ATLANTA -- Nationals outfielder Matt den Dekker received the news of his promotion at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon while stretching with Triple-A Syracuse. When asked if den Dekker would be at that night's game against the Braves, manager Dusty Baker jokingly said, "He might be here in the eighth or ninth to win the game."
den Dekker, who was recalled when Ben Revere was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, didn't arrive at Turner Field until the top of the fifth inning. He then went to the indoor batting cage to take some cuts before heading to dugout in the bottom of the sixth inning to join his teammates.
When he entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Stephen Strasburg, the score was tied at 1. With runners on first and second and two outs, den Dekker swung at a 2-1 pitch from Braves right-hander Bud Norris and hit the ball in the gap in right-center field to score Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa.
"It felt great to help the team win," den Dekker said. "It's good to be back here with the team. Coming here with a bunch of guys who are welcoming, it makes it easy for me to come out here and do stuff like that."
den Dekker was one of the final cuts before the Nationals set their 25-man roster last weekend. Baker was reluctant to send him down after he was productive in Spring Training with the bat and glove. But the skipper told den Dekker to be ready if needed. Baker didn't think he would need him this quickly, however. For den Dekker, there was no time to overanalyze the situation.
"He just got off the plane and came through for us. Man, that was something," Baker said. "He came through with a big, big hit. That was huge because that was a close game. Both pitchers [Strasburg and Norris] were dealing. We got a couple of guys thrown out, they got a couple of guys thrown out. It wasn't really a game you could teach the kids about baserunning."