Werth the wait: 11th-pitch HR sets stage for Nats

Werth the wait: 11th-pitch HR sets stage for Nats

WASHINGTON -- Jayson Werth set the tone for the Nationals' come-from-behind 7-6 victory in the ninth inning Wednesday night against the Orioles, battling right-hander Brad Brach to an 11-pitch at-bat before hammering a solo home run to right-center field to begin the inning.

"It's tough to put 11 pitches in your first at-bat against any closer," said Nats catcher Matt Wieters, who eventually won the game with a walk-off two-run single against his former team. "To be able to tire him out a little bit there, not only did [Werth] hit a homer later in the at-bat, he probably got some [later] guys some pitches up in the zone and got Brad's pitch count up."

The Nationals began the inning trailing by two runs, with Brach on the mound to protect the lead. Manager Dusty Baker had left Werth out of the initial version of the Nationals' lineup Wednesday because Werth had battled back spasms the previous night. But Werth felt much better by the time he arrived to Nationals Park, and went to Baker's office to talk his way into the lineup.

"And the rest is history, I guess," Werth, who finished 2-for-3 with two walks, said with a smile.

Brach battled Werth to a 2-2 count before Werth spoiled three consecutive pitches. Then Werth did not chase a splitter that dove out of the zone for ball three, which Werth called the pitch of the at-bat.

"If I swing at that I'm probably out and we're not here sitting here talking about this," he said.

After the count ran full, Werth battled off another pair of pitches before he hammered the 11th pitch into the stands. The homer cut the deficit to one, and it gave the Nationals new life before Wieters eventually won the game.

"It was tough," Brach said. "Looking back at it, I threw some really good pitches. He got the upper hand there toward the end and just was able to drive one out to right-center field."

Werth is becoming known for working at-bats deep into counts and then homering, a reputation he developed when he hit a walk-off homer during the 13th pitch of an at-bat in Game 4 of the 2012 National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

"I think on some level, as the at-bat goes on, I feel more comfortable," Werth said. "Obviously, kind of get a chance to see what he's got and you get in rhythm with him maybe a little bit, but I don't know."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.