Stras caps solid season with win over D-backs
Right-hander backed by three-run homers from Ramos, Werth
By Bill Ladson / 9/28/2013 3:07 AM ET
PHOENIX -- The Nationals may not be going to the postseason this year, but they showed on Friday night that they wanted to end the regular season on a positive note. Three-run homers by Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos helped the Nationals pound the D-backs, 8-4, at Chase Field.
The Nationals were down, 2-1, when they scored four runs in the fifth inning off left-hander Patrick Corbin. First, Anthony Rendon plated Tyler Moore from second with a double down the left-field line.
Four batters later, the Nationals had runners on first and third when Werth swung at a 1-2 pitch and hit a mammoth home run to make it a 5-2 game. The ball hit the facing of the second deck in left field. The distance was an estimated 448 feet.
"I hit that one pretty good. Coming down to the end of the season, I felt like that may have been my last one [for the season]. That was a good one. I enjoyed it," Werth said.
Corbin said he threw a pitch to Werth right down the middle.
"If I throw a better pitch there, maybe I go out for another inning and try to finish with a good outing," Corbin said. "That's baseball, though. It can turn that quick. It's something I'll learn from."
The Nationals added insurance runs three innings later when Ramos hit a three-run homer off right-hander Chaz Roe. On the season, Ramos has hit 16 home runs and driven in 59 runs. Imagine what his line would look like if he had stayed healthy. He's only played in 77 games because of hamstring issues.
"I'm very happy for what I did this year," Ramos said. "I know I'm coming back from the [knee] surgery [last year] and the injuries to my hammy. ... I have pretty good numbers this year. I think right now, what I can do if I'm healthy all year. This offseason, I'm going to work on my body and next year try to stay healthy all season. Let's see what happens. Let's what I can do."
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg won his eighth game of the season. He lasted seven innings, allowed two runs on six hits and struck out four batters. Strasburg finished the year with 183 innings pitched and 191 strikeouts. He went seven or more innings in 16 of his 30 starts.
"Obviously, there were a few games there, based on different circumstances, I didn't even try to go to seven innings. It was a good accomplishment for me. I'm going to keep pushing forward," Strasburg said.
It was the first year Strasburg wasn't under any restrictions, but he realizes that he has some improvements to make.
"I would say I learned a lot. It's about whether or not I can apply them. One thing is holding runners better," he said. "I really didn't care how the game went today. I wanted to make sure they didn't [get] free bases. I was able to do that. I know if I work on that, it's going to save me a lot of runs."
Manager Davey Johnson thought Strasburg had a great season, but that he wasn't the beneficiary of much run support.
"We didn't score many runs for him. A bunch of times, we didn't score any runs, one run or two runs when he was starting," Johnson said. "His numbers indicated he should have won 15 ballgames, at least. He was certainly consistent all year long."
Strasburg's only blemish in Friday's contest occurred in the third inning. Didi Gregorius scored the first run of the game on a single by Gerardo Parra, while Corbin touched home plate on a double-play ball hit by Paul Goldschmidt.
"He started off slow, like a little rusty, wasn't making his pitches. He left the ball up," Johnson said. "Then he settled down and he pitched a good ball game. He had a great season. He is going to have a great career."
Werth said Strasburg has a high ceiling, but still has a lot to learn.
"This year has been good for him. It has been a challenging year. It has been a trying year for him," Werth said. "It probably didn't go exactly the way he wanted it to, but he pitched well. He grew up throughout the year. It's definitely something he can build on."
With the victory, the Nationals improved their record to 85-75.