WASHINGTON -- During Spring Training, outfielder Jayson Werth called himself an opportunistic baserunner, and he proved it on Friday night as the Nationals defeated the Brewers, 4-3, in 10 innings at Nationals Park.
With one out, the score tied at 3 and left-hander Zach Braddock on the mound, Werth came to the plate and hit a grounder to Yuniesky Betancourt, who made a throwing error past first baseman Prince Fielder, which allowed Werth to go to second.
Werth went to steal third without a throw. As for how Werth reached third base in the first place, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said, "We knew he was going to steal. Zach looked at him, but I could tell what Werth was doing. He was trying to time him, and he had him timed."
With Milwaukee's infield in, Adam LaRoche took a 3-2 pitch from Braddock and hit a grounder to Fielder at first base, who threw the ball wide, allowing Werth to score the winning the run.
Fielder dispelled the notion that he may have struggled to get a good grip on the baseball after fielding LaRoche's grounder.
"No, that wasn't it," Fielder said. "I mean, it happened pretty quick. He just beat me."
Would a perfect throw have gotten Werth?
"I'm not sure," Fielder said. "I don't like to do that. He was safe, and we'll get them tomorrow."
Since Spring Training, the Nationals said they were going to be more athletic during the regular season. Friday was an example of how athletic they can be.
"One of the things that we talk about is the athleticism and the athleticism has been added to club," manager Jim Riggleman said. "I think the 10th inning was the great example. Jayson was really aggressive to second base to begin with. The ball gets away. I've seen a lot of players hesitate to go and then not go.
"He is at second, and he aggressively steals third. He gets a great jump on a ground ball with the infield in. He scored the run."
With the Nationals' offense struggling this season, Werth felt he had to make things happen.
"I come to the ballpark ready to play and play my game," Werth said. "I try to take advantage of certain situations, play the game hard, play the game the right way and good things could happen.
"We were going [to the plate] on contact the whole time. With Fielder off the bag, I was able to get a bigger lead. You have to be careful in that situation, because the last thing you want to do is get picked off."
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny was solid on the mound, pitching six innings and allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out four hitters and walked two others. He picked up his first no-decision of the season. It also marked the 13th straight game in which a Nationals pitcher went at least five innings in a game.
His only bad inning occurred in the fifth. With Wil Nieves on second, Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer to make it a 3-2 game.
Gorzelanny was in line to be the winning pitcher as early as the second inning, when the Nationals scored three runs. With Chris Narveson on the mound and the bases loaded, Jerry Hairston walked to score LaRoche. Gorzelanny followed and walked to drive in Wilson Ramos. Danny Espinosa then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Michael Morse.
After Gorzelanny left the game, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen blanked Milwaukee. Sean Burnett, on the other hand, blew his first save of the season as Carlos Gomez's ninth-inning single drove in Weeks, which sent the game to extras.
However, Washington managed to snap its modest two-game losing streak and improve to 6-7.
"It's a long season. We just need to keep doing the little things and win the ballgames that we should win," Werth said. "We have given away a lot of games this year already -- the games we had a chance to win and didn't. Hopefully, we'll start getting those close games and get over .500. Who knows what can happen. We have a good club, a lot of talent and a long season like I said."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.