WASHINGTON -- There is a good reason Jayson Werth is known as Mr. Clutch. His walk-off single in the 12th inning delivered a 5-4 win for the Nationals against the Cubs on Wednesday at Nationals Park.By the time the game ended, the atmosphere felt like Game 4 of the 2012 National
WASHINGTON -- There is a good reason Jayson Werth is known as Mr. Clutch. His walk-off single in the 12th inning delivered a 5-4 win for the Nationals against the Cubs on Wednesday at Nationals Park.
By the time the game ended, the atmosphere felt like Game 4 of the 2012 National League Division Series, when Werth hit the game-winning home run to defeat the Cardinals. Only this time, it was the Cubs who were on the receiving end of a clutch Werth hit.
With the game tied at 4 and right-hander Adam Warren on the mound, Werth hit a 1-0 pitch off the fence in right-center to allow Michael Taylor to score with two outs. It was Werth's second game-winning hit in four days: He also had a walk-off single against the Phillies on Sunday.
"That was a crazy game. I'm glad we ended up on the right side of it," Werth said. "[The Cubs] have a good team. We have a good team. It was a battle. It was a good series. We played tough games at their place, too. We got swept, but I felt we played good enough to win a couple of those games."
Manager Dusty Baker didn't hesitate calling Werth his clutch man. In fact, the skipper thought about taking him out late in the game, but then he remembered Werth's reputation in the batter's box.
"He's a big-game guy. He's been that since he's been here," Baker said. "That's what I learned about Jayson. He wants to be in that situation. Every time he comes through, that makes it easier in his mind and our minds. … That's why I didn't take him out of the game."
At first, it looked like this might be a down season for Werth. By June 1, he was hitting .225, but since then Werth has raised his average to .248. As pitcher Max Scherzer said, never give up on Werth. Scherzer called him the leader on the team.
"He is a plus leader," Scherzer said. "He has the most experience of anybody on this team. His leadership on and off the field goes beyond measure. For him to have two walk-off wins is so huge. He kind of scuffled out of the gate. We are in June and he is really clicking gears and having some major offensive production for us. He just makes us go."
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.