Over a week ago, the Nationals sent two minor leaguers to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for cash and Jonny Gomes, a right-handed batter who was projected to primarily platoon in left field with Laynce Nix.
And until Tuesday, Gomes, a career .244 hitter with 115 home runs, had yet to made an emphatic mark on his new team. But in a crucial spot in the fourth inning in a 9-3 win over the Braves, Gomes showed part of why he was brought to Washington.
When starter John Lannan chopped a ground ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman with the bases loaded and only one out, Gomes tore down the third baseline towards home plate. Freeman’s high throw pulled catcher David Ross off the plate but it was Gomes’ somewhat awkward feet-first, hard-nosed slide that helped prevent Ross from trying to turn a double play. One batter later, Rick Ankiel smacked a grand slam to put the Nationals up for good in the game.
“A situation like that, bases loaded coming in from third, your mentality is almost like breaking up two at second,” Gomes said. “It is a double play situation where the guy just has to step on the plate and throw it to first and so you just want to create the same slide you would going into second and it worked. If I didn’t take him out, I don’t know if the double play is there or not but little things like that are going to help the ball club and help us score some runs.”
On Tuesday, Gomes collected his first extra-base hit as a National, a triple in the fifth inning that was mostly well-placed down the left field line but also thanks to his hustle around the bases. But that play at the plate was Gomes’ first run scored as a National and indicative, he said, of the style of play he brings to the team.
“Situation like that, you’re not playing for yourself,” said Gomes, who finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored on the night. “That’s just instant unselfishness and that’s what I can bring to a club. That and stretching a double into a triple, getting into scoring position for the guy behind me, when stuff like that happens, the ball can start rolling your way and we’re going to start scoring some more points.”
FROM THE POST
The Nationals bats awake for three home runs, 14 hits and
ten nine runs in a 9-3 win over Atlanta, led by Rick Ankiel’s fourth inning grand slam — his third home run in two games.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse 17, Toledo 2: The Chiefs rack up 20 hits, including six home runs. Corey Brown goes 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI, and Brad Peacock starts and allows two runs on one hit over four innings.
Hagerstown 3, Hickory 2: First baseman Sean Nicol goes 3-for-4 with a double and triple, while A.J. Cole allows two runs over five innings and Paul Applebee throws four scoreless innings for the save.
Auburn 13, Connecticut 3: Five Doubledays have multi-hit games, including catcher Jeremy Mayo who finishes 4-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and scores three runs.