Ryan Zimmerman must really want the fans’ votes for that last All-Star spot on the National League roster. With two home runs, one being a walk-off solo shot to the deepest part of the ballpark, Zimmerman salvaged a victory for the Nats, who had lost a three-run lead just an inning before.
Zimmerman takes his great game with a grain of salt in how it relates to his being named one of the candidates to be the last man voted on the team.
“Oh yeah,” Zimmerman joked. “I was just waiting for it to be announced so I can get hot.”
Manager Jim Riggleman thought that his night was a great representation of who he is when he is playing at his best.
“He’s got power, he can field,” Riggleman said. “He just put it all on display tonight. When he’s hitting the ball in that direction, he’s at his best.”
Starting pitcher Livan Hernandez was the unsung hero of Tuesday night’s 6-5 win as his contributions cannot be seen in the win column.
Despite the no decision, Hernandez pitched like a winner in less than favorable conditions. In his first seven innings pitched, he gave up just two runs. Hernandez was unable to record an out in the eighth however and allowed the first two runners to reach base. After being replaced by Tyler Clippard, the two runs would come around to score.
“If I had to do it over,” Riggleman said of sending Hernandez out to pitch the eighth. “I wouldn’t have done that.”
While Hernandez was able to largely shake off the game time 99 degree heat, Padres starter Clayton Richard looked awfully hittable for someone coming into the game with a sub-3.00 ERA. The Nats sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning and jumped on top of the Padres, erasing a 1-0 deficit and taking a 3-1 lead.
In the middle innings of the game, the Nationals offense stayed hot as Zimmerman and Ian Desmond contributed solo home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.
While a couple of home runs from Zimmerman may come as little surprise to most fans of the team, contributions from Desmond and Michael Morse were a bit out of the ordinary.
Morse, who has been relegated to facing lefties, got a big two-run single to put the Nationals up in the first inning of the game. With another strong game, Morse continues to show why he deserves more playing time than a typical pinch hitter.
“I come to the park everyday thinking I’m in the lineup,” Morse said. “I think that helps my mentality off the bench. I feel like it’s working so I’m not going to change a thing.”
Desmond’s home run, his fifth of the season, was the first one that he’s hit since May 28, so it was surely a welcome sight to fans’ eyes. The last time he hit a home run, Clayton Richard was the man on the mound for the Padres.
The rookie shortstop’s evening turned a bit sour when he failed to turn a double play while throwing the ball away allowing the tying run to score in the eighth inning. However he quickly made up for it with a great relay, nailing the possible go ahead run at home.
“That’s just me I guess,” Desmond said. “I hate to say it, but I’m aggressive, it’s really hard for me to say no, don’t make the play it’s just in my blood and something I have to learn.”
While the throwing error and the fantastic relay may stick out in the minds of people keeping a close eye on Desmond’s defense, the young shortstop’s mind lied elsewhere.
“I’ll probably think about the home run more,” he said. “I don’t really think about the error. I would rather make an aggressive play wrong than an easy play.”