#TBT to “Nationals Classics”: Stoking the hot stove with retro wins

Admittedly, the hot stove has been, well, a tad chilly so far this offseason. Sure, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is talking to other executives, but we’ve yet to see anything resembling a big move out of him. Which is OK, given that some of Rizzo’s splashiest deals seem to come out of nowhere.

So what’s a baseball-starved Nats fan to do?

Between online shopping excursions and gift-wrapping marathons, check out this week’s bevy of “Nationals Classics” on MASN. They will warm your heart with all the goodness of victory and help get you through the frenzied final week before Christmas.

Thursday, Dec. 17 - 9 a.m. - Adam LaRoche thought he had getaway day off on Sept. 3, 2014, when the Nats wrapped up a series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers with a noontime tilt. But called on to pinch-hit for Tyler Moore in the ninth, LaRoche socked a game-tying two-run homer, and the Nats took the lead on Denard Span’s RBI single only to see the Dodgers knot it up again in the bottom of the frame on Jayson Werth’s error. The game went 14 innings - so much for an on-time departure - and every time LaRoche stepped to the plate, good things happened. He had a two-run single in the 12th and a run-scoring grounder in the 14th, snapping a tie and helping the Nats to an 8-5 victory.

Sunday, Dec. 20 - 11:30 p.m. - April 28, 2015 will forever be known at the “Dan Uggla Game,” the night the Nats overcame the largest deficit in franchise history to beat the Braves 13-12. A.J. Cole surrendered nine runs in two innings and the Nats were in a deep 9-1 hole, but kept chipping away. The Braves led 12-10 in the top of the ninth when Uggla stepped to the plate and ripped a three-run homer off Jason Grilli, touching off a wild celebration.

Monday, Dec. 21 - 1 p.m. - What’s better than a slugfest win over the Braves? How about a game where the starting pitcher muscled up and went deep? On July 18, 2019, Stephen Strasburg proved he’s got more than a talented right arm, pitching and hitting the club to a 13-4 triumph. Strasburg yielded three runs with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, and went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer and five RBIs.

Tuesday, Dec. 22 - 11:30 p.m. - Talk about a lot of offense in bunches. On July 27, 2009, the Nats scored 13 of their 14 runs in a 14-6 rout of the homestanding Brewers in two frames, the fifth and sixth innings. Each outburst saw Josh Willingham hit a grand slam. Not a bad night’s work.

Wednesday, Dec. 23 - 2:30 p.m. - When Juan Soto connected off Padres lefty Robbie Erlin on May 21, 2018, the 19-year-old became the first teenager to homer in the majors since Bryce Harper did it for the Nats in 2012. So how was the blast logged as Soto’s second career homer? What is recorded as his first came June 18 in the completion of a suspended game from May 15 against the Yankees. But since the suspended game started first, it’s officially a May 15 game. Soto’s first - er, second - career homer was part of a three-RBI day that helped the Nats to a 10-2 romp over the Friars.

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