It could have gotten real ugly for the Nationals if they would have lost to the Pirates Thursday. Washington blew a 7-3 ninth inning lead, allowing Pittsburgh to tie the game while down to its final out.
If the Nationals would have lost, it would have been their seventh straight defeat -- their first seven-game skid in almost four years -- or, as Tyler Clippard put it, "kind of a dagger for us."
Yet Bryce Harper, who had not hit a home run since July 1, sent the home fans home happy for the first time in nearly three weeks, connecting on his first career walk-off home run to lift the Nationals to a much-needed 9-7 win. He is the youngest player to hit a walk-off in 10 years and only three players as young as Harper have hit walk-offs in the last 60 years.
"That would've been tough to overcome," said bench coach Randy Knorr, who filled in as interim manager after Davey Johnson was ejected. "To tell you how it feels, just walking into the clubhouse right now, you'd think we won the World Series or something."
Not winning for almost two weeks -- All-Star break included -- can have the affect.
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