Washington Nationals Beat Philadelphia Phillies, Pass Arizona Diamondbacks In Playoff Race

By James Williams
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals remain on life support after beating the Philadelphia Phillies last night 9-6. In the process they remain 7.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the race for the final National League Wild Card spot, but they did pass the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Watching the Nationals and Phillies play last night looked more like a game that would be played in early March at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater. It really did not look like a  Major League baseball game, in the midst of a playoff drive being played at Citizens Bank Park.  Both teams kicked the ball around the field playing some of the worst defense thus far this season. The two combined for 13 walks, four errors, four homers, one balk and five wild pitches.

The most important stat for the Nationals was the final score, which marked a 9-6 Nationals victory — their 70th of the 2013 season. At this point in the season when you are fighting for your playoff life there is no such thing as an  “ugly win,” there are just wins.

In his postgame press conference manager Davey Johnson summed things up this way:

“That was an ugly game, that’s all I can tell you. One of the uglier ones I’ve seen. Gio Gonzalez had a real rough start, threw a lot of pitches and he hung in there, but it was sloppy behind him. That’s not the way you win pennants, I’ll tell you that. We squeaked it out… As ugly as it was, it sure was delightful to win.”

The game was played before an announced crowd of 28,826, the smallest  crowd the Phillies have played before since the first week of the 2008 season.

There was a nice moment last night as Corey Brown, called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Syracuse, stepped to the plate for his first major league at-bat of the season with two outs in the seventh and crushed a 95-mph 1-2 fastball from Luis Garcia. It landed in the second deck in right field.

The Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, speaking to the press after the game reflected on his 5.2 inning performance which was still good enough for the win:

“A win doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be a win.  At the end of the day, it’s just one of those things. We turn the page, move forward and hopefully tomorrow will be a different game. It’ll be something a little more smoother.”

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning, producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and be part of his Google+ group.

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