The Washington Nationals hosted the National League Wild Card last night, hoping to exercise postseason demons. The Nationals had not advanced in the playoffs in their 14-year history, including an 0-3 record in winner-take-all games in October.
It appeared to be more of the same when Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a 2-run Home Run off of Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer early in the 1st inning. Outfielder Eric Thames would add to Milwaulkee's lead with a solo Home Run in the 2nd.
Washington shortstop Trea Turner provided an offensive spark in the 3rd inning with a solo Home Run to left-center to cut the lead to 3-1. Stephen Strausburg pitched 3 scoreless innings in relief of Scherzer to keep the game close and later earn the win.
When Brewers closer Josh Hader entered the game in the bottom of the 8th inning to pitch a 2 inning save, many thought the game was over. Instead, veteran 1st baseman Ryan Zimmerman broke his bat on 2 out single to centerfield, Michael Taylor was hit by a pitch, and Anthony Rendon was walked to load the bases.
20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto would step to the plate with the hopes of a city on his shoulders. Soto delivered, by hitting a line drive into right field for a base hit to score 2 runs. An error by rookie right fielder Trent Grisham allowed a third run to score, and suddenly Washington had a 4-3 lead heading to the 9th.
Daniel Hudson would enter for Washington and earn the save to ensure the Nationals would advance in the postseason for the first time with a 4-3 win. The Nationals will ride a 9-game winning streak into the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting on Thursday night.