- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trailing by two runs with two men on in the bottom of the ninth inning, Washington’s Jayson Werth worked a 3-0 count against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.

Time to take a pitch, right?

“I can’t imagine anybody thinking that J-Dub’s going to swing,” Werth’s teammate Adam LaRoche said. “Surprised all of us.”


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Werth did indeed go after the next pitch, hitting it down the third-base line for a game-tying, two-run double that ended Frieri’s rough outing.

LaRoche then produced an RBI single off the first pitch from Fernando Salas to cap a four-run rally in the ninth, and the Nationals beat the Angels 5-4 Wednesday night to avoid a sweep.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver throws to a Washington Nationals batter during the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver throws to a Washington Nationals ... more >

“You hit into a double play right there, it’s probably the worst play you’ve ever seen,” Werth said. “If you get a hit, it’s the best.”

Los Angeles led 4-1 entering the ninth, and Frieri (0-2) was seeking his third save.

Instead, he left with his second blown chance, charged with all four runs Washington scored in that inning. The Nationals trailed in seven of their 12 wins.

“I knew that he was going to swing,” Frieri said. “He’s a power guy. So I tried to keep the ball down. But I still missed it right down the middle. … I mean, today was a mess, man.”

Still, manager Mike Scioscia indicated he will keep Frieri in the closer’s role.

“He just got a save the other night,” Scioscia said. “It’s in him. We just need to get him a little more consistent.”

Part of Frieri’s problem was failing to put away Jose Lobaton leading off the ninth after getting ahead 0-2. Lobaton hit his first homer of the season.

“The spark we needed,” Werth said.

One out later, Werth made it 4-all. On LaRoche’s liner to left, Werth beat the throw from Mike Trout, crossed the plate with a fist raised and was greeted by teammates streaming out of the dugout. They then headed over to swarm LaRoche.

“He left a fastball up over the plate,” LaRoche said. “In that situation, just trying to hit something hard.”

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