Sep 15, 2013, 7:07 PM EDT
Denard Span was answering a question about his 26-game hitting streak when the first roar came from another corner of the Nationals’ clubhouse. Span looked around as asked what happened, then was informed Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez had just robbed a home run from the Reds’ Jay Bruce in the top of the ninth inning at Miller Park.
“OK,” Span said. “That’s good for us.”
Not as good as what happened a couple of minutes later as Bryce Harper was answering a question about the Nationals’ just-completed, 11-2 thumping of the Phillies and was interrupted by another roar from teammates who were watching Milwaukee’s Sean Halton launch a walk-off homer against ex-Nationals lefty Zach Duke, officially handing Cincinnati a crushing loss.
“So, that’s good, too,” Harper said with a smile.
The Nationals have known all along they would need to win a bunch of games down the stretch to have any chance of making a last-ditch charge into the postseason, but they also have known they’ll need somebody else — at this point, the Reds — to lose a bunch of games as well.
The Nationals have been holding up their end of the bargain, winning 25 of their last 35, including 14 of 19 during their now-completed stretch against the NL East’s bottom three clubs. And the Reds are trying their darndest to at least make this thing interesting right down to the wire, losing four of their last six games, capped by Sunday’s shocker in Milwaukee.
Yes, the deficit is down to 4 1/2 games with 13 to play. It’s still improbable, but it’s not impossible.
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