The 32,000-plus fans who bought tickets to the Independence Day showdown between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs were treated to their money's "werth"**, and then some, as the hometown Nats defeated the Cubs 5-4 in extra innings courtesy of a Carlos Marmol wild pitch.
Much maligned free agent signing Jayson Werth drew a walk to start the tenth inning, and new skipper Davey Johnson elected to pinch hit Livan Hernandez. Hernandez calmly walked off the bench, into the batters box, and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Werth to second. Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney fell asleep, allowing Werth to easily steal third, and Carlos Marmol then gift-wrapped the game, uncorking a wild pitch to the wall that allowed Werth to score the wining run.
Jordan Zimmerman started for Washington and had his worst outing in months, going six innings but allowing four runs on eights hits, walking one and striking out five. His four earned are a bit deceiving though, as Roger Bernadina and Werth decided to reenact a Little League "You got it? No you got? Nobody got it" play in the top of the third inning, allowing two Chicago runners to score.
Laynce Nix was the star at the plate for Washington, going two for four with a triple and two runs batted in. Werth, in what must be his most enjoyable game played in weeks, also drove in two.
Spot starter Casey Coleman gave the Cubs probably more than they expected, lasting 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, striking out five and walking one. Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena did the damage for the Chicago at the plate, going a combined five for eight and scoring three runs.
Washington is once again .500 on the season, at 43-43. The Nats also return to 10 games above .500 at home, sporting a stellar 25-15 record at Nationals Park. Tuesday evening, former Nat Ramon Ortiz will face Ross Detwiler, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse for the 7:05 P.M. first pitch.
**I just couldn't help myself