MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Washington Nationals were about out of pitchers, and first baseman Adam LaRoche was told he would take the mound next in an emergency situation.
Ryan Zimmerman made sure LaRoche didn't have to pitch by hitting a two-run home run in the 16th inning to lift the Nationals to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Washington manager Matt Williams told LaRoche to get ready to pitch the bottom of the 16th had the game remained tied.
"I'd rather not see that and go home any day of the week, but I'm sure Rochey is mad at me for hitting the home run," Zimmerman said. "I guess I'll have to see it maybe another time."
Zimmerman hit a 2-0 pitch off Mike Fiers (0-1) over the wall in left field for the Nationals fourth consecutive win.
"I've had a rough past two weeks or so, but I kept grinding it out," said Zimmerman, who was in an 8-for-53 slump coming into the game. "I got myself into a good count and put a good swing on the pitch."
LaRoche last pitched in a minor-league game in 2003 and would have had a tough time matching the team's bullpen, which threw 10 scoreless innings against the Brewers. Tyler Clippard (5-2) pitched the 15th for the win.
Rafael Soriano capped the bullpen's excellent work by pitching the 16th for his 18th save.
"It's not the ideal situation, we've been pretty taxed down there," Clippard said. "But you know what? We wanted this win and we stepped up tonight."
With one out in the 16th, LaRoche hit a sharp single that bounced off the wall in right field on one hop. Zimmerman then hit his third home run of the year to give the Nationals the lead in a game that took 5 hours, 22 minutes.
"We'd been scratching and clawing and trying to get a run across," Williams said. "We had some opportunities but that is a big swing for us right there."
The Brewers threatened in the 13th, 14th and 15th innings.
"We had some chances today and we just had some bad at-bats," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
Lyle Overbay was stranded on third base in the 13th when Carlos Gomez hit a soft liner to shortstop to end the inning.
In the 14th, Denard Span kept the Nationals alive with a leaping catch at the wall to rob Elian Herrera of an extra-base hit that likely would have scored Khris Davis from first and won the game for Milwaukee.
Continue reading this story on the...