Washington fans and players experienced all of which October baseball offers last night. The season ended with a 9-7 loss in which the offense erupted early and the pitching collapsed at the end. Friends and strangers were hugging and high-fiving early on and crying on each other's shoulders afterwards. Pure ecstasy followed by utter disbelief and dejection. What a great spectator sport!
Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, and Michael Morse all homered in giving ace Gio Gonzalez a 6-0 lead after 3 innings. He, and 3 of 4 relievers, proceeded to give up 9 runs to the Cardinals in the last six innings. Tantalizingly, the Nats were within one pitch of advancing 5 times in the final inning.
Winning the last game is such a hard thing to do in any professional sport. Despite last night's loss, or perhaps partly because of it, the Washington Nationals and their fans can expect to be in similar positions in the future. With a bit more experience and determination we can expect to get to the next round and the World Series. Hope will spring eternal again in the spring and the bitterness of what happened just after midnight will be gone. Winning the championship is a multi-year effort in most cases!
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