harper07052012

Nationals Sweep Giants Via Walk Off In One Of This Season’s Most Exciting Games

If you’re looking for an awesome story, Thursday night’s game between the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants is probably going to top the bill. Nationals Park was celebrating the 1924 World Series Game Seven between the Washington Senators and New York Giants where the Senators walked off with a series win in the 12th inning. It didn’t take that many innings, but the excitement was sure there. 

Ross Detwiler put together a sort of weird outing. He made it through five innings on 90 pitches, but he gave up 11 hits and two walks. Yet somehow, he only surrendered three runs. Detwiler didn’t exactly get much offensive support through those innings though. The Nats scored just one run for him, which came in the second inning, but the Nats had other plans for this ending.

In the seventh inning, the bats decided to wake up in a big way. The score was 5-1 as the Nats came up, and Ian Desmond showed why he was named to his first All-Star Game. He drilled a home run to right field, and Danny Espinosa followed up with a homer of his own to right center. Mark DeRosa surprised just about everyone with a double down the third base line, and Bryce Harper drove him in with a double following a Steve Lombardozzi single. All of a sudden, it was a 5-4 game.

The Nats failed to get anything going in the eighth, but the ninth inning just had that magic feeling. Three rookies, Tyler Moore, Lombardozzi, and Harper, were due up in the inning, and Moore didn’t disappoint. He drilled a double to the left-center field gap. After Lombardozzi reached base on an error by the pitcher, it was Bryce Harper time. It just seemed right that Harper would drive in the game-tying run with a single, moving Lombo to third. Santiago Casilla, the Giants closer, walked Ryan Zimmerman and got Michael Morse to ground out for the first out.

When Adam LaRoche came up, with Nats Park on its feet, he grounded to second base on the first pitch. It looked like a sure double play, but Brandon Belt couldn’t handle the throw at first base. Harper scored, and the Nats won 6-5 for their 48th win this season. They will now face the Colorado Rockies in the final series before the All-Star Break. There’s a real chance the Nats can enter the break with 50 wins.

Some thoughts:

- The Nats were able to sweep a Giants team that was leading their division when the series started and a team that had a Top 4 ERA in the National League. They did it with their No. 3, 4, and 5 starters against their No. 1, 2, and 3 starters, too. Anyone that isn’t watching this Nationals team with excitement doesn’t get excited for anything.

- Good Henry Rodriguez showed up in the eighth inning, which turned out to be critical in the game’s result. He allowed just one single and a balk, but he didn’t allow any runs to score. More importantly, he didn’t throw any wild pitches. I’m not sure we’ll see HRod closing or setting up games any time soon, but it’s good to know the Nats can call on him in relatively low-stress situations.

- Nats fans have showed they truly know how to be good fans. Without any prompting from a scoreboard or a cheerleader, they started chants when they were appropriate. They got into Bryce Harper’s 10-pitch at bat in the sixth inning. They came to their feet in the seventh when he hit his double. (If they would only stop doing the wave…) It was one of the more memorable nights I’ve ever had a ballpark, and the fans really added to the experience.

Joe Drugan

About Joe Drugan

Joe is the Managing Editor of The Nats Blog and host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast. He's been blogging about the Nationals since 2010 and with The Nats Blog since 2011.

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