#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Missed it by that much

Perhaps you’re skipping the trip over the river and through the woods this year. Maybe you’ve made the tough choice to put the family’s health ahead of family togetherness and forego planes, trains and automobiles for now.

It might not seem so at the tail end of the kind of year that 2020 has been for all of us, but chances are you’ve still got much to be grateful for. And while your Thanksgiving table isn’t as crowded as usual (or at least it shouldn’t be; safety first), we can be thankful for the electronic wizardry that allows us to connect with loved ones virtually when we can’t be with them physically.

Speaking of electronic magic, MASN’s television gizmos are at the ready to bring you another batch of baseball memories via “Nationals Classics.” In this week’s crop, you’ll catch a couple of sharp pitchers coming close to complete domination, along with some hitters coming through in big moments for the Nats.

Whatever the holidays hold, you can count on MASN to keep the home (team’s) fires burning with “Nationals Classics.”

Thursday, Nov. 26 - 4:30 p.m. - Thanks to Bryce Harper’s grand slam in the third inning, the Nationals enjoyed an early-season victory over the Braves in 2016. On April 14 that year, Stephen Strasburg squared off against Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran at Nationals Park for seven innings (Strasburg also got the first two outs in the Braves’ eighth) and got credit for a win as the Nats won 6-2.

Friday, Nov. 27 - 9 a.m. - The Nats and Cardinals went through a total of a dozen pitchers on April 21, 2015, and yet the score was tied at just one run apiece at the end of nine innings. After Aaron Barrett held the Cards in the top of the 10th, Carlos Villanueva struck out Harper to start the home half. Ryan Zimmerman hit one hard, but it found the glove of center fielder Jon Jay, and the Nats were staring at an 11th inning. But with two out, Yunel Escobar put an end to the proceedings with a walk-off homer.

Sunday, Nov. 29 - 1 p.m. - Homer Bailey was good for the Reds at Nats Park on April 26, 2013, spreading five hits over seven innings while allowing just one Nationals run. But Jordan Zimmermann was better. The Nats right-hander went the distance and surrendered only a single and one base on balls as the Nats squeaked out a 1-0 win. Jayson Werth’s single provided the lone RBI.

Sunday, Nov. 29 - 11:30 p.m. - The game from 2013 rebroadcast this afternoon was, as outlined above, as close as could be. This one was just the opposite, a Nationals romp that left the Reds with a figurative bloody nose on July 3, 2016. Cincinnati starter John Lamb took the bulk of the punishment as the Nats scored eight runs off him on the way to a 12-1 triumph. In his first appearance in 18 days, Strasburg no-hit the visitors for 6 2/3 innings but was removed out of an abundance of caution.

Monday, Nov. 30 - 6 p.m. - Has any world champion ever been on a wilder ride than the one the 2019 Nationals had? May 24, 2019 was the start of the most incredible turnaround a team has ever seen, and it exemplified the sort of game the Nats seemed to have every other night from that point on during that surreal season. Seemingly stuck in the gate at 19-31 coming into the game, the Nats prevailed 12-10 in a dogfight with the Marlins (can you have a dogfight with a Fish?). Juan Soto and Matt Adams homered in a four-run eighth inning that put the home team on top to stay.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 - 1 p.m. - Werth did the heavy lifting in the Nationals’ 5-4 walk-off win over the Cubs on July 4, 2011, driving in two runs and scoring the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th. The Nats right fielder led off the inning with a walk, took second on a sac bunt from pinch-hitting pitcher Liván Hernández, stole third and raced home when Cubs reliever Carlos Mármol uncorked a wild pitch. Laynce Nix had a triple and the Nats’ other two RBIs.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 - 11:30 p.m. - Here’s another walk-off victory from the 2011 season (Aug. 19, to be precise). Hernández had a rough go of it against the Phillies, surrendering seven hits and four runs over four innings, and the Nationals trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth. But the Nats’ first three batters of the inning singled, and Ian Desmond’s one-out base hit ensured the home team would at least survive into a 10th inning. As it turned out, the extra frame wouldn’t be necessary. With two out, the bases loaded and a full count, Zimmerman yanked a Ryan Madson pitch over the left field wall to end it then and there in an 8-4 Nationals triumph.

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