#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Homer-happy memories from a title season

Two of the most memorable regular-season wins from the Nationals’ championship season kick off the next batch of MASN’s “Nationals Classics,” which also include a couple of walk-off wins from previous years. Spoiler alert: One of them belongs to Ryan Zimmerman, who’s had a few.

Thursday, Nov. 14 - 7 p.m. - Like offense? Then settle in for a total of 24 trips around the bases. Who knows what the Nats and Brewers had for breakfast on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 18, but they spent that afternoon at Nationals Park making pitchers’ lives miserable. The home team did most of the damage, tying a club record with eight home runs, two of them from Brian Dozier. But after the Nats jumped out to a 13-0 lead, the Brewers began to wake up in the fourth and fifth innings, and rallied for four runs in the ninth before Kyle McGowin finally finished mopping up a 16-8 Nationals win.

Monday, Nov. 18 - 7 p.m. - Another offensive outburst at Nats Park happened Sept. 3 as the Nationals sought to secure a playoff spot. The home team trailed from the fourth inning on, and the Mets tacked on a run in the eighth to extend their lead to 5-2. The Nats fought back to within a run in the bottom half, but then the visitors got to Roenis Elías and Daniel Hudson for five runs, sending at least a few folks to the exits. Those folks missed one of the most amazing late-inning comebacks ever, one that foreshadowed an incredible October. In the bottom of the ninth, Paul Sewald, Luis Avilán and Mets closer Edwin Díaz could only manage one out between them as the Nats erupted for seven runs, the last three coming on Kurt Suzuki’s walk-off homer.

Tuesday, Nov. 19 - 9 a.m. - The Nats finished out of the money in 2018, but already were showing signs of late kick. And often leading the way was Zimmerman, who recorded his 11th career walk-off on Aug. 22, 2018 in a case of delayed gratification. Starter Stephen Strasburg struck out the first two batters of the game, but then got himself into early trouble as the Phillies jumped on him for three runs in the first. The Nats fought back, tying the score in the third and again in the fourth, but trailed 7-6 going into the ninth. Juan Soto doubled with two outs, then Zimmerman and the Nationals Park crowd had to wait for a replay review to confirm that his drive to right field was indeed a game-winning home run.

Wednesday, Nov. 20 - 12 p.m. - The 2014 edition of the Nationals went 96-66 and ran away with the National League East. An early-season tilt with the Marlins provides as good an example as any of how they did it. On April 9 at Nats Park, the visitors had a 5-0 lead by the end of two innings. Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth, the Nats started a rally when Carlos Marmol hit pinch-hitter Nate McLouth. Denard Span was credited with a bunt single when an errant throw sent him to second and McLouth to third. The Marlins elected to walk Anthony Rendon intentionally to load the bases and set up a double play. Jayson Werth elected to swing at an 0-1 pitch and bring everybody home with a walk-off slam.

Wednesday, Nov. 20 - 7 p.m. - Often brought into games late for his speed and defensive prowess, Michael A. Taylor - as he demonstrated in Game 2 of the 2019 World Series - can also come off the bench to provide some pop at the plate. Such was the case on Sept. 4, 2015. Nats manager Matt Williams and Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez traded double-switches throughout a tight game, and after Williams put Matt den Dekker into Drew Storen’s spot in the lineup, den Dekker hit a single to drive in Trea Turner and tie the game 2-2 in the ninth. Harper and Zimmerman each singled to begin the bottom of the 10th. Taylor put the game on ice with a three-run dinger.

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