Nats blitz Brewers in eighth to win NL Wild Card Game
A familiar script was flipped on its head with one swing and a crucial miscue as the Washington Nationals stunned the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 in the National League Wild Card Game.
The Nats trailed two batters into Tuesday night’s contest and never led until one swing by Juan Soto tilted the scales in the bottom of the eighth inning. Trailing 3-1, Michael A. Taylor was hit by a pitch, Ryan Zimmerman delivered a pinch-hit, broken bat single, and Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases with two outs. Juan Soto delivered a base hit to right field, which Trent Grisham misplayed, allowing not just the tying runs to score, but Rendon to come around all the way from first base to put Washington in front, 4-3.
Daniel Hudson allowed a one-out single, but pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save, while Stephen Strasburg got the victory with three innings of scoreless relief.
The Brewers struck before Nationals starter Max Scherzer could record an out, as Grisham walked to lead off the game and Yasmani Grandal hit a first-pitch fastball into the Nats bullpen to put Milwaukee up 2-0. Eric Thames stretched the lead to 3-0 in the second inning by hooking a hanging slider into the right field seats.
The Nationals got a run back in the bottom of the third as Trea Turner turned around a 98 mile-per-hour fastball from Brandon Woodruff and hit it out to left-center. But with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth, following a Mike Moustakas error, Turner flew out to end the threat.
While they have made the playoffs five times in eight years, the Nats had never advanced until Tuesday night. It’s the first time in four elimination games at Nats Park that the hometown nine came out on top.
Washington will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the best-of -five National League Division Series, beginning Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.