Aug 21, 2012, 6:47 AM EDT
US Presswire photo
Nationals fans celebrate as Danny Espinosa scores in the bottom of the 13th.
In a marathon ballgame that featured plenty of young players in Nationals uniforms experiencing pennant race baseball for the first time in their lives, who would have thought the winning run would wind up scoring because of a brain cramp by the Braves’ three-time All-Star and seven-year veteran?
Maybe there truly is something special about the 2012 Nationals, who kept trying to find ways to lose Monday night’s showdown with Atlanta yet managed to hang around long enough to watch Dan Uggla butcher Chad Tracy’s sharp grounder in the bottom of the 13th, allowing Danny Espinosa to slide across the plate with the run that gave the home team a thrilling 5-4 victory in the most significant game in the club’s brief history.
“We’re very young,” manager Davey Johnson said. “This is great. This is the learning curve. This is experience.”
The opener of a three-game series that could see the Nationals all but bury the Braves in the division race — or allow their lone remaining competitor to close the gap — turned into an epic battle deep into the night.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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