What appeared to be a quick and easy game for Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann ended up being one of the most exciting extra-inning games of the 2012 season when Bryce Harper hit his first career walk-off – a single – to left field in the bottom of the twelfth inning aginst the New York Mets. Washington won 7-6 after battling through a four hour and fifteen minute contest and it was brutal.
Over the course of the night, both teams’ benches and bullpens were depleted to the point where position players would have needed to fill the role on the mound. Nats fans were treated to not just one but two starting pitchers on the mound including Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler – Detwiler ended up with the win, by the way, with two innings of work in the game.
What seemed to hold up the Nats eventual victory was Mets starter Chris Young who made his season debut, leaving men on base, and failing to come through in the clutch several times over before finally executing a combination resulting in runs scored. Young was effective, only giving up six hits and two earned runs of the three earned by Washington early on while throwing 52 strikes in 75 pitches.
Zimmermann posted similar numbers on the night lasting six total innings and giving up five hits, two runs, no walks, five strikeouts and two homeruns. That’s what hurt him – giving up two homeruns in the sixth inning with the lead – bringing the score to 3-2 in favor of the Nats.
Washington didn’t lose the lead in the sixth (they lost that honor in both the eighth and tenth innings) but that was the start of what ended up being a twelve-inning game. Coach Jim Lett’s bullpen got a full-group workout in during the game when Manager Davey Johnson started calling them over to the mound in the seventh inning.
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny threw a scoreless seventh before Stammen gave up two runs in the eigth after inheriting a runner from Sean Burnett’s stint just two batters earlier. Tyler Clippard walked the leadoff batter in the ninth before retiring the side.
Once the game got to the eleventh, though, Johnson stuck with Detwiler and the Nats managed enough offense to win it. Michael Morse – who got his first hit of the season, a double in the fourth, since returning from the disabled list – did it again in the twelfth to leadoff and eventually scored on a passed ball at the plate. Then, as the story goes, 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper recorded his first walf-off hit with a single to left field. Jesus Flores scores. Nats win 7-6 and resume their place atop the standings in the National League East.