NEW YORK -- Denard Span's back must be feeling better. The center fielder's RBI infield single in the 11th inning gave the Nationals just enough for a 5-4 win over the Yankees on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. In his return to the lineup after back tightness, Span narrowly beat out the throw from second baseman Stephen Drew, which allowed Tyler Moore to score the winning run.
"Just dug deep and tried to get to first," Span said. "I actually feel OK, which is encouraging."
Both teams' offenses started slowly but got going in the late innings. Trailing, 2-0, in the seventh, Brendan Ryan hit an RBI triple to get the Yankees on the board, and a Brett Gardner double knocked him in and tied the game. Alex Rodriguez then sent a double over Span's head in center field to score Gardner. Brian McCann's high-hopping single over Ian Desmond's head scored another run to give the Yanks a 4-2 lead.
The Nationals responded with a two-run home run from Michael Taylor in the eighth to tie the game at 4 before heading into extra innings.
"This is definitely an uphill battle, especially in New York [against] a team that was red hot," Gonzalez said. "Give credit to a lot of these guys. They're busting their tail and we're coming up with wins."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Welcome back: Span opened and closed the scoring in what had been a quiet game, squeezing a ground ball down the third-base line for an RBI double in the third inning. He added another hit in the fifth before his game-winning infield single in the 11th. The game marked Span's return to the lineup after being removed before the eighth inning on Sunday, when he stood up and felt tightness in his back. He was a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup.
Coming from behind: For the second game in a row, the seventh inning proved to do the trick for the Yankees. Tuesday night, they put up a four-run seventh before following it up with four more on Wednesday in the seventh. Trailing, 2-0, heading into the inning, Chris Young got the ball rolling with a single to left field. Ryan tripled to bring Young home, and then scored on a Gardner double to tie the game at 2. Rodriguez doubled to score Gardner and McCann's RBI single to center field extended the lead.
Runnin' Ryan: Ryan was activated for Wednesday's game after spending all season up until this point either injured or rehabbing a right calf strain he sustained in Spring Training. In his third at-bat of the afternoon, Ryan belted a triple to center field to score Young from first base and cut the Nationals' lead to one run. More >
Good call, Skip: When Nationals manager Matt Williams put Taylor in the game, it was for his defensive contributions in left field. But it ended up being Taylor's bat that helped the cause. In his first at-bat of the game, Taylor took a pitch from Yankees reliever Jacob Lindgren and put it over the short porch in right field, tying the game at 4.
"He shows me he can hit. He's unbelievable, he's fun to watch. He just runs into a lot of pitches out over the plate and he's capitalizing. Up-and-coming star." -- Gonzalez, on Taylor, whose eighth-inning home run sent the game to extra innings
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Entering the seventh inning, Bryce Harper had never faced a Major League pitcher younger than him, a streak consisting of his career's first 1,733 plate appearances. When Lindgren entered the game, that streak ended -- Lindgren is 147 days younger than Harper. He forced a flyout to left field.
Harper said he didn't know the streak existed until it was brought to his attention after the game. "Hopefully they're all younger than me one day, and I play until I'm 40 years old, face a 19- or 20-year-old," he said. More >
A hit-and-run by McCann and Didi Gregorius went wrong in the 10th, with McCann striking out as Gregorius was thrown out stealing second base. When the call was made, Gregorius immediately signaled to the Yankees' dugout for a challenge, and manager Joe Girardi obliged -- his 13th challenge of the season. A three-minute, 14-second video replay review resulted in the call standing, which ended the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: The Nats continue their eight-game road trip in Milwaukee, sending right-hander Tanner Roark to the mound on Thursday against the Brewers at 8:10 p.m. ET. Roark is 2-0 with a 3.78 ERA since being added to the rotation on May 25.
Yankees: After an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees will travel to Baltimore to match up with the Orioles. Michael Pineda will take the mound in Friday's opener at 7:07 ET. The Yankees decided to have Pineda skip his last turn in the rotation in an effort to be cautious with his total innings. Pineda is 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA this season.