Werth had been watching clips in the video room and talking with Troy Gingrich, Class AAA Syracuse’s hitting coach who helped him during his rehab stint this season. He ran to the underground batting cages and took some swings.
“Didn’t have long, a whole 11 minutes to get ready,” Werth said. “Everything happened kinda fast.”
After waiting for 153 minutes, Werth’s at-bat lasted three minutes. Like he normally does, he fouled off three pitches and worked Bell into a 3-2 count. Bell fired a 95-mph fastball up and Werth crushed perhaps his longest home run of the season, deep into the Red Porch seats in center field to tie the game at 6. The Nationals were headed to their major league-leading 19th extra-inning game of the season, and second in as many nights.
After the Marlins chased Detwiler, four Nationals relievers combined to allow only two hits and one unearned run over the final five innings. Christian Garcia, Drew Storen and Clippard struck out eight of 10 batters they faced. Storen struck out all three in the 10th inning with a biting slider, allowing the Nationals to take the lead.
Adam LaRoche led off with a single to right field off Chad Gaudin. Desmond pushed a ball through the right side of the infield, perfect placement to allow LaRoche to get to third base. Gaudin intentionally walked Espinosa to load the bases.
Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen resorted to a rarely used fifth infielder, bringing left fielder Justin Ruggiano in play in front of second base, to cut down the winning-run at home. “I’ve never seen it work,” Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said.
This time, it did. Catcher Kurt Suzuki chopped a ball up the middle and Ruggiano threw out LaRoche at home. And now, Johnson sent in pinch-hitter Brown for only his second at-bat since being recalled four days before. He watched some of the Florida-Texas A&M football game and took some hacks in the batting cages when he heard the game would resume, thinking he would be in this situation.
After he lifted the game-winning hit to right field, the Nationals mobbed Brown in the infield, first to bear hug him Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi, teammates from the minor leagues. The long wait for an end was over.
“What a game,” Johnson said.