Setup man Carl Edwards Jr. made easy work of the bottom of the eighth, striking out two and getting Bryce Harper to pop out.
Bryce Harper changed the narrative Saturday night.
And not to this batter. The final verdict was a dominating performance behind Kyle Hendricks, who absolutely shut down the Washington Nationals bats.
Chicago Cubs Pitcher, Jon Lester. Loves. The. Spotlight. With a runner on first and down 3-1 in the eighth, Harper delivered with a monster two-run home run to tie this game and send Nats Park into absolute chaos.
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Judge had Yankee Stadium rocking on Tuesday night in the wildcard game, but had the NY faithful shaking their heads on Thursday. As for Sonny Gray , he failed to get out of the fourth inning - allowing three hits, four walks and three earned runs.
Edwards addressed reporters at his locker in a clubhouse that was quiet but not downcast. For the game, Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 with a run scored while Rizzo was 1-for-4 with two RBI. "As soon as I left it up, I was thinking it wasn't coming down anytime soon".
On paper, Edwards was the right decision. It's become nearly a tradition for the manager and his 27-year old budding ace, from the regular season to his controversial pull in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the World Series. "That was the right option. CJ's numbers against left-handed hitters are among the best in all of baseball".
Nationals: Gonzalez goes in Game 2 instead of two-time Cy Young Award victor Max Scherzer, who is slated for Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Monday. Scherzer is nursing a bad hamstring.
The Washington slugger unloaded on a hanging breaking ball, sending one deep into the right-field seats to tie things 3-3. He needed just eight pitches to turn away the Cubs in the first. Consider this: The Nats' past six one-run games in the postseason have all been losses.
"He's unbelievable. The confidence - the quiet confidence he brings to the field - it wears on people", Rizzo said. "That's the question on anybody that's kind of semi-injured, you know, when they fatigue, are they strong enough to battle through whatever is bothering them?" The 27-year-old proved his mettle in the playoffs last year, starting Game 7 of the World Series and performing well. It's part of the journey. "You get frustrated", Zimmerman acknowledged.
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"Obviously it didn't go the way we wanted tonight", Zimmerman said. Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the sixth to lead the Astros to an 8-2 win over the Red Sox in Game Two of their AL Division Series in Houston.
For the second day in a row, Scherzer threw on flat ground in the outfield but did not go through a bullpen session off a mound, which starters usually do two or three days before a game. The spectator reached over a railing to grab it; after an umpire review, the initial ruling that it was a home run stood. But again, the two-strike knocks, KB and Riz had hard first four at-bats combined, and after that they come up with two pretty big hits. If they are to beat the Cubs and - finally - advance another round in the playoffs, they will need one again. "But it will be bigger if we beat them". It just makes you want to beat them that much more.
Relieved and recharged by Harper's 421-foot depressurizer, the Nats' lineup poured it on.
"Great swing on that pitch", Harper said. But when pitchers are at the top of their game, you have to score on outs.
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