With one swing of the bat…
Juan Soto just made an instant classic.
Nats down 2, here comes Juan Soto to the plate pic.twitter.com/TyTBhl5VAb
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 2, 2019
It’s the bottom of the eighth inning at Nats Park and things are looking the kind of nervous-bleak that says to every fan: This again? That going home at home in the playoffs again?
It happened in 2012, 2016, 2017.
And here they are again, at Nats Park. Down 3-1 with only six outs to spare.
This time their most unlikely year by far—from 19-31 in May to fighting back for a spot in this Wild Card game. But again, on the brink of ending their season at home. With another chance at that first deep playoff run hanging by a thread.
Last year in the postseason, teams were 24-0 when leading by multiple runs entering the 8th inning.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) October 2, 2019
And Victor Robles strikes out to lead off the inning.
Josh Hader looking unhittable. Chapman-like. The batting cages pitching machine turned up to 100.
But then he hits Michael Taylor. Sort of.
The hit by pitch on Michael A. Taylor: pic.twitter.com/HXn79Qe1na
— Zachary Silver 😷 (@zachsilver) October 2, 2019
They review the play, to check which hit first, the knob of the bat or the hand.
The call stands.
And then it’s Ryan Zimmerman up to bat. “Mr. National”. 35 years old. Been with the team since their first season, 2005.
Ryan Zimmerman has been a National since Juan Soto was six.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 2, 2019
And he hits a broken-bat bloop single to center field.
The season. Staying alive. Just barely.
Ryan Zimmerman’s broken bat single with two outs should not be forgotten. Extended the inning and put the tying run on base against one of the best relievers in baseball
— Monty Taylor (@Mdavistaylor) October 2, 2019
And then Rendon works a walk, from a full count. Bases loaded.
Hader’s stuff sharp but control drifting toward wild.
And then it’s Juan Soto. 20 years old. Stepping up for his superstar moment.
Staring out at the mound. Doing his intimidating little dance. And then on the third pitch, he gets a fastball over the plate—and, well, just watch.
One of the two best moments in Nationals history.
If you didn’t see it live:
ICYMI … The moment the @Nationals took the LEAD ‼️
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2019
Grisham blunders in right field. Three runs score.
Nats lead 4-3. And everything about their season just changed.
Their most ecstatic joy since the Jayson Werth home run, 2012.
Here’s the view from behind the plate, and the rest of the pandemonium:
— Chad Schwartz (@schwarcs) October 2, 2019
— Bo Porter (@Boporter16Bo) October 2, 2019
Juan Soto's 8th-inning hit on Tuesday is the biggest hit by win probability added in the history of the #WildCard Game.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 2, 2019
Juan Soto is the 2nd-youngest player in MLB history with a game-tying or go-ahead hit in the 8th inning or later of a postseason game. Only Miguel Cabrera in 2003 was younger. h/t @EliasSports
Soto is also the 4th-youngest player with multiple RBI in a winner-take-all game. pic.twitter.com/OPJcKs7XfZ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2019
The man sitting next to me at the game was brought to tears when we won and it was beautiful pic.twitter.com/yXLX7cfhEp
— Emily Guskin (@EmGusk) October 2, 2019
And after all that, what did the biggest Nats fan on TV have to say?
This just in: Nationals deliver the most exciting half-inning in team history and obsessed Nats fan Anthony Kornheiser didn't see it…fell asleep 45 mins earlier…I'll pound him without mercy for the full Wednesday episode of PTI…
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) October 2, 2019
Nothing. He was asleep.
So wake up, Nats fans.
The “19-31 Season” is no longer a dream.
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