By the sound of the bat, it was a go ahead two-out, two-RBI double for San Francisco Giant’ Hunter Pence. For Washington Nationals‘ center fielder Denard Span, it was a chance to make the defensive play of the year for the Nationals.
Entering the game, it was no secret that the Nationals hitters had Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum’s number. No matter how well he’s pitching entering a contest with the D.C. ball club, the Nats always seem to find a way put up runs against the Giants’ ace and Wednesday night was no different.
Lincecum lasted six innings and gave up six earned runs on seven hits. Ian Desmond highlighted the Nationals offensive onslaught with a solo shot and Anthony Rendon knocked a two-RBI double of his own.
But, like the old saying goes: Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Except, tonight’s game didn’t have a championship on the line. Oh well, you know what I mean!
After the Nationals bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth to make it a 6-4 Nationals lead, Rafael Soriano came on to pitch the ninth looking for his 31st save of the season.
Soriano then gave up a run of his own and put a man on first and second with two outs. At the plate was one of the Giants’ most lethal offensive weapons, Hunter Pence. He entered the at-bat 2-for-3 and was looking to do more damage.
Pence gave a Soriano pitch quite a shot into left-center field and the Nationals faithful hoped that it would only score one run. Suddenly, Denard Span came flying in and made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track to end the game.
Last season, center field was hole that the Nationals tried to fill by staying in house. When they went out and signed Span in the offseason, many believed that he was the fix they needed. While Span has proven his worth often this season, Wednesday night’s dramatic play was more than enough to solidify himself in the outfield for years to come.
Once again, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has made a strong statement for the NL Cy Young award. He picked up his NL-leading 14th win of the year and now boasts an ERA of 3.02 and WHIP of 1.09. While he didn’t get very many strike outs, just two, he still had command of the strike zone by forcing a whopping 13 ground-ball outs and six fly-ball outs.
The Nationals now have a golden opportunity in front of them for game three of the series. Not only can they extend their win streak to six and make it the longest of the season, but they can also get back to the .500 mark, a place they haven’t been since July 20.