#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Coming through in the clutch

Well, Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, which means the currently chilly hot stove will soon be heating up. And what better way to get in the mood than a smattering of clutch performances that resulted in Nationals victories?

Here at MASN, “Nationals Classics” are designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

Guys that make their money by coming through in the clutch tend to do that, don’t they? Is there anything better than cheering a dominant team or individual performance, or the thrill that a walk-off win generates?

So prepare to have the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention!

Thursday, Dec. 3 - 11 a.m. - Chris Heisey played the hero on April 24, 2016, when it took the Nats 16 innings - on a getaway Sunday, no less - to dispatch the Twins in an interleague series finale. Bryce Harper’s ninth-inning homer tied the game at 4-4 and forced extras. After the teams traded single tallies in the 15th - the Nats scored on a throwing error on reliever Oliver Pérez’s bunt - Heisey led off the home 16th with a blast to left-center for a 6-5 win.

Friday, Dec. 4 - 2:30 p.m. - A blown save can be a crushing blow, and on April 12, 2012, Brad Lidge coughed up a 2-0 lead in the ninth against the Reds. In the bottom of the 10th against reliever Alfredo Simón, Ryan Zimmerman was plunked by a pitch, then moved to second on Jayson Werth’s one-out single. Both runners advanced on Xavier Nady’s groundout. With Roger Bernadina batting, Simón’s wild pitch allowed Zimmerman to scamper home for a 3-2 walk-off.

Sunday, Dec. 6 - 11:30 p.m. - The Orioles and Nats played bonus baseball on May 23, 2010, but Josh Willingham made sure the visitors got an early start on their trip back up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Willingham’s one-out laser to left-center off Cla Meredith was the decisive run in a 4-3 Nationals triumph.

Monday, Dec. 7 - 7 p.m. - For those who like a lot of offense, we present this recent throwback from Aug. 10, 2020, when the visiting Nats routed the Mets 16-4 at Citi Field. Asdrúbal Cabrera homered twice and drove in five runs, while Juan Soto and Trea Turner each went deep and plated three.

Tuesday, Dec. 8 - 1 p.m. - Wilson Ramos came through in a pinch on May 4, 2012, stroking a walk-off single to left-center with the bases loaded in the 11th as the Nationals edged the Phillies 4-3.

Tuesday, Dec. 8 - 11:30 p.m. - Stephen Strasburg’s second career start, against the Indians in Cleveland on June 13, 2010, lacked the dominance of his debut at home against the Pirates. But Strasburg still picked up the win, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing two hits and five walks with eight strikeouts. The 9-4 Nationals win featured home runs by Adam Dunn and Bernadina.

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