in the end, I don’t want to waste their effort, and that’s kind of what it comes down to. That’s a great game by both of them, and those are two huge performances to really pick up the two tough ones that we started with.
“I think that’s something that we need to ride the coattails of that momentum.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By David A. Clarke Jr.
Planning for the last attack doesn't make Americans safer
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Russia claims to have downed U.S. drone over Crimea region
- BRUCE: The power of bossy
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama gets advance copies of 'Game of Thrones'
- Sam Adams beer brewer nixes St. Patrick's parade that won't allow gays
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014