Well that took a surprising turn late in the game, didn’t it!
What started as another possible pitchers’ duel between the Cubs’ John Lester and the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez turned into a home run-centric NLDS Game 2 for the Cubs and Nationals before too long, ending in a pile of home runs at the end of the game that propelled Washington to a 6-3 win.
The Nationals started things off with a home run from Anthony Rendon in the first inning off of Jon Lester, and Gio Gonzalez had an impressive and efficient first inning with sharp pitch placement.
But the Cubs paid the “solo home run” favor back in the top of the second with a shot from Willson Contreras and led for most of the rest of the game. In the top of the fourth, the Kris Bryant/Anthony Rizzo “Bryzzo” combination worked its magic with a double from Bryant followed by a two-run shot from Rizzo to put Chicago in the lead.
There was a momentary worry that because of a fan’s reach to catch the ball it would be disallowed due to fan interference, but the call was confirmed, and Cubs fans could breathe easy and celebrate.
With that dinger, Rizzo tied the Cubs’ franchise record of all time postseason home runs. A reminder that he only just turned 28 in August. Prior to that at-bat, Rizzo was just 2 of 23 against Gio Gonzalez.
The Nationals almost rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs. For a second, it looked as if Jon Lester would be pulled just to be safe, but Lester looked at Joe Maddon with an “I have this under control” stare and indeed he did. He struck out Trea Turner to get out of the jam.
They did more than threaten in the bottom of the eighth though, when a Bryce Harper two-run bomb off of Carl Edwards Jr. tied the game. Plus, he had an epic bat flip to go along with it.
BRYCE HARPER BAT FLIP DOT GIF pic.twitter.com/vAFFB0Rk26— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 8, 2017
Ryan Zimmerman followed that up with his own bomb to put another three runs on the board and as you might expect the CROWD WENT NUTS.
Nats closer Sean Doolittle finished things off with a strikeout in the top of the ninth before forcing Ben Zobrist to ground into a double play. And with that, Nationals fans rejoiced in the stands for an unexpected win.
Lester’s final line was six innings pitched with two each of hits, walks, and strikeouts, and allowing only one run. After the first-inning Rendon dinger, Lester retired the next 10 Nationals batters in a row.
Gonzalez left the game after five innings after letting up three runs on three hits, but striking out six and only walking two before handing things over to the bullpen.
The two teams will go back to Wrigley Field tied up at one game apiece in the series, as the Nationals managed to turn the series around late in the game thanks to some clutch, powerful hitting.