Washington Nationals Win 16 Inning Marathon Over Twins

Apr 2, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Chris Heisey (14) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Chris Heisey (14) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

In the longest regular season game in team history, the Washington Nationals defeated the Twins 6-5 on a walk-off home run by Chris Heisey in the 16th inning.

The Washington Nationals took down the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in 16 innings Sunday afternoon on a walk-off home run off the bat of Chris Heisey. Stephen Strasburg pitched into the eighth inning and Bryce Harper hit a game-tying, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Washington started off the game with a bang, scoring their first run of the game on a leadoff home run by Matt den Dekker in the bottom of the first inning. The 28-year old outfielder was making his first start in right field of the season in order to give Bryce Harper the day off, but Harper would eventually find his way into the game.

More from District on Deck

The Twins evened up the score at one run apiece two innings later. Third baseman Eduardo Nunez drove in Byron Buxton with an RBI-single to left field, marking the first time in the series Minnesota wasn’t trailing beyond the first inning.

Strasburg was in complete control through seven innings, striking out nine hitters without walking anyone before coming out for the eighth. He would strike out Buxton to kick off the frame, but the Twins’ bats finally came alive behind him.

Joe Mauer notched a pinch-hit single and Nunez followed with a one-bagger of his own to put runners on first and second with one out. Brian Dozier then made it a 4-1 game with a home run to left center, knocking Strasburg out of the game. He finished his outing allowing four runs on seven hits, no walks, and ten strikeouts over 7.1 innings on 114 pitches (81 strikes).

Matt Belisle came in and retired the next two batters to end the frame, bu the Washington Nationals had their work cut out for them with only two more chances left to score. Anthony Rendon led off the bottom half of the inning with a single and Jayson Werth came up swinging right behind him with a double off the wall to put two runners in scoring position with Wilson Ramos at the plate. Leading up to the at-bat, the Nats were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but Ramos snapped that streak in a hurry with a two-run double to make it a one run game.

Dusty Baker went to Felipe Rivero to hold the deficit at one for the ninth inning. He was lights out, setting Minnesota down 1-2-3, which included a pair of strikeouts. This all set the stage for Harper, who pinch hit for Michael Taylor to lead off the bottom of the ninth. On a full count, the reigning MVP smacked a home run to dead center to tie the game and send it into extra innings. It was his ninth home run of the season.

Neither team was able to push any runs across through the fourteenth inning as both bullpens locked in. Rivero and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a scoreless tenth, and Yusmeiro Petit took care of the Twins’ lineup in heading into the 15th.

More from Nationals News

Minnesota was finally able to get something going in the top of the fifteenth. With Petit on the mound, Nunez hit a single with two outs in the frame, and stole second during the next at-bat. After Dozier walked, Miguel Sano drove in Nuñez with a single to make it a 5-4 game. Petit finished the inning, and despite allowing the run, had an overall excellent performance: He went 4.2 innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out six, and walked three on 77 pitches (45 strikes)

Things looked bleak for the Washington Nationals in the bottom of the inning. Oliver Perez came to the plate with two outs and Danny Espinosa on first. However, Espi stole second to get into scoring position. Two pitches later, Perez laid down a bunt and catcher John Ryan Murphy threw the ball wide to first, allowing Espinosa to score. Washington was unable to score the winning run, and the game went on to the 16th

After Perez completed a scoreless inning, Chris Heisey came to the plate looking to end the game with one swing. And that he did, crushing a solo homer into the left field seats to give the Nats the win, nearly six hours after the first pitch.

Next: Roark Dominates, Shows Depth Of Rotation

Game Notes: Minnesota starting pitcher Tyler Duffey exited the game in the fifth inning after taking a come backer off the bat of den Dekker off his throwing shoulder… Bryce Harper now leads all of baseball with nine home runs and 23 RBIs.

Next Up: The Washington Nationals (14-4) will get the day off Monday before welcoming the Philadelphia Phillies (9-10) for a three-game set. Vincent Velasquez (2-1, 0.93) will toe the rubber for the Phillies against Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.32), who will be pitching in place of Joe Ross while he nurses a blister on his pitching hand. You can catch the game on MASN at 7:05 p,.m ET.