One team had to win this, and the Pirates took it in 18 innings: Postgame

Both starting pitchers had pitched very well if you remember back to Max Scherzer and Chad Kuhl. In the 9th inning with the Nationals behind 1-0—2 outs, Daniel Murphy hit a game tying HR off of Mark Melancon to keep the game going.

The Pirates had the best chance to win the game early in extra innings on a hit off the centerfield wall, and Michael Taylor got the rebound off the wall and threw the relay to Danny Espinosa who nailed the runner at the plate with a swipe tag by Wilson Ramos.

Extra inning games require that added element of managerial strategy, and in the 18th inning the only remaining players for either team were players who weren’t available to pinch-hit. With 2 outs and the Pirates’ pitcher Jonathan Niese on-deck, the Nats pitched to Starling Marte who launched the 2 out HR. Why wasn’t he pitched around or intentionally walked with Niese on-deck?

That becomes one of those questions that Talk Nats readers commented on as Marte stepeed into the box. Sec3, TexNat, and ManassasNatsFan all wondered. Who knows why sometimes.

The Nationals had several chances in extra innings, and readers were wondering why in the 17th inning the Nats didn’t run Michael Taylor with 1 out and a 3-2 count on Jayson Werth. Seemed like the play you put on, and Taylor stayed glued to 1st base and as expected Jayson Werth grounded up the middle for a tailor-made doubleplay. There were other plays, but in the end the Nats had a chance to tie or win with Espinosa up and Ramos and Drew on-base and Espinosa struck out to end the game. Nats lose 2-1.

In the post-game press conference, Dusty admitted he wasn’t quick enough to put up the 4 fingers to walk Marte in the 18th inning.

Dusty Baker confirmed that Reynaldo Lopez would be starting Tuesday against the Dodgers. Sammy Solis will be moved to the DL due to what is being called a minor knee strain.

Statcast analyzed that Taylor to Espinosa to Ramos play at the plate:

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