Sep 20, 2012, 5:30 AM EDT
Associated Press photo
Tyler Clippard is disconsolate after giving up the winning run in the ninth inning.
For seven innings, they gave no reason for the 26,931 in attendance to believe they had a rally in them, one that would give everyone at Nationals Park reason to celebrate the clinching of Washington’s first postseason berth in 79 years.
His team down six runs in the second half of a doubleheader against the Dodgers, Davey Johnson pulled three of his biggest bats — Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche — from the game. With his starter, John Lannan, knocked out in the fourth, Johnson handed the ball to a right-hander who has spent the majority of the last three seasons on the disabled list (Chien-Ming Wang) and a left-hander who spent the last five months at Class AAA (Zach Duke).
Could you blame so many of those fans for heading to the exits early?
And then something unexpected happened. Michael Morse led off the eighth with a solo homer. Two batters later, Steve Lombardozzi blasted a two-run shot. Adrian Gonzalez booted a ball at first base. Mark DeRosa poked a single to right field. Bryce Harper beat out a slow roller to third. Danny Espinosa singled to left. And Morse (batting for the second time in the inning) delivered another clutch hit, a two-run single to right that incredibly left this game tied at 6 and left those who did remain in the park in a state of ecstasy, realizing they might just witness the Nationals clinch in stunning fashion.
“That was one of the coolest innings I’ve been a part of on this team,” Morse said.
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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