Oct 2, 2012, 5:35 AM EDT
Associated Press photo
Mike Rizzo and his Nationals celebrate after clinching the NL East title.
Updated at 1:35 a.m.
They stood out there on the field during the top of the ninth inning, trying to keep their focus on whichever Phillies player had stepped into the batter’s box. Really, though, everyone with the Washington Nationals — and everyone in the crowd of 35,387 — was focused on the upper left-hand corner of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, where their true fate was being determined.
Two hundred forty-six miles away in Pittsburgh, the Atlanta Braves were down to their final out, unexpectedly trailing the Pirates 2-1 and desperately trying to rally, a man on first and Brian McCann at the plate during an at-bat that seemed to take 79 years to be completed.
“We were out there for the top half, and it flashes up there that there’s two outs with a man on first,” right fielder Jayson Werth said. “And we played the whole inning with two outs and a man on first!”
Then Drew Storen got Domonic Brown to ground out to second just as Jared Hughes got McCann to tap a comebacker for the final out at PNC Park, and suddenly a wild celebration was underway in Washington, even though the home team was on the verge of a 2-0 loss to its hated rivals.
“We came in the dugout, and all the fans were going nuts,” Werth said. “So we started going nuts. I don’t know if we even knew.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
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.
*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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Strasburg leaves Nats win over Marlins with injury
- Nats overcome rough start, win 7-4
- Nats look for fourth consecutive series win vs. Marlins
- Fan dies after fall from upper deck at Atlanta Braves game
- Nats gain a rare game on the Mets with win over Marlins
- Zimmermann, Nats bounce back to top Marlins
- Span's season is over, and maybe his Nats career as well
- Nats look to get even against Marlins
- Werth bobblehead release gets pushed back
- Turner looks comfortable in debut at second base