MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Touch of clutch: Werth again lifts Nationals

Down to last strike, veteran delivers game-winning hit

Touch of clutch: Werth again lifts Nationals

WASHINGTON -- It seems like every time the Nationals need a clutch hit, they can count on Jayson Werth to come through. That was the case in a 5-4 victory over the Phillies on Sunday afternoon.

Werth's nickname should be Mr. Clutch from now on. After all, this is the guy who hit the game-winning homer to beat the Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Division Series in 2012.

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Werth said he always dreamed about getting game-winning hits for his team back when he was playing in the backyard. It has carried over as a Major Leaguer.

"I've been lucky to get those chances during my career. I want to win, I want to help my teammates win and be part of a championship team. Whatever I can do," Werth said.

Werth's two-run walk-off single

The Nationals were down, 4-3, in the ninth inning when they rallied off closer Jeanmar Gomez. After Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa reached on singles and Clint Robinson walked to load the bases, Werth drove a 2-2 pitch up the middle, scoring Harper and Espinosa to end the game.

Werth said he had trouble tracking the ball in the late-afternoon shadows.

"The shadows set in pretty good. It was tough to see," Werth said. "The first pitch I was taking all the way. I was trying to see if I could pick up an arm slot. I was really struggling to see until about the third pitch. I had an idea of where the ball was coming. Luckily, I got into a count and [Gomez] made a good pitch, 2-1. He stayed with the fastball. I was surprised. The guy has a good off-speed pitch. He has a good changeup and slider. I smacked [the fastball] up the middle."

The walk-off win completed a three-game sweep for the Nationals, who chased Werth into right field in celebration. There was manager Dusty Baker doing his hop, skip and a jump in front of the dugout after the winning run scored. Werth was then doused with Gatorade twice.

"You are just glad it didn't happen on the road," Baker said. "No matter what he is doing or how he is playing, Jayson has been a clutch man all these years. A clutch man knows how to come through."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.