December 2, 2021

Washington Nationals Game 139 Review: After two and a half hour rain delay, Nats complete comeback to beat Marlins 7-6

Just when you think you’ve seen it all at a baseball game, it shows you something else.

After a 2:33 rain delay in the middle of the ninth inning, the Washington Nationals erased everything that had happened prior. Trailing all day, entering the bottom of the ninth by one run, Jayson Werth led off the inning against Marlins closer Heath Bell with a blast to the Red Porch seats to tie the game at six, wiping out four and a half hours of a Miami Marlins lead, sending the game into extra innings.

Then, after Drew Storen struck out the side in the top of the tenth, Corey Brown drove in Ian Desmond with a sacrifice fly to give the Nats one of their most improbable wins of the season. The 7-6 victory keeps the Nats at least 6 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves, who were in a rain delay leading the New York Mets 8-2 at the time of this post.

Adam LaRoche led off the tenth with a single to right and took third on Desmond’s single. The Marlins chose to walk Danny Espinosa, one of the N.L.’s strikeout leaders, loading the bases for Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki grounded out, forcing LaRoche at home, against the five-man Marlins infield, but Brown lofted a fly ball over that same alignment and Desmond walked home with the winning run. The bench emptied to mob Brown near first base.

The Nats’ day got off to a rough start. Ross Detwiler was shaky in the first couple of innings before settling down. Light-hitting (.165) outfielder Gorkys Hernandez led off the game with a home run, putting the Nats in a hole right off the bat. Two outs later, Giancarlo Stanton continued his destruction of Nats pitching, absolutely crushing a 3-2 pitch over the Marlins bullpen in left center field. In the second, a double by No. 8 hitter Donnie Muprhy set up Donovan Solano’s two out RBI single, and the Nationals trailed 3-0 just an inning and a half in to the game.

The Nats got runs in the middle innings off Marlins starter Mark Buerhle. Jesus Flores led of the third with his sixth home run of the season to trim the lead to 3-1 at the time, and Danny Espinosa’s RBI single the next inning made it 3-2.

The Marlins got two unearned runs in the top of the fifth. Detwiler appeared to get squeezed by home plate umpire Todd Tichenor and gave up two walks. Detwiler appeared to be out of the inning with a routine ground ball to first with two outs, but it went right between Adam LaRoche’s legs for an error and a run scored. John Buck followed with a single to score Carlos Lee, but when Buck overran first and got caught in a rundown, Justin Ruggiano broke for home. Espinosa fired home to nail Ruggiano for the third out.

Bryce Harper cut the score to 5-3 with a massive home run in the fifth that landed half way up the second deck of stands in front of the Nats HD scoreboard.

The Nats defense let the team down again in the seventh, though, as Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error allowed Donovan Solano to score from second base to stretch the Marlins lead to 6-3.

But the resiliency of this Nats team can never be called into question. Miami reliever A.J. Ramos hit Harper leading off the eighth inning, and Zimmerman rectified his defensive gaffe with his 20th home run of the season, reducing the margin to one run again. Unfortunately, just as in Friday night, the rally ended with the tying run on base as Espinosa and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina both struck out.

But just as Heath Bell came out for the bottom of the ninth inning, all Hell broke loose. A line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the metro area, including reports of tornadoes, and Nats Park took it’s share of the weather. Wind and rain buffeted the park, fans were told to head for the concourse, and the grounds crew valiantly covered the field.

After a 2:33 rain delay, the game resumed, and of course the first batter for the Nats, Jayson Werth, homered to send the game to extra innings.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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