Washington Nationals: Clutch home runs keep NLDS hopes alive

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals after hitting a three run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals after hitting a three run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Zimmerman gets monkey off back

Heading into the series, I talked a lot about how Zimmerman didn’t have great numbers against the Cubs dating back to 2016. The moment found him once again the eighth inning against Mike Montgomery and this time, the first baseman delivered in the clutch with a three-run home run that cleared the fence in left.

Heading into that at-bat, Zimmerman did have some other good moments in the game. He singled to lead off the fifth inning and got to third base via a stolen base and a wild pitch. No one could’ve guessed that Zimmerman would have the first Nats stolen base of the series and he was 2-for-16 against Lester coming into the night.

While Zimmerman didn’t score in that inning, that single gave him his first hit of the series and might’ve got his series going. Throughout his entire career, Zimmerman has been known as Mr. Walkoff. This wasn’t a walk-off, but it will go on his video tribute whenever his career is over.

This season, Zimmerman found a way to deliver in the clutch in big moments. That home run gave him 12 in the eighth inning or later this year, which is by far the most on the Nats roster. Only two players left in the postseason had 12 or more (J.D. Martinez and Cody Bellinger).

With that big home run out of the way against the Cubs, you have to wonder if Zimmerman will be loose as the series shifts to Wrigley Field. It is safe to say the memories of stranding all those runners in Chicago last year are now behind him.

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