Nationals 6-Giants 5: Harper knocks in tying run in 9th, scores game winner
- Washington Nationals' Adam LaRoche--in a throwback 'Senators' uniform-runs to first base after hitting a ground ball that scored Bryce Harper with the winning run in the ninth inning against the 'New York' Giants, Thursday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bryce Harper scored the winning run when first baseman Brandon Belt couldn't dig out a short-hop throw on a potential double-play ball in the ninth, and the Washington Nationals completed a sweep Thursday with a 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants on a night of fond memories of the 1924 World Series.
It was throwback night in the nation's capital, and the "Senators" topped the "New York Giants" with a two-run rally off Santiago Casilla (2-4). The NL East leaders recovered from a four-run deficit and have won four straight and seven of nine.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore led off the ninth with an opposite-field double to the gap in left-center. Casilla then failed to barehand Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice, an error that put runners on first and third with none out. Harper singled in the tying run, and Ryan Zimmerman was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Michael Morse bounced into a forceout at home, and the game appeared headed to extra innings when Adam LaRoche grounded to second. The Giants got the first out at second base, but shortstop Brandon Crawford bounced the relay to first - and Belt couldn't come up with it.
Tyler Clippard (2-2) pitched the ninth to get the win for the Nationals, who scored 24 runs in the three-game series.
The home team went all-out to recreate the nostalgia of '24, even though the game featured neither of the franchises from the Series the Senators won in seven games. The Giants moved to the West Coast in 1958, and that version of the Senators (also called the Nationals) bailed for Minnesota in 1961. The current Nationals are the former Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington in 2005.
Still, it was a treat to see the Giants wearing the old pinstripe caps with the stylish NY logo with the gray uniforms, and the Nationals sporting a straight W instead of a curly one.
Fans received an old-fashioned "official score card" from the "Washington Base Ball Club." The players wore stirrups, and the grounds crew donned suspenders. Charlie Brotman, the public address announcer for two Senators franchises, was back at the microphone, while the scoreboard showed replays in black and white.
The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch came from Game 6 of the '24 Series. Throwing it from the first row of the stands was Hank Thomas, grandson of Game 7 winner and Hall of Fame pitcher "Big Train" Walter Johnson.
One big difference: That Game 6 lasted one hour, 57 minutes. Thursday's game was just getting to the seventh inning at the two-hour mark.
It would have lasted longer - or at least had more scoring - if the Giants could get more bang for their buck. San Francisco needed 15 hits to scratch out its five runs. Pablo Sandoval struck out with the bases loaded in the first and hit into a fielder's choice with the bags full in the fourth.
Giants starter Matt Cain allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa in the seventh, and Jeremy Affeldt gave up three hits later in the inning to make it a one-run game.
Washington starter Ross Detwiler allowed three runs and kept getting out of trouble but was done after throwing 90 pitches in five innings on another steamy night. The first-pitch temperature was 95 degrees.
NOTES: Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez will have microdiscectomy surgery on his back next week and won't play this season. ... Harper didn't win the online balloting for the final NL All-Star roster spot. Told before the game that Harper was trailing, Washington manager Davey Johnson said: "Good. ... He could use the time off to catch his breath." ... Nationals RHP Drew Storen, recovering from a right elbow injury, began a rehab assignment at Single-A Potomac. He pitched a perfect inning, needing only eight pitches to retire the side.
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