Schwarber hits walk-off homer to cap 1-0 win over Dbacks

Kyle Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber entered the bottom of the ninth in an 0-for-12 slump.

The Nationals’ leftfielder got a late start to the season after a COVID outbreak in the clubhouse forced him to sit out the team’s first six games. He racked up four hits in his first two games against the St. Louis Cardinals but couldn’t get anything going from there, entering Friday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with five strikeouts in his last nine at-bats.

“I know Kyle yesterday was frustrated,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said before the game. “I said, ‘Hey, it's just your timing. You're gonna get it, don't worry about it. You've missed some time so you'll get it here soon.’”

Washington’s offense as a whole struggled Friday, scattering four hits across the first eight innings. Starter Max Scherzer turned in a vintage performance; he struck out 10 Diamondbacks with two hits and two walks allowed across seven scoreless frames. Relievers Daniel Hudson and Brad Hand handled their frames as well, sending the game into the bottom of the ninth knotted at 0-0.

That’s when Schwarber busted out of his slump.

Schwarber signed with the Nationals over the winter to give them some pop in the middle of their lineup. He did just that Friday, hitting his first home run with the club a staggering 463 feet onto the right field concourse.

“It’s crazy, you go out there and go into St. Louis, you have those first couple good games and you hit a couple balls hard in that last game and come in here yesterday and I was frustrated with that last at-bat,” Schwarber said after the walk-off win. “I thought it was a pitch I could handle and I ended up popping it up. But you know what? Every day is a new day. I’m gonna come back. Just because I hit a home run, doesn’t mean I’m not gonna come back and trust me I’m gonna keep grinding.”