#TBT to “Nationals Classics:” Marathon matches galore as nights grow longer

Kinks in the supply chain have holiday shoppers jumpier than usual this year as they comb the Internet and the stores (remember those?) for the hot new toy or electronic gizmo.

The good news is that the supply of warm baseball memories is flowing just fine via “Nationals Classics.”

In this week’s batch, MASN brings you a big moment in the budding career of a young star, a signature win for a Cooperstown-bound hurler, some marathon matches ending in Nationals wins, more clutch hits for the face of the franchise and a couple of reminders that not so long ago the Nats were the team to beat in the National League East.

So don’t sweat over finding that sweater for Aunt Mildred. A gift card is just as nice, and leaves you more time to enjoy “Nationals Classics.”

Thursday, Dec. 2 - 2 p.m. - Before Bryce Harper went and joined the Nats’ division rivals in Philadelphia, he thrilled the paying customers on South Capitol Street on a regular basis. On June 5, 2012, Harper ended a battle with the Mets in the 12th inning. Scott Hairston hit a leadoff homer in the top half to give the visitors a one-run edge, but the Nats got even with back-to-back doubles from Michael Morse and Ian Desmond to start the bottom half. Two outs and two walks (one intentional) later, Harper got his first career walk-off hit with a single off Elvin Ramírez, and the Nats notched a 7-6 victory.

Friday, Dec. 3 - 7 p.m. - In the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, Max Scherzer was just slightly off his game, going 5-4 while posting a 3.74 ERA (which a lot of guys would kill for). On Aug. 28, the feisty right-hander went just six innings but struck out 11 to coast to a win as the Nats rolled the Red Sox 10-2. Trea Turner went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick and Josh Harrison all homered.

Sunday, Dec. 5 - 11:30 p.m. - Grab your coffee or energy drink and settle in for this late-night thriller from 2014. On Sept. 3, the Nationals and Dodgers took 14 innings to determine the victor (the Nats, natch) in Chavez Ravine. First baseman Adam LaRoche had been given a day off but Matt Williams summoned him to pinch-hit in the ninth with the visitors trailing 2-0. He homered off Kenley Jansen with Harper aboard, and when Denard Span’s single plated Danny Espinosa, it looked as though the Nats were about to eke out a win in regulation. But the Dodgers erased the deficit on Jayson Werth’s error in the home half, and the heavyweight bout was on. Carl Crawford’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th negated LaRoche’s two-RBI single in the top half. In the 14th, LaRoche’s grounder brought Desmond home, and he later scored on Asdrúbel Cabrera’s home run, finishing his “day off” with five RBIS after reliever Blake Treinen sealed the Nats’ 8-5 victory.

Monday, Dec. 6 - 2 p.m. - The Nats and Brewers played an even longer game on June 24, 2014, taking 16 innings to render the verdict: a 4-2 Nationals triumph at Miller Park. Anthony Rendon homered in the eighth to knot the score at 2-2, from which point the two bullpens played “who blinks first?” Turns out it was Milwaukee right-hander Mike Fiers, who surrendered a two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman that proved the difference.

Tuesday, Dec. 7 - 3 p.m. - A young Zimmerman delivered the knockout punch against the Marlins on July 6, 2006, singling home Brian Schneider in the bottom of the 11th for an 8-7 Nats win. Future National Aníbal Sánchez started and went five innings for the Fish. Nats first baseman Nick Johnson matched Zimmerman’s two RBIs. Chad Cordero pitched two innings of relief and got the win.

Tuesday, Dec. 7 - 11:30 p.m. - The Nationals secured their third NL East title in five seasons on Sept. 24, 2016 with a 6-1 win in Pittsburgh, the Pirates’ lone run coming courtesy of a homer from future National Josh Bell. The visitors sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning, and two consecutive Bucs throwing errors handed the Nats a three-run fourth.

Wednesday, Dec. 8 - noon - The Nats wrapped up a second straight division crown on Sept. 10, 2017. Riding a hot streak, starter Stephen Strasburg cruised through eight innings while allowing just two hits to throttle the Phillies. Ryan Madson gave up two runs on three hits in the ninth, but held on to record the save in the Nats’ 3-2 win. Turner homered and tripled.

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