Cardinals’ Lance Lynn on Jayson Werth’s marathon at-bat, walk-off homer: ‘He beat me’

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

By the time Lance Lynn wound up for a 13th pitch to Jayson Werth in the ninth, there were few secrets between pitcher and batter.

“Everyone in this stadium knew what I was throwing there,” Lynn said of the 96 mph fastball Werth sent screaming over the outfield wall for a 2-1 walk-off Nationals victory. “You tip your cap to him, the guy can play and he beat me.”

While his disappointment was evident, Lynn didn’t express regret at the way he approached the marathon, 13-pitch at-bat.

“You’re in a game like this against a leadoff hitter who’s a good player,” Lynn said. “He’s going to do everything he can to get on base and, you know, it may have been my best pitch and he hit it out of the ballpark.”

Werth worked to a 2-2 count on the first four pitches and then fouled off the next six of Lynn’s offerings, which included five fastballs and a curve. A 79-mph curve outside brought it to a 3-2 count next and then Werth fouled off yet another fastball for pitch No. 12 before sending his shot into the night.

“I was making good pitches, making my pitches and, he won,” Lynn said. “That’s part of the game and I’d love for it to go the other way. For him to roll over that pitch and go into the next hitter but sometimes it doesn’t work out in your favor.”

With the score tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny opted to go with Lynn, a starter who was sent to the bullpen mid-season, rather than closer Jason Motte, who finished the regular season tied for third-most saves (42) in the major leagues.

Matheny explained that he wanted to leave Motte for a potential save situation, if the contest had gone to extra innings.

“If we were at home, it would have been a very easy decision to bring in Motte,” Matheny said when asked about the decision. “We are looking at a team that had every save of our season by Jason Motte, and we take a lead there at any point, you’re asking one of our guys, especially one of our young guys, who have never been in that situation to come in and close out a game. And that’s a lot to ask.”

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