Fan favorite Dunn delivers walk-off shot
Slugger hopeful of reaching deal to remain in Washington
WASHINGTON -- Nationals fans continue to show how much they love Adam Dunn. On Tuesday night, they chanted, "Sign Adam Dunn!"
The left-handed-hitting slugger, who is a free agent after the season, didn't disappoint them, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Nationals over the Phillies, 2-1, at Nationals Park.
"I heard people yelling and stuff. That's really good for fans to kind of voice their opinions," said winning pitcher Drew Storen.
With the game tied at 1 and Phils reliever Jose Contreras on the mound, Dunn hit a 2-0 pitch deep to right-center field for his 38th homer of the season. The ball landed in the second deck.
"I was taking early in the count and when he got behind, 2-0, I was looking for a pitch that I could square up," Dunn said. "I don't think about [hitting a home run], but I want to make sure I get the barrel to it. When you get yourself in a hitter's count, you want to be aggressive, especially in that situation. You just want to look in an area and swing. If not, let it go."
The fans don't want to see the Nationals let Dunn go after the season. In two years in Washington, Dunn has hit 76 home runs and produced 208 RBIs. Dunn said he appreciates the support of the fans after not receiving the same support from Reds fans.
"The people [here] care what I do, what decision I make," Dunn said. "That has never happened to me in my career. It's awesome. ... They have been great. They have every opportunity to boo us out of the stadium. They just come to watch baseball. We are their home team. That's hard to find nowadays."
Dunn has said in the past that he would like a four-year deal to remain with the Nationals, but they're are not giving him that kind of contract. They are willing to listen to a three-year deal at the right price.
Baseball people in the organization are split on whether to give Dunn an extension. Some are saying he is worth signing because of the offense he brings to the table. Others have focused on his below-average defense and his enormous amount of strikeouts.
Both Dunn and general manager Mike Rizzo declined to talk about how the negotiations are going, but Dunn wished he had his extension.
"I wish it would have been over with a long time ago," he said. "It's not the worst thing that has ever happened to me. My job is to play."
Dunn, according to Storen, is more than just a player. He is good to have around the clubhouse.
"He is not a guy that will get in anybody's face. I think he just leads by example, especially for a guy like me that is a reliever," Storen said. "You see a guy like that who plays every day and doesn't get up or down, you want to follow that lead. It's not like he goes around and says, 'I'm not upset today.' He just does it. He just shows it."
Wednesday could be the last day that Dunn plays a home game in a Nationals uniform. But he said he is not worried about the future.
"I'm not going to go into tomorrow saying this is my last game ever, cry, and hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards," he said. "I'm not going to do that. I don't know what you want me to say. I don't know what is going to happen. If I did I would tell you. I'm going to go into tomorrow thinking we have a chance to win the series against the National League East division champs."
The Nats got off to a good start against right-hander Roy Oswalt without the benefit of a hit. With Nyjer Morgan on second, Ian Desmond hit a ground ball to shortstop Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies had Morgan hung up between second and third. Rollins threw the ball to third baseman Gregg Dobbs, who allowed the ball to go past him for an error and put runners on second and third.
Dunn was the next hitter and grounded out to first baseman Ryan Howard, but Morgan scored on the play to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
The Phillies would tie the score in the fourth on a homer by Raul Ibanez before Dunn ended the game with his 17th game-winning RBI of the season.
"He is a big part of this team, not only on the field, but in the clubhouse," said right-hander Jason Marquis. "Hopefully, they could keep him here. Obviously, tonight was special with the walk-off homer. He got a lot of big hits for the organization this year. He is a big presence in the middle of the lineup."