WASHINGTON — Anthony Rendon led off the 12th inning for the Nationals with a strikeout and an ejection, tossed by home plate umpire Bob Davidson for being less than impressed with a called strike three for the second time in four innings.
That would have put the Nationals in a curious defensive predicament had the Cubs taken them to the 13th inning, as Stephen Drew, Rendon’s backup at third base, had already been burned as a pinch hitter earlier in the game. But the Nats made sure that didn’t happen.
After already battling from behind twice in the game, including tying the game 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, the Nats, down 4-3, again would need to even it up.
Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill plunked Danny Espinosa on an 2-0 fastball, giving the Nats their first base runner with one out. Espinosa then stole second base, giving them a runner in scoring position. Michael Taylor singled to center field, scoring Espinosa from second and tying the game 4-4.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon elected for a pitching change, bringing in right-handed reliever Adam Warren to throw to right-handed pinch-hitter Chris Heisey, who lined out to left field for the Nationals’ second out, bringing Jayson Werth to the plate.
It would take two pitches — Werth lit into an 1-0 fastball, driving it deep into center field, off the top of the wall and over the head of center fielder Albert Almora, Jr.
Taylor, who had already taken off from first before contact, had just enough speed to beat the throw home and score the winning run.
Ambushed by teammates in right field, Werth was over the moon — celebrating his second walk-off hit in three days — by the time he was approached by MASN sideline reporter Dan Kolko for a post-game interview.
(NSFW Warning: MASN has the censored version in the YouTube player at the top of this post.)
Happy 67th birthday, Dusty Baker.