ST. LOUIS — Jayson Werth knows better than any Washington Nationals player that your chances in the postseason are finite. A lot of times, there isn't a tomorrow if you don't come through today.
When Werth struck out with the bases loaded to end the top of the sixth inning, the second time in Sunday's game he had stranded three men to end a scoring chance, he could only hope for another shot. It came quickly, in the field rather than at the plate.
With a man on first in the bottom of the sixth, and the Cardinals leading 2-1, Daniel Descalso sent a high fly ball to right that Werth initially didn't see, the afternoon sun obscuring its path. Even the Busch Stadium crowd seemed startled when the ball kept carrying, the roar delayed as Werth backed up to the fence. Just in time, he got his bearings and leaped at the wall to pull a two-run homer back into the park.
"When I went back and looked [at the video], my last couple steps at the wall, I went in the shade and that allowed me to get a good bead on it and time up the jump," Werth said. "But up until then I was pretty much panicking because it was a ball I was pretty unsure on."
Descalso, too, was surprised at how far the ball carried, but all he could do afterward was give credit to Werth.
"I hit it pretty good," he said. "I know that the ball doesn't travel as well when it's cold out here, but I still think I got enough to get it out, and I think it would have been out if he didn't catch it. He made a great play."
For the time being, it was enough to erase a mostly disappointing day at the plate for Werth, who managed a single but struck out three times.
"I've never been one to take my offense out on my defense," Werth said. "Obviously, the situation is pretty big here in the postseason, but I feel like I'm going to get some more chances. Those guys pitched me tough today, and you've got to tip your hat sometimes. Hopefully, I'll get another chance to come through."
Storen gets his reward
Pain has followed Drew Storen's season, thanks to April surgery to remove a bone chip from the closer's right elbow. The surgery sidelined Storen until July and made his save Sunday, punctuated with a shout as he struck out Matt Holliday swinging to end the game, even sweeter.
In two minutes, the always-enthusiastic Storen repeatedly described the day as "awesome" and "unbelievable."
"It makes all those brutal, boring mornings in Viera, Fla., in April watching these guys do what they did worth it," Storen said. "It's fun to watch but it's also tough to watch. I said, 'I'm going to do this right, I'm going to come back and I want to contribute and be a part of this.'"
The shadows know
Hitters dealt with the annoyance of a constantly changing backdrop as shadows crept across the field Sunday.
"I think the toughest thing was it was different every single at-bat," said Ryan Zimmerman. "The first at-bat was OK and you could see it start to creep in. Right before my second at-bat it was almost right where the catcher was, so it wasn't quite there yet. My third at-bat and from there on, you go through different things where it's light in the back, dark at the plate, or it's light-dark-light."
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