#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Keeping the home fires burning

Daylight’s at a premium as we approach the winter solstice, and it can be tough keep your spirits up. MASN’s here to help.

For this week’s throwback telecasts, we bring you a gem from the guy who wrote the jeweler’s handbook on gemology, then a tough choice in the middle of a Nationals romp. After that, we take a glance back at the Nats’ early days in D.C. for a glimpse of what was to come for the guy who would become Mr. National.

So cheer up! In another week or so the days will start getting longer. Better still, pitchers and catchers report about nine weeks after that.

Friday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m. - Max Scherzer pulled off a rare feat on Oct. 3, 2015, joining a list of just four other pitchers to record two no-hitters in the same season (on Tuesday we showed a rebroadcast of his first no-no of 2015). Scherzer pitched the back end of a doubleheader with the Mets at Citi Field the day before the end of the regular season. Matt Harvey was dealing that day too, striking out 11 Nationals batters, walking none and allowing just one run on four hits over six innings. Harvey, however, would take a loss, as Scherzer simply pitched out of his mind. The Nats ace fanned 17 - including nine straight - and gave no free passes (Yunel Escobar’s throwing error in the sixth spoiled an otherwise perfect game). Wilson Ramos’ sac fly and Dan Uggla’s homer provided more than enough offense for the Nats to win.

Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m. - On July 3, 2016, Nats skipper Dusty Baker made one of the toughest calls a manager can make, pulling Stephen Strasburg off the mound before the right-hander had allowed opponents a single hit. Strasburg, just back from a stay on the disabled list, had thrown 109 pitches. Baker decided not to push things, and asked Blake Treinen to get the third out in the Reds seventh. Nationals batters, meanwhile, had little trouble solving the Cincinnati pitchers. Shortstop Danny Espinosa led the charge with six RBIs, going 4-for-5 with two homers as the home team cruised to a 12-1 victory.

Monday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. - Drafted in the first round in the middle of the Nationals’ inaugural season in Washington, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman played his first full season in the majors in 2006. On July 6 of that year, the rookie brought an eight-game hitting streak (which he’d extend to 17 before it was over) to the final installment of a four-game series with the Marlins at RFK Stadium. After the Nats scored five runs off Aníbal Sánchez in the first inning, the Fish answered in the top of the second, smacking Liván Hernández around to plate seven. Álex Escobar tripled to lead off the home seventh and later scored to cut the Marlins’ lead to a run. Later that inning, Zimmerman drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game. Nothing more shook loose until the bottom of the 11th inning. Brian Schneider led off for the Nationals and reached on Hanley Ramírez’s error at short. Robert Fick bunted him over. The Marlins countered with an intentional walk to Alfonso Soriano. José Vidro’s grounder forced Soriano, bringing Zimmerman to the plate with two gone. The kid worked Jason Vargas to a 3-1 count, then stroked a single up the middle for the walk-off. We’d get used to seeing him do stuff like that.

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