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Sunday was a perfect encapsulation of the kind of season it’s been for the Washington Nationals.
Ace Max Scherzer went seven dominant innings, giving up just three hits and striking out 11 in the Sunday Night Baseball game vs. the Chicago Cubs.
Scherzer, the two-time defending NL Cy Young winner who might be heading toward a third straight top pitcher honor, handed the ball over with his team leading 1-0.
The score was just 1-0 for the bulk of the game thanks to Cole Hamels’ equally-strong, seven-inning performance of one-hit ball for the Cubs. But the Nationals added two runs in the top of the ninth for a 3-0 lead.
Seems like a likely win, right?
They lost the game, thanks to a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam by Cubs rookie David Bote.
Bote said on ESPN’s SportsCenter that the blast was his first walk-off homer at any level.
“It’s magical,” Bote said of the moment. “It’s incredible. It’s an unbelievable feeling. It couldn’t happen to a better team, a better group of people in that clubhouse. And I’m so blessed and honored to be part of it.”
The 25-year-old Bote, who entered Sunday with just two home runs in 33 career MLB games, had a chance to be the hero thanks to the implosion of the Nationals’ Ryan Madson.
Called on to close the ninth, Madson started well by getting Ben Zobrist to ground out.
But Jason Heyward reached on an infield single before Madson plunked Albert Almora Jr. with a pitch.
With two men on Madson got Kyle Schwarber to foul out for out No. 2 of the inning.
Madson however followed that up by hitting another batter, Willson Contreras, on a 2-2 count.
Pinch hitting in place of pitcher Justin Wilson, Bote sent Wrigley Field into a frenzy by connecting on another 2-2 offering from Madson.
Capping the night for Bote? A hug from legendary comedian and Chicago icon Bill Murray.
Contributing: Associated Press