The Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants in their 1924 uniforms in a unique 6-5 walk-off victory on July 5th, Turn Back the Clock Night. The night paid homage to another one-run Washington victory, the 1924 World Series victory over the New York Giants.
With the score knotted at 5-5, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche hit into what should’ve been a double play to send the game to extra innings.
Instead, San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford bounced a throw to first that Brandon Belt was unable to come up with, allowing Bryce Harper to score the game-winning run. Ryan Zimmerman, who was on the basepaths as the play unfolded, went through what he was thinking at the time.
“Hopefully, Adam’s fast enough [to beat the throw],” Zimmerman said. “Well, actually, I know Adam’s not fast enough. Hopefully, they mess up.”
The Giants messed up, and the Nats and LaRoche are happy they did.
“Not the way we drew it up, but we will take it,” LaRoche said.
The Nats might not have drawn up that particular play, but the at-bats leading up to it could not have been any better.
Nationals rookie Tyler Moore led the ninth inning off with a pinch-hit double. Fellow Nat rookie Steve Lombardozzi followed with a beautiful sacrifice bunt that allowed him to reach first after a fielding error from San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla. Harper then drove in the game-tying run with an RBI single to right.
“There’s no quit in the ball club,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. “There’s a lot of character on this ball club.”
The manager’s statement was echoed by Nat All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond.
“We feel capable to come back from any deficit,” Desmond said. “We obviously believe in ourselves. We’ve been there. We’ve done that this year. We’ve won so many one-run ball games that … we always think we have a chance; we don’t ever throw in the towel.”
That character and never-say-die attitude helped spark the Washington rally in the seventh that cut a four-run deficit to one.
Desmond smacked the first pitch he saw from Giants starter Matt Cain over the fence in right-center field for his 15th homer of the year, and Danny Espinosa promptly followed with a home run of his own. The back-to-back blasts were the fifth time the Nats have completed the feat this season.
Harper doubled in pinch hitter Mark DeRosa later in the seventh to make it 5-4, and Washington would overcome the Giants two innings later.