by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Adam LaRoche’s 11th-inning solo home run gave the Nationals a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, in walk-off fashion, stretching Major League Baseball’s longest winning streak to seven games.

The Nationals also continued another underlying streak — it was their third consecutive walk-off victory, in as many nights.

First, there was Saturday night against the Pirates, in which an two-run LaRoche homer evened the score at 3-3 in the eighth inning, and a Wilson Ramos ground-rule double bounced Bryce Harper home and the Nationals to a 4-3 victory in the bottom of the ninth.

Then there was Sunday night, also against the Pirates, whom the Nationals allowed back into the game when closer Rafael Soriano gave up three ninth-inning runs to Pittsburgh, who then led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth. A one-out Asdrubal Cabrera single scored Jayson Werth — who’d walked on a pinch-hit at-bat after missing five games — from second, tying the game at 5-5, sending it to extra innings.

With the score still tied and one out in the 11th, Werth smashed a double off the left-field wall, later advancing to third base on a Denard Span groundout. Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston drilled a sacrifice fly high into deep left field, giving Werth enough time to tag and spring across home plate for the 6-5 walk-off win.

Last night was perhaps the most unlikely of the three stunners.

Leading 2-1 in the eighth, starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann walked Jake Lamb to lead off the inning, then gave up a two-run home run to Didi Gregorius, giving Arizona a 3-2 lead. Span doubled in the bottom half, to be driven in on a triple by Anthony Rendon, tying the game 3-3. Rendon then scored on a Werth sac fly.

But the Nationals would again sacrifice the lead in the ninth, when Tyler Clippard — filling in for Soriano, who’d pitched four of the last four nights — gave up a solo shot to David Peralta, again tying the game, this time 4-4.

After a silent bottom half for the Nats, and no offense from either team in the tenth, reliever Craig Stammen threatened the Nationals chance at victory by loading the bases with no outs in the top of the 11th inning. Stammen would quickly, and amazingly, work his way out of the self-inflicted jam, striking out the next two batters and getting the final out on a routine grounder to the middle of the infield, setting the stage for more Nationals extra-inning magic.

After two quick outs for Rendon and Werth — a line-out and strikeout, respectively — LaRoche approached the plate, score still tied at 4 in the bottom of the 11th.

LaRoche worked the count against Arizona reliever Will Harris, eventually getting his pitch and sending a 3-1 sinker sailing over the bullpen past the right-field wall for Washington’s third straight walk-off and seventh straight victory, to protect their 6-game NL East-division lead over the Atlanta Braves.

And LaRoche was absolutely besieged by his Nationals teammates at home plate.

There’s something special happening in Washington, and the Nationals are still surging.


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