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Hector Sanchez hits a soul-crushing home run as the Giants win

Aug 15, 2013, 7:45 PM EDT

Hector Sanchez AP

On the heels of a five-game winning streak, the Nationals were three outs away from reaching the .500 mark for the first time since July 19 when Rafael Soriano took the hill with a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning this afternoon against the Giants. After allowing a lead-off single to Buster Posey, Soriano got two quick outs, striking out Hunter Pence and getting Pablo Sandoval to fly out. Soriano prolonged the inning by walking Roger Kieschnick, bringing up Hector Sanchez with the tying run on first base.

Sanchez entered the pinch-hit at-bat with no home runs and a .501 OPS in 51 plate appearances so far this year. Soriano threw him nothing but fastballs. After falling behind 0-2, Sanchez admirably took a couple close pitches and worked the count back up to 3-2. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Sanchez took Soriano’s offering deep down the right field line for the go-ahead three-run home run. Prior to the at-bat, the Nationals were 93 percent favorites. After the at-bat, they were 18 percent underdogs, something best illustrated, as FanGraphs as has done.

The Nationals fall back to 59-61, 14.5 games behind the Braves in first place in the NL East. The Giants improve to 53-67, but they are 17 games behind the Dodgers in last place in the NL West.

  1. lew24 - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    After last night’s game, the Nats thought they had a chance to chase down the Wild Card. This loss might sting a bit!

  2. emdash01 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    At this point the reaction is less soul crushed and more annoyed sigh, honestly.

  3. nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    On Wednesday, Soriano got credit for a save when Span saved him. But for that great catch, it’s most likely consecutive blown saves. Argh. This team has been going nowhere all season and that remains the direction they are heading in.

    • natslady - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Yeah, well, before Soriano got to the 9th inning, bear in mind that JZim left the game with a 6-1 lead and the middle relievers couldn’t hold it–he never should have been in the game at all.

      And today, the Nats left a gazillion men on base (though, to give him credit, Bochy IBB’d Suzuki twice to get to the pitcher, who left 6 on base). That doesn’t excuse Soriano, who said he wasn’t tired, and who thought he had a strike on the 2-2 pitch to Sanchez to end the game. OK, but how about the other two guys on base, Posey and the guy he walked? Reminds me of the time Stras gave up a grand slam and said he made “one mistake.” Oh, yeah? Then how did the bases get loaded?

      A solo HR would not have lost this game.

      • natslady - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        And Soriano was 0-2 on the guy he walked. And 0-2 on Sanchez also, if I recall. Stop fooling around and throw strike three. And with Posey, Posey took a fastball right down the middle, so you know he was sitting slider. What does Soriano throw–a slider, and NOT in the dirt.

  4. futuristictradi58 - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Reblogged this on Kung Fu Blog for the Twenty First Century and commented:
    Hector is going to be trouble for pitchers this year!

  5. misterj167 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    The last place Marlins are closer to the Nats (12 1/2 games) than the Nats are to the Braves. Even if they sweep they’d still be 11 1/2 games out. The WC is still in the “anything is possible” range but with 42 games left it doesn’t look very good.

    Braves Magic Number is 28. If the Braves sweep it will be 22.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      IMHO, the Nats’ magic number is 2014.

  6. leerosenthall - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I wanna know who that idiotic Nats fan was a few rows back behind home plate who LITERALLY was scratching his beer belly as if it was some kind of lucky charm while Soriano was pitching in the top of the 9th.

    And this moron’s girlfriend just stood there next to him while he did it!

    It was one of the most appalling things I’ve ever seen during a ballgame, and I’m from Philly, so that’s saying a lot. Nats lost, no doubt, because of this guy’s bad juju. Dude should be run out of town!

    Watch the video here. He’s in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_15_sfnmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=video

    • Reflex - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      I thought you were exaggerating but geezus that is something. Ugh. Some things I can’t un-see…

      • leerosenthall - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Yeah, I neglected to point out the idiot was lifting his Nats jersey so he could scratch his BARE beer belly.

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