CHICAGO - I feel like we've been down this road before. Fairly recently. Maybe, say, five days ago.
Let's hope this one doesn't go 15 innings.
The Nationals and Cubs are still playing as we go to the 11th inning. The Nats left Kurt Suzuki stranded in scoring position in the top of the 10th, with Denard Span striking out and Steve Lombardozzi flying out after Suzuki had been bunted to second by Tyler Moore.
It's fair to question Moore - a power hitter who is going pretty well right now - bunting in that spot, especially with Span and Lombardozzi hitting behind him.
It's also fair to be frustrated that neither Span nor Lombardozzi was able to get the job done.
Tyler Clippard then worked a powerhouse bottom of the 10th, getting two strikeouts and a pop-up to send this one to the 11th.
It's important to note that the Nats are working with a short bullpen after sending Ian Krol down to Triple-A yesterday. Davey Johnson was uncomfortable with having a six-man bullpen with Krol gone, and that was before he found himself in an 11-inning game.
Rafael Soriano and Tyler Clippard have already been used today. Now, after the Nats went down in order in the top of the 11th as I was writing this post, it's up to Craig Stammen to put up a zero.
Update: We keep playing.
The Nats have twice bunted a runner into scoring position in extra innings. Both times, the two hitters after the sac bunt were retired, and the inning ended without a run being put on the scoreboard.
Stammen has delivered two scoreless frames, this after working one inning last night. The guy's a gamer.
Update II: That probably wasn't how Chad Tracy drew it up, but it got the job done.
Tracy's 50-foot swinging bunt up the first base line scored Denard Span from third base in the 13th, giving the Nats a 5-4 lead.
Span reached on a double to left leading off the inning and then moved to third on Lombardozzi's sac bunt, the Nats' third sacrifice of extras.
Tracy's RBI groundout then plated Span, and the Nats will send Drew Storen out to work the bottom of the 13th, holding a one-run lead.
Update III: That's finally it. The Nats hold on to take this one 5-4 in 13 innings, with Storen notching the save, his third of the season.
Lombardozzi made a throwing error to make things interesting in the bottom of the 13th, but Storen then got a 1-4-6-3 double play to lock it up.
The Nats are back to one game under .500 at 63-64. It looked like they'd cruise to this win, and while they needed four more innings than we initially thought, they eventually got the victory.