Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman hit clutch home runs late in Nationals-Cubs

Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman hit clutch home runs late in Nationals-Cubs”

Harper wore special custom-made red and white Pray for Las Vegas Under Armour cleats for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. Edwards took responsibility for hanging curveball on a 3-1 count that Harper drilled about as far as a human can hit a ball.

Nationals danced around the bases and outside their dugout, bellowed to each other, hugged and gave ideal impressions of exactly what they were - a team on the verge of likely humiliation that had been released from baseball playoff bondage by two swings by two of Washington's favorite athletes.

One pitch changed all that.

Harper hit a long two-run homer off Carl Edwards Jr with one out in the eighth to tie the game at 3-3. Going to Chicago for Game 3 [on Monday] with Surge pitching for us - we feel very confident about that.

Edwards addressed reporters at his locker in a clubhouse that was quiet but not downcast.

Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for the Nationals to get his first post-season save. "Those are situations I want to be up in, and thankfully, I hit the ball where they weren't". "As soon as I left it up, I was thinking it wasn't coming down anytime soon". Harper is a left-handed batter.

Pinch hitter Adam Lind led off the eighth with a single in the first playoff at-bat of a career that has spanned more than a decade and 1,344 regular-season games. "We didn't lean over any wall, and there was no way [right fielder Bryce Harper] could climb the wall, so we were good".

"It's baffling to me a bit why that doesn't occur more often, " Maddon said. CJ was the right man for the job. The Nationals would later take the lead for good. Scherzer is nursing a bad hamstring.

While Harper is battling against fellow Las Vegas native and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant this playoff series, the two friends also appeared in a PSA that aired during Game 1 to help raise awareness in supporting the victims and families affected by the mass shooting by donating to the Las Vegas Victims' Fund. And if the series goes the distance, he'll have Stephen Strasburg (who was almost unhittable Friday night) ready Thursday back here in D.C. They weathered it and won. "Baseball is contagious", Zimmerman said. "You're not going to knock us down". It's part of the journey. When you hang it, it gets banged. Willson Contreras answered leading off the second as he smashed a Gio Gonzalez fastball into the left-field seats. This put the Nats ahead and the team went on to win.

A Cubs fan reached over the railing in right field to grab Rizzo's shot, but the umpires upheld the home run after a replay review.

Ryan Zimmerman celebrates after hitting a go-ahead HR.

"Bryce got him", Maddon said. "We played a good game".

They'll play Game 4 on Tuesday in Chicago at 5:38 p.m. "You've got to be focused. But I'm telling you, to not include his name with these people just baffles me".

Harper's homer was a truly special force-of-nature thing. "I could not be happier", he said of his team's efforts and such irrelevancies. "I think everyone has a thing where we're all pulling that same rope every single day".

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