Bill Ladson

Bench boppers: Nats getting power from subs

Blast by Drew is ninth pinch-hit home run for Washington this season

Bench boppers: Nats getting power from subs

WASHINGTON -- How good is the Nationals' bench? Washington has hit nine pinch-hit homers, a team record. It was infielder Stephen Drew who delivered the ninth in a 5-4 victory over the Cubs at Nationals Park on Wednesday evening.

The score was tied at 1 in the eighth inning when Drew hit a 2-0 pitch from Pedro Strop into the right-field stands to give Washington a one-run lead. It was his third pinch-hit homer of the season, tied for the team lead with Chris Heisey.

"It happened so long ago, it seemed like it was yesterday, but Stephen Drew has come through with some big hits," manager Dusty Baker said. "And that's what we were told. I wasn't here when they signed him yet. [General manager] Mike Rizzo knows him, had him in Arizona. He's come through with some big, big hits for us. Huge hits. "

Drew isn't the only member of the Nationals who has been productive off the bench. Heisey, Clint Robinson and Michael Taylor have all played a role in the Nats being in first place. In fact, Taylor kept Washington alive by driving in the game-tying run in the 12th inning.

Asked why the bench has been productive this season, Drew said, "Everybody picks each other up. We are not just one. We are a whole team. You pick somebody up, then you get a chance to win a game. It's a team game. You could see it in this series."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for 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.