- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Jayson Werth’s walk-off HR keeps Nationals’ season alive
Question of the Day
The ball took flight like a missile, zipping into the crisp fall air that settled over the nation’s capital on this October Thursday night. It sailed into the visitors’ bullpen in left field. It clanked with a thud off the back wall. It carried with it the hopes of a team, of a fan base, of an entire city hoping the team’s season would live at least one more day.
As it landed, Jayson Werth’s home run unleashed a celebration inside Nationals Park unlike any the District had seen at a ballpark in almost 80 years.
Werth flung his bat into the air and pointed to the Nationals’ dugout as his teammates poured over the railing and fireworks exploded. He rounded third base, gave double low-fives to coach Bo Porter and sent his batting helmet flying. He leapt into home plate, into the arms of his teammates, and they stomped on it together.
Their 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Division Series ensured them one more day.
“I’ve seen a lot this year with this team,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Some pretty special moments. I think that takes it.”
There was so much to marvel as Werth chucked his wrist guards into the crowd and gathered himself. For six minutes he’d stood at the plate against Lance Lynn. For 13 pitches he stared at the Cardinals‘ big right-hander and fought. After the 12th pitch, he glanced at the total on the scoreboard and wondered, “Is that right?”
In the on-deck circle, Bryce Harper steeled himself to bunt a 97-mph pitch and move Werth over if the veteran got on. In the dugout, after Ross Detwiler had thrown six innings without allowing an earned run, and Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen had electrified the park with three scoreless out of the bullpen, Storen turned to Clippard and called Werth’s shot.
Storen had been a victim of a Werth walk-off before. He knew what it looked like when the Nationals’ $126-million man was in an at-bat like he was Thursday night. Like he had been against Heath Bell earlier this season. “He’s going deep right here,” he told Clippard.
“I was just kind of saying that hopefully, hoping for a good result,” Storen said, his face red from the adrenaline. “Just trying to get some positive vibes out there.”
“That was the at-bat of the year,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said as he made his way through the clubhouse.
Because of it, the Nationals will meet the Cardinals back here Friday night. They’ll play one game. Gio Gonzalez will pitch for the Nationals, Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals. Winner take all. A date with the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS awaiting.
“This is what it’s all about,” Werth said. “This is what you play all season for. This is what you work out all winter for. This is why you start playing T-ball when you’re 4. This is baseball. This is why you play.”
In the clubhouse before the game, veteran Mark DeRosa read aloud Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena.” Werth walked onto the field and reliever Michael Gonzalez asked him how he felt. “I feel like I want to play tomorrow,” Werth told him.
Needing to win to keep their magical 2012 season alive, the Nationals turned to a strength that had deserted them this series: their pitching.
Detwiler is the man who earned a spot in the Nationals’ rotation because Stephen Strasburg is not a part of it. Zimmermann the man who was chased after three innings in his first playoff chance Monday. Clippard and Storen are the Nationals’ lethal late-game combination. They needed to pitch like they had one game for their lives. All of them. And they did.
© 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 Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is imminent
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq