The Washington Nationals faced off against the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Wild Card Game Tuesday night in Washington. Max Scherzer took the bump for Washington while Brandon Woodruff got the ball for the crew. This would be a game not soon forgotten by baseball fans and a dramatic eighth-inning comeback by the Nationals would spell doom for the Brew Crew after an early lead.
The game kicked off with a bang with Brewers leadoff hitter drawing a walk and Yasmani Grandal lining a two-run home run over the right-field wall to give the Brewers an early 2-0 lead over Scherzer and the Nationals. Eric Thames added a solo homer to right-center off of Scherzer in the second inning to make it a 3-0 game. Scherzer would finally settle down and wouldn’t surrender a run for the rest of the game.
Trea Turner put the Nationals on the board in the third inning with a solo shot to left field to make the game 3-1 Brewers. While there would not be another run scored until the eighth inning, both starters came out relatively early with Woodruff giving up the lone run through four innings of work and Scherzer’s day ending after five innings with three runs allowed.
Brent Sutter and Drew Pomeranz held Washington scoreless in the six and seventh respectively while Stephen Strasburg came in to replace Scherzer. Strasburg would hold the Crew to just two hits in three innings of work.
Josh Hader would come in for the Brewers in the eighth and it was all downhill from there for Milwaukee.
Pinch hitter Michael A. Taylor reached on a controversial hit by pitch that looked as though it might have hit his bat before his wrist, followed by pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman who hit a single into center on a pitch that snapped his bat in two. Anthony Rendon drew a full-count walk and wunderkind Juan Soto stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.
Soto did not disappoint, as he hit a single into right field that was guaranteed to score two runs. Rookie right fielder Trent Grisham charged the ball and missed it. As the ball slipped by Grisham, Rendon came around to score, giving the Nationals a 4-3 lead.
Daniel Hudson came in for the ninth and shut down the Brewers to secure the Nationals’ first Wild Card win in Washington history. Hudson started by striking out Eric Thames. Lorenzo Cain kept hope alive with a single to center field, but Orlando Arcia popped up to the catcher and Ben Gamel flew out to center field to cap off an improbable, incredible comeback for the Nationals and a stunning loss for the Brewers.
The Nationals will now advance to play the Dodgers in a National League Division Series rematch for the ages. Even without Bryce Harper, there is certainly no love lost between these two National League rivals.
The Oakland Athletics will face off against the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland for a chance to face off against the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series. The National League Division Series begins on Thursday night with the Dodgers hosting the first two games against the Nationals.