Springfield native Adam Eaton came through in the clutch for the second straight game in the National League Championship Series, helping the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
» EARLIER COVERAGE: Eaton starts winning rally in NLDS clincher
Eaton’s line-drive double down the right-field line against Adam Wainwright in the eighth inning scored two runs and gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead. It proved to be the game-winning hit when the Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the eighth.
In the postgame press conference, Eaton was asked about the at-bat and whether he expected the Cardinals to turn to reliever Andrew Miller after the starter, Wainwright, allowed back-to-back one-out singles.
“You're going to have to keep locked in on who is on the mound at the time,” said Eaton, a 2007 Kenton Ridge graduate who played three seasons for the Miami RedHawks before being drafted in the 19th round in 2010. “I didn't even try to look out into the bullpen to see who is warming up because now you're trying to think managerial when you should be just focused on hitting. So I walked to the plate facing Wainwright and him and Yadi (Molina) were kind of confusing me all day in that at-bat and keeping me really, really off balance. And in that sense 3-2, kind of knew he was going to go to the breaking ball, more so than any other pitch — or any other at-bat that I've had. And I knew he had to throw it for a strike, so it kind of gave me an opportunity to sit on it and got it and hit it where they weren't.”
At that point, Eaton was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He referenced “Seinfeld” in explaining how changed his approach in his fourth at-bat.
“Everything I was thinking, they did the opposite,” Eaton said. “So I was thinking 3-2 should be a heater here and I'm like, well, that's the opposite, so I should George Costanza it and just go ahead and said, ‘Breaking ball,’ and that's what happened and George was right and I happened to be right.”
» PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Eaton excited to make postseason debut
Eaton faced a similar situation in Game 1 on Friday when he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts entering the seventh inning. Then he tripled with one out and scored later in the inning on a single by Howie Kendrick, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead, a score that stood up.
Washington now heads home with a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 starts at 7:38 p.m. Monday.
“I'm excited,” Eaton said. “Our park has been absolutely legit when it comes to the fan base and them coming out and supporting us.”
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