Nats rally twice, pull out wild one in 10
Anderson scores winner on wild pitch after two comebacks
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies found themselves in bizarre situations in the late innings on Thursday night, but a heads-up play by Marlon Anderson in the bottom of the 10th helped Washington edge Philadelphia, 6-5, breaking the Nationals' four-game losing streak on Frank Robinson's 71st birthday.
It also turned out to be Anderson's last game in a Nationals uniform as he was traded to the Dodgers for Minor League right-hander Jhonny Nunez.
The Nationals were losing, 5-4, when they scored two runs off Phils left-hander Aaron Fultz. With runners on first and second and one out, Brian Schneider, who entered the game in the top of the seventh, singled to left field to drive in Nick Johnson with the tying run.
Schneider went 2-for-2 and is now 35-for-116 (.302) since July 8, raising his average from .220 to 249. Schneider is having success of late because he's no longer trying to pull the ball and is going to left field for base hits.
"[Going to left field] has gotten me on track since that West Coast trip, when I started hitting the ball a lot more the other way," Schneider said. "I was trying to do it all season long. That was the hardest thing because I was trying to and I was still rolling over balls [to the right side].
"I give [hitting coach] Mitchell Page a lot of credit, because he switched my stance and my mind-set a little bit and ever since then, it has been easier to hit the ball to left field. That's just the thing I have to work on. Not just think about left field, but right field, too. It sounds easy, but I wish it was that easy."
Then it was the baserunning by Anderson that helped the Nationals win the game. Bernie Castro followed Schneider and hit the ball to Shane Victorino in medium center field. Anderson tagged up and went to third base.
Ryan Church followed and he was ahead in the count, 2-0, when Fultz threw a breaking ball and Church swung and missed, but the ball skipped away from catcher Mike Lieberthal, and Anderson scored on the play.
"He's a guy that throws a lot of sliders and throw balls in the dirt," Anderson said. "You just kind of think, if he bounces it, you want to try to be aggressive and score. I knew I was going to get an aggressive lead. The third baseman is kind of back. They are not worried about me."
Said Fultz about the pitch, "I did everything I could do. Mike did everything just right. He blocked the ball and it bounced in front of him, just too far away for either of us to make a play."
It was the second comeback of the game for the Nats. They were down, 4-2, when they scored two runs off left-hander Arthur Rhodes in the ninth. The Nationals had the bases loaded and were down to their final out when Felipe Lopez singled to left field on a 2-2 pitch to drive in Anderson and Schneider.
The Phillies retook the lead in the top of the 10th with Ryan Wagner on the mound. The Phillies had runners on first and third and two outs when Jimmy Rollins appeared to swing and missed at a pitch. The ball hit Schneider's wrist and went to the backstop for a passed ball, allowing Abraham Nunez to score on the play. As it turned out, Rollins tipped the ball with his bat, but neither Schneider nor home-plate umpire Bruce Dreckman heard the ball hit the bat.
"When I came in the dugout and they asked me what happened, I really had no idea," Schneider said. "I couldn't give them a straight answer. I don't know if the ball cut or what happened. I said he may have foul-tipped it. The way it came in, you just don't miss it and have it hit you in the wrist. We slowed it down frame by-frame and I was going to catch it. The foul tip deflected off my wrist."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.