Nationals manager Dave Martinez acknowledged he was looking for someone who could end the game with one swing in the ninth inning Friday night.
He chose the right guy.
Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run that lifted the Nationals past the Miami Marlins 3-2.
”Thought about pinch-hitting Michael (A. Taylor). He gets on Troy Brouwer Jersey , he can steal, but then what?” Martinez said. ”So I said, `Hey, we need somebody who can hit a home run right now and Mark is the perfect guy.”’
Kyle Barraclough (0-3) fell behind Reynolds in the count 3-0. Reynolds, who is 7 for his last 18 after struggling for most of June, fouled off a pitch. The Nationals slugger then sent a fastball into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center for his eighth home run.
”If I’m up there and it’s 0-2, I’m obviously not looking to turn on something,” he said. ”I knew 3-0 I was going to take a hack and then (he) pretty much threw the same pitch 3-1 and I kind of got my timing a little bit.”
Four Nationals relievers combined to allow only a hit and a walk over the final four innings. Sean Doolittle (3-2) pitched the ninth for the win as Washington defeated Miami for the 13th consecutive game dating to last season.
The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but failed to score.
Unlike Thursday night when Washington overcame a 9-0 deficit for a 14-12 win, big hits were harder to come by as the teams stranded 17 baserunners.
Miami starter Dan Straily lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
Gio Gonzalez threw 114 pitches over five innings and gave up eight hits and four walks. He was bailed out by three double plays and struck out Justin Bour and Garrett Cooper with the bases loaded in the fifth after walking in the tying run.
”I thought our offense did a pretty good job with Gio,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”We just didn’t really capitalize. . Didn’t get anything in the fourth and one in the fifth with chances to do more damage and didn’t do anything right there. I thought that was kind of the turning point for us.”
The Nationals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Adam Eaton and Wilmer Difo.
It was Reynolds’ second career walk-off home run Ben Bishop Jersey , and first since July 26, 2016, vs. Arizona as a member of the Colorado Rockies. It was Washington’s first walk-off home run of the season.
With two outs in the sixth and Eaton on second base, Difo hit a shot to right-center. Center fielder Cameron Maybin raced to his left and made a diving catch to preserve a 2-2 tie. ”Unreal,” Straily said. ”I saw my reaction and it was one of those things where I was upset at myself for giving up a double in the gap there and all the sudden he lays out and catches it.”
Marlins: Cooper (right wrist contusion) was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Miami optioned LHP Dillon Peters (2-2, 7.16 ERA) to Triple-A New Orleans to make room on the roster.
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) ”looked real good” throwing a simulated game Friday and could possibly go out on a rehab assignment Tuesday. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) will likely play a rehab game at Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. … RHP Joe Ross (elbow surgery) threw a simulated game Friday and hopes to rejoin the team in September. … Martinez said the team ”bleached” the clubhouse due to an illness that has affected a few players.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 5.55) has a 9.85 ERA in seven road starts this season. Against Washington, he’s 1-5 with a 4.15 ERA over nine career appearances.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.16) looks for his first win since June 5. He’s 8-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 starts versus the Marlins.
A little rest did Kris Bryant a lot of good.
Bryant ended a 24-game homerless drought, the longest of his career, and Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber also went deep as the Chicago Cubs routed the St. Louis Cardinals 13-5 on Friday night.
”I know that there’s probably going to be plenty more times in my career when that happens and it’s all part of the journey,” Bryant said about his power outage. ”As much as we hate it as players Marcus Foligno Jersey , everybody goes through it at some point in their careers. It’s nothing new to me, so on the surface everything has been peachy and pretty easy for me, but it never felt easy.”
Bryant drilled a 448-foot, two-run shot to left field off an ineffective Michael Wacha in the third inning for his first home run since May 14. The 2016 NL MVP capped a six-run fifth with an RBI single and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. His four RBIs were a season high.
Bryant had been hitless in his four previous games. Cubs manager Joe Maddon sat the All-Star slugger on Wednesday and Thursday.
”It looked like the ball was coming (off his bat) hotter,” Maddon said. ”I thought KB looked good. He looked good. I loved the base hit, I loved the sacrifice fly.”
Jon Lester ran his scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the fourth as the Cubs won for the first time in four tries at Busch Stadium this season. Lester (8-2) allowed two runs in six innings to earn his fourth straight win.
”That might be the best stuff he’s had all year from my angle,” Maddon said. ”That velocity was there. He just continues to trend in the right direction.”
Lester helped himself at the plate, too, driving in a run on a bunt in the fourth and reaching on catcher Yadier Molina’s throwing error that led to a second run as the Cubs extended their lead to 5-0.
Anthony Rizzo had three hits, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Schwarber launched a three-run homer that traveled a projected 465 feet to straightaway center in the fifth, the third-longest homer by an opposing player in Busch Stadium III history.
Happ led off the third with a home run to right field. His first homer since May 22 snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs.
”We hit homers but we also did the little things well, too Clay Matthews Jersey ,” Maddon said. ”We ran the bases well.”
Wacha (8-2) allowed a career-high nine runs, eight earned, in a season-low four-plus innings. The three home runs he gave up tied a career high.
”I was just falling behind in the counts,” Wacha said. ”A lot of 1-0, 2-0s and just too many mistakes and they didn’t miss too many of them.”
Matt Carpenter homered in the sixth and drove in two runs, but the Cardinals lost their third consecutive game.
”Bottom line, we lost and it wasn’t pretty,” manager Mike Matheny said. ”And it’s a matter of trying to conserve arms, trying to get a couple guys off their feet and figure out a way to have some individual things that are done well and build on and have some confidence that will put us in a better spot tomorrow.”
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a 35-pitch bullpen. He is scheduled to throw another one when the team returns home next week.
Cardinals: 1B Luke Voit was recalled from Double-A Springfield and RHP Matt Bowman (right hand finger blisters) was activated from the 10-day disabled list. 1B Jose Martinez was placed on the paternity list and RHP Daniel Poncedeleon was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.48 ERA) starts Saturday night against RHP Carlos Martinez (3-2, 2.96). Hendricks has dropped three straight decisions for the first time in his career. Martinez has walked 12 over 7 2/3 innings in two starts since returning from a lat strain.