The Washington Nationals completed their sweep of the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night in dramatic fashion, walking off on a blown double-play ball on an Adam LaRoche grounder to second base. Trailing by four runs, the Nats seemed out of it but chipped away with a rally in the seventh and immediately ignited a threat in their last at-bat to clinch a 6-5 win.
The dominant Matt Cain was cruising up 5-1 and this one seemed out of reach but the offense did not give in against the Giants starter. The walk-off was all set up by a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh that closed the four-run gap. Back-to-back solo shots by Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa keyed the inning. Mark DeRosa then pinch hit for Roger Bernadina and doubled to left. After one of the worst check-swing strike calls you will ever see, Bryce Harper gathered himself and took a pitch the other way that dropped in the gap to score DeRosa. The Nats inning ended with men on second and third, but the damage was done and deficit was now just one run.
Hitting in the pitcher's spot, Tyler Moore started the ninth with a double that was ripped to left field. Stephen Lombardozzi immediately put his bat down to try and sacrifice Moore over to third but Giants pitcher Santiago Casilla could not handle a perfectly placed bunt.
With runners at the corners, Harper stepped into the box with a chance to even things up. The sensational rookie took an inside pitch and chopped one through the hole on the right side to score Moore. Casilla would walk Zimmerman intentionally to load the bases and the Giants would get their first out of the inning with Ryan Theriot coming home on a Michael Morse grounder. It looked like the rally would die with the game tied at 5-5, but shortstop Brandon Crawford short-hopped his throw to first to blow the double play. Harper would cross the plate for the winning run and LaRoche was credited with the game-winning RBI.
After completing a sweep against Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Tim Lincecum, the Nationals now host the Colorado Rockies for the final series before the All-Star break. Stephen Strasburg will face Drew Pomeranz in the first game on Friday night.
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