Tonight, the Washington Nationals were shut out by the Phillies, 2-0, a home loss to the hated Phillies.
No one noticed that they lost.
The Nationals clinched the NL East by dint of the Pirates beating the Braves – word of which came in the middle of the 9th inning by way of the out of town scoreboard. There was a long pause as Aumont warmed for the Phillies, and the dugout erupted into shouts and hugs as the Nationals secured the first baseball division championship since 1948 (Homestead Grays) and the first MLB division championship since 1933. Five minutes later, it was over and the Nats had been 6-hit shutout victims at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.
It was the happiest of losses.
The crowd tonight at Nationals Park was a living, breathing force of nature. Every small rally attempt crackled with enthusiasm and energy, even when they trailed, and even when Philly looked unhittable. It’s hard to think that getting shutout at home wouldn’t dampen the crowd, but that was not to be.
The Nationals had some highlights, despite their troubles at the plate: Craig Stammen’s 6 swinging strikeouts in 2 IP, Bryce Harper’s double off the wall after running square into in the 2nd, and 35,000+ singing along with Take On Me as Morse waited in the on-deck circle in the 9th.
What a night for the Nationals to complete their worst-to-first cycle. Two years after losing 93, they’ve won 96, and the National League East, and are still fighting for the number one seed in the playoffs.
Most telling about the night’s festivities, I think, was the Nationals coming back out on the field with beers and champagne bottles to spray on their fans, gathered behind the dugout, along the left field wall, and beyond. This was not a celebration limited to the clubhouse, to the insiders; no, this was one for and with the fans who slogged through years in substandard conditions at RFK, for those that slogged through awful play in 2007 – 2009, for those that have worn their Curly Ws in a town who only has ever had time for the Redskins.
This was the happiest loss you’ll ever see.
The Nationals have two home games remaining before the playoffs. We are proud to announce that We Love DC is credentialed through the first round of the playoffs, and we will be bringing to you their games’ stories as this historic run continues.