In the now, Hendricks' gem allowed the Cubs break through for a 3-0 victory over a almost as impressive Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals to take a 1-0 series lead. A Nationals series win, could stick in many Chicago fans' craw - but not for long, Simpson said.
After the game, while his teammates were busy getting showered and changed in preparation for a late-night flight to Chicago, there was Harper, standing outside the Nationals clubhouse in full uniform, sharing the moment with his father.
The two of you, pry loose the Chicago Cubs' grip from around the Nats' throat. The only baserunner was second-inning walk. Now, who knows when it will be done - or who will win? Los Angeles counters with lefty Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32), who had a 2.77 ERA at home this year. Zimmerman doesn't get his chance if Harper doesn't make the most of his.
And so Harper dug in.
Then in the decisive eighth, the sluggish Nationals offense finally awoke. They had been reduced to flies burning as the sun shone through a magnifying glass, the lens held by the merciless Cubs. Otherwise, Washington's elite hitters - Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner and Jayson Werth - were a combined 0 for 17 with three walks.
"We had them where we wanted them", Montgomery said, "and we couldn't get the job done". Worse: Would there ever be one? Bryce Harper, for the umpteen millionth time in his career, overthrew the cutoff man on Kris Byrant's subsequent RBI single, putting Bryant in scoring position. This is his time.
Sean Doolittle (U.Va.) picked up the save for the Nats with a scoreless ninth. "There's this pressure for him". This was Nationals crowd that came to play - the stands were surprisingly devoid of large amounts of Cubs fans - and with each Strasburg strikeout, the energy grew. They do have a better record this year. Can the Nationals take their new life into Wrigley Field Monday afternoon?
A loss to the Cubs in Game 2 would've put the Nats in an 0-2 hole, which, in the best-of-five NLDS, is usually a point of no return. After all, if the Cubs win again tonight, Scherzer will be tasked with preventing Chicago from sweeping the Nationals out of the 2017 Major League Baseball postseason. He's actually hitting a lot of - I don't know how accurate their gun is, I don't know if it's a little bit hot or not; sometimes I wonder but if the gun was accurate, he hit as high as 91.
"It's gonna be a big benefit for him if they beat us, because then he took out his old team", O'Malley said. Instead, they made him look like the second coming of Greg Maddux.
There was, first, the issue of the at-bat. Down 3-1 on the scoreboard, Adam Lind opened the inning with a single, and Bryce Harper followed with a mighty wallop off Carl Edwards Jr. into the right field upper deck to tie the game 3-3. Kyle Hendricks and two relievers blanked the Nats 3-0 on two hits Friday night, and through seven innings Saturday, they had managed only Anthony Rendon's first-inning solo homer and Zimmerman's fifth-inning single off Jon Lester.
The sixth inning began when Javy Baez reached on an uncharacteristic gaffe by third baseman Anthony Rendon, who lost the handle after fielding a routine ground ball.