I simply couldn’t bring myself to writing keys to the game for game three of this series. It was an 8-0 blowout, and they keys were evident from the box score alone: no offense or pitching. Thursday’s game four matchup was a different story, though. Behind excellent pitching and one huge offensive play, the Nats walked away with a 2-1 victory to force a game five today.
3. Holy bullpen, Batman
For all the talk of bullpen struggles in games one through three, game four changed the entire dynamic. Jordan Zimmermann came out of the bullpen in the seventh and set the tone for the Nats relievers. It was his first career bullpen appearance, and he struck out the side. Not to be outdone by the starter, Tyler Clippard came in and struck out the side in the eighth. Drew Storen came in and almost did the same, but instead caused Matt Carpenter to pop out on a great catch by Ian Desmond to end the inning. The bullpen struck out eight of the nine batters they faced.
2. Ross Detwiler spins a gem
All the pressure came down on Ross Detwiler as the Nats tried to stave off elimination for another day, and boy, did he succeed with flying colors. He located his fastball and sinker, worked in his slider beautifully, and never let himself get flustered, even with an unpredictable strike zone by home plate ump Jim Joyce. It was by far the biggest game of Detwiler’s career, and he put together what may be the best outing of his career, giving up one unearned run on three hits in six innings of work. If the Nats win game five today, Detwiler is a huge reason why.
1. Jayson Werth hits walk-off homer on 13th pitch of the at-bat
What else can you say besides the header for this one? After fighting off 12 pitches from Lance Lynn, the 13th pitch came over the plate, and Werth gave it a ride into the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. Pandemonium ensued. If you haven’t already heard Charlie Slowes’ radio call of the event, you haven’t lived. I have listened to it at least a dozen times so far, and I plan on listening over and over again.
Charlie Slowes walk-off call (audio from Washington Post)