Drew Douglas, Site Expert
Sometimes, the greatest joy can stem from near-disaster. For the Nats, this was exactly the case.
Despite Stephen Strasburg’s gem, the Nats dropped game one of the 2017 National League Division Series to the Chicago Cubs. In a five-game series, losing game one made game two a must-win.
The Nats jumped out to an early lead on an Anthony Rendon homer in the first, but Gio Gonzalez promptly allowed a game-tying homer in the second. The Cubs tacked on two more runs on an Anthony Rizzo homer in the fourth, creating a dire situation for the Nats.
More from District on Deck
- Latest DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code in Maryland: Bet $5, Win $200 Guaranteed
- Nationals Claim Jeter Downs Off Waivers
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
For most of the game, it seemed like the Nats were going to lose game two as well and head into Chicago on the brink of elimination.
However, the bats finally came alive in the eighth. Adam Lind, who came up with clutch hits off the bench all year, got things started with a single. Then, Bryce Harper tied the game with a moonshot into the upper deck off of Carl Edwards.
The season, at least for the time being, was saved.
While the Nats had tied the game, they still needed to regain the lead. Fortunately, they did not wait long to do just that.
Following the Harper homer, Rendon walked and Daniel Murphy singled, bringing Ryan Zimmerman to the plate with the go-ahead run in scoring position. A simple single would likely give the Nats the lead.
In a questionable move, Joe Maddon let the left-handed Mike Montgomery stay in the game to face Zimmerman. The face of the franchise made Maddon and the Cubs pay, sending a high changeup into the flowerbed in left field.
Nationals Park, which was silent heading into the inning, erupted.
Fresh off of the offensive explosion, “Doooooo” chants rung around Nationals Park. Doolittle dominated in the ninth, locking down the game and tying the series at one game apiece.
Although the Nats eventually lost the series in heartbreaking fashion, game two was a whirlwind of emotions and one of the most exciting games in Nationals Park history.