Washington Nationals Top 10 Games Of 2015: #6 – Michael Taylor’s Walk-Off Home Run Vs. Braves
By Ricky Keeler
Today, we continue our countdown of the top ten games of the Washington Nationals 2015 season with number six on the list. Last week, we revealed number seven, which was Bryce Harper’s walk-off against the Braves in May. We fast-forward four months later to the month of September. On one night at Nats Park, Michael Taylor, who was recovering from a knee injury, hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth to defeat the Braves, 5-2.
Even though Taylor’s home run was the story of the evening, Harper got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Harper crushed a fastball from Julio Teheran 446 feet into right center for a solo shot. His 32nd of the season gave the Nats an early 1-0 lead.
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That lead would not last long. Two innings later, the Braves tied he game up against Tanner Roark, who was making his first start in the Washington rotation since June 28 against the Phillies. Atlanta had two runners on and two outs when A.J. Pierzynski hit an infield single to Yunel Escobar, which allowed Nick Markakis to score.
As for Roark, he did struggle with his control that night, but he did keep the Nats in the game. The right-hander went 4.1 innings, gave up one run on five hits, walked three hitters, and struck out one on 69 pitches (41 strikes).
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The game would remain tied until the top of the eighth. Drew Storen entered the game and was not sharp from the get go. Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a double. Two batters later, it was Nick Swisher would give Atlanta the lead with a base hit to right that drove in Freeman.
The Braves would try to close it out in the ninth with Arodys Vizcaino in the game to try to get the save. Escobar would lead off the inning with a double. Ian Desmond would move him over to third with a sacrifice bun. But, after a Wilson Ramos strikeout, it all came down to Matt den Dekker. On a 1-0, 98 mile per hour fastball, den Dekker tied the game with a base hit to center.
Jonathan Papelbon would come in and pitch a 1-2-3 top of the tenth. Then, in the bottom of the tenth, Harper and Ryan Zimmerman began the inning with back-to-back singles.
With runners on the corners, Taylor hit a 1-0 slider from Matt Marksberry over the wall in center for a walk-off three-run home run. Taylor’s 14th of the season gave the Nats their second win in a row in what ended up being a four game sweep for the Nats over the Braves that weekend.