WASHINGTON (AP) - Ryan Zimmerman has now done it eight times, and it never gets old.
Watch the ball sail out of the park. Slap hands with the first base coach. Slap hands with the third base coach. Toss the helmet and jump into the pile of teammates waiting at home plate.
For the eighth time in his seven-year big league career, the Washington Nationals third baseman ended the game with a home run. This time, it was a grand slam, hit with a full count and two outs in the bottom of the ninth against one of the best closers in the league.
“It’s the ultimate thing,” said Zimmerman, who also got a Gatorade shower and whipped cream in the face, “because when you come around third, your teammates are waiting there.”
The Nationals were trailing 4-2 entering the ninth, but they sent eight men to the plate against Madson (3-2), who had previously blown only one save this season and hadn’t allowed six runs in a game since becoming exclusively a relief pitcher in 2007. Zimmerman was 8 for 22 in his career with no homers and four RBIs against the Phillies‘ formidable closer, including 0 for 3 this year.
That RBI total doubled in a hurry. The slam was Zimmerman’s third in his career, and the second one to end a game.
“Just trying to get it out of the infield,” Zimmerman said. “I guess you could say he’s dominated me throughout the whole time. It’s one of those at bats where I don’t know really how it happened, but I guess it happened.
“The pressure’s on him, man. It’s not on me. I’m, like, 0-for-whateaver against him _ I’m supposed to get out,” he added. “The way I’ve always been taught is the pressure’s on the pitcher. It keeps you calm, and the key thing is not trying to do too much.”
“He’s good. He wakes up every morning, and he’s good,” Werth said. “That’s all you need to know.”
Werth played a key role in the rally, opening the inning by hanging on with foul ball after foul ball until he singled to left on Madson’s 11th pitch. Danny Espinosa hit a flare to center for a single, and Jonny Gomes singled to left to drive home Werth. Wilson Ramos bunted to put runners on second and third, and pinch-hitter Jesus Flores was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Ian Desmond singled to right to score Espinosa. With the bases still loaded, Rick Ankiel struck out swinging, leaving Zimmerman to finish things off. With no room on the bases, Madson had little choice but to throw his fastball with the full count.
“Here it is, and if you hit it, you hit it,” Madson said. “Most times when you challenge a guy like that, he’s going to get a hit, and he did that time. So, I tip my cap to him. He’s a great hitter.”
Todd Coffey (4-1) pitched the top of the ninth to get the win for the Nationals, who handed the Phillies only their second loss in the last 13 road games.View Entire Story
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