WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jayson Werth, brought here to show the young Nationals how to win, has at the very least gotten them to a Game 5. Werth's line-shot home run decided one of the more pronounced pitchers' duels and sent the series with the World Champion Cardinals to a final and decisive game on Saturday.
The homer leading off the ninth inning, which gave the Nationals a 2-1 victory, sent the crowd into delirium. The Nats victory was the first home playoff win in this town in 79 years. So you can't blame the crowd for going as wild as Werth, who left the perennially-winning Phillies for a team that had lost year after year.
Long before the Stephen Strasburg controversy, there was a controversy over Werth's $126-million, seven-year free-agent deal. It looks like a bargain, for today anyway.
|More playoff coverage|
Werth's timing, on that pitch and with his signing, was excellent. The Nats have been having trouble scoring runs throughout the series. After barely eking out a win in game 1, St. Louis wrested momentum with 12-4 and 8-0 routs in Games 2 and 3, putting a damper on the enthusiasm of the upstart Nats.
But Werth was the one who said that if they can somehow win Game 4, he figured they'd have a pretty good chance with Nationals' active ace Gio Gonzalez going in game 5 Saturday. The complaints over the sitting of Strasburg could die down, at least for a while, if the Nats could pull out this series with their other ace going.
The Nationals No. 5 starter Ross Detwiler, in effect Strasburg's replacement, pitched six innings of one-run ball, which could help quiet the complaints. Three Nats relievers struck out eight Cardinals batters in three innings. In an oddity, the winner was Nats closer Drew Storen, while the loser was his Brownsburg, Ind. high school teammate Lance Lynn, who allowed the homer to Werth.