Limited to pinch-hit duties, Nix comes up big
Sore right Achilles keeps Nats outfielder out of starting lineup
WASHINGTON -- Still bothered by a sore right Achilles tendon, Laynce Nix was out of the starting lineup again on Thursday.
He came on to pinch-hit with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly in the Nationals' 1-0 win over the Mariners.
"[He] is better today, certainly available to hit, but we're going to give him another day off of running around in left field and see if he can play tomorrow," Jim Riggleman said before the game.
Nix came out of Tuesday's game and has been listed as day-to-day. The foot continues to hamper him.
Since the Nationals play their next six games in American League parks -- they visit the White Sox and Angels --- the designated hitter is an option. Riggleman said that he'd rather use Matt Stairs in that role and see if Nix could go against a right-handed pitcher. Chicago sends out Edwin Jackson in the series opener.
Nix is hitting .280 with 10 homers and 28 RBIs this season. He said also that he's not expecting to DH in the AL cities. Nix is undergoing various treatments, and it's the first time he's dealt with it.
"It's kind of new to me," he said. "[But] hitting's no problem."
Bernadina leads off with right-hander on hill
WASHINGTON -- Jim Riggleman made a minor shift to the top of his lineup for Thursday's 1-0 win over the Mariners, putting Roger Bernadina in the leadoff spot and moving Jayson Werth to second.
Werth has been the team's leadoff hitter for the past 10 games, but Riggleman said that the Nationals feel Werth's best spot is batting second.
Bernadina has led off at times, and even though he came in with a .276 batting average, the center fielder is only hitting .171 versus left-handers.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"I always feel that that the one- and two-spots are somewhat interchangeable," Riggleman said. "I think, in a perfect world, if Roger's going good, we can hit Roger first against righties, Jayson second -- that plays out better for us. Against a left-handed pitcher, the situation's a little different. We don't really have a leadoff hitter, so it would be Jayson."
Riggleman said the team is still searching for a consistent leadoff hitter versus left-handed pitchers. For now, Werth apparently will have the job while Bernadina is going to take it against right-handers.
Starter Jason Marquis needed just five pitches to get through the top of the first inning in Thursday's game.
The Nationals have won four consecutive series, thanks to victories in the first two games against the Mariners. Washington now is 5-1-1 in its past seven series and has wins in 11 of the past 12 games.
The Nationals have won nine consecutive games against the Mariners. It's their longest active winning streak versus another team.
Opposing hitters have just a .179 batting average against Drew Storen, who's converted 18 of 20 save opportunities so far this season.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.