So close…. yet so far
Less than three weeks after the Braves were no-hit by the Rockies, they seemed destined to sink into despair yet again.
Scott Olsen was dealing. After seven innings, the Braves were hitless and Olsen had extended his scoreless inning streak to 20. He took a no-hitter into the eighth and after Matt Diaz was called out looking with a full count it seemed like the Braves were going to be no-hit for the second time this season–Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first no-hitter of the season against the Braves on April 17.
“I think if that would have happened,” Chipper Jones said, “you probably have to put us all on a suicide watch.”
Scott Olsen needed only five more outs and he would forever be remembered.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Olsen said about the potential no-hit bid. “I was thinking about it early. I thought about it in the fourth and fifth inning. But it’s one of those things that’s hard–real hard–to do.”
David Ross proved why it was so hard and made sure that didn’t happen. He singled to left on the second pitch, just past a leaping Ian Desmond. (Reaction below.)
As quickly as the no-hitter was lost, the game was tied 2-2 after Jason Heyward laced a two-run single to left off Tyler Clippard with the bases loaded.
How quickly the tide turned. The Braves had runners on the corner with one out. Clippard settled down and got Omar Infante to ground into a double play to end the eighth. But he found himself in trouble yet again in the ninth. The Braves loaded the bases and the man who broke up the no-hitter found himself at the plate once again. He wasn’t so lucky. Ross grounded into an inning ending double play.
Adam Kennedy drew a walk to lead off the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman doubled and the Braves intentionally walked Cristian Guzman to load the bases. With the infield in and zero outs, Willie “Walk-off” Harris ripped a single into center field to give the Nats their 15th win of the season. They didn’t win their 15th game last year until June 6 (they were 15-36 at that point in 2009).
It is a different year and you can sense it everywhere: in the clubhouse, in the stands and, of course, on the Metro. This game had everything any fan could ask for: a possible no-hitter, suspense late into the game, home runs, key double plays and a walk-off win.
Here are some memorable quotes as people waited for the Green line to Greenbelt.
“I ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl, got half drunk and watched our Nationals win. It was like a night in heaven.”
“That was one of the best games I have ever seen.”
“Talk about a heart attack inducing game.”
“The Nats would have lost this game last year. They are winning a lot of close games this season. Last year, they looked for ways to lose… this year they are finding ways to win.”
“Tyler Clippard for Cy Young.”
“Zimmerman looked like Air Jordan jumping out there… If only Scottie Pippen could have caught the ball.”
His buddy quickly responded, “Great basketball analogy at a baseball game.”