Jun 18, 2013, 4:28 AM EDT
PHILADELPHIA — As the ball soared toward the right-field bleachers and the previously raucous crowd of 44,990 fell dead-silent, the visitors dugout at Citizens Bank Park sprung to life. In a season with precious few moments of true elation, Chad Tracy’s down-to-the-last-strike home run in the top of the ninth Monday night was about as good as it’s been for the Nationals.
One pitch away from a ho-hum loss to the Phillies, the Nationals now had new life, Tracy having delivered a game-tying homer on an 0-2 pitch for the second time in 72 hours. The prevailing sentiment in the dugout: This game was theirs now.
“You gotta play the game, but when you tie it up, I think all of us had a feeling,” Tracy said. “We expected to win, sure.”
A feeling that had vanquished into thin air only 10 minutes later when Fernando Abad surrendered his third single of the bottom of the ninth, this one a soft liner up the middle by Domonic Brown, bringing Ben Revere home with the run that dealt the Nationals a 5-4, punch-to-the-gut loss.
“You tie it up late, and everybody’s emotions are running high and everybody’s feeling good,” Tracy said. “And then they come out and put some good at-bats together at the end and steal it right back from you.”
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