After falling in the resumption of Saturday's game that was suspended due to a shooting outside Nationals Park, the Nationals wanted to secure at least one win in a three-game set against the San Diego Padres.
It wasn't easy. Washington got off to a strong start with a four-run bottom of the third inning and ace Max Scherzer looking good on the mound. But a three-run top of the fourth inning after a home run from Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer brought that "here-we-go-again" feeling so common in a 2-11 stretch dating to July 1.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jurickson Profar hit a solo shot off Scherzer to tie the game and deflate the home crowd. Then to make matters worse, third baseman Manny Machado hit a two-run home run to give the Padres a 6-4 lead.
For the Nationals, they needed to come away with a victory. Getting swept would not be the ideal way to start the second half of the season and it seemed the players knew it. In the bottom of the eighth, Alcides Escobar and Juan Soto hit home runs to give the Nationals a 7-6 lead heading into the ninth.
"We all traded blows there from the 7th inning on," Scherzer said. "They were hitting homers, and then we came back and hit homers. Just a hard-fought game both sides."
Despite conceding their two-run lead, the Padres didn't go away. Washington closer Brad Hand blew the save opportunity with Trent Grisham singling to bring in the tying run. However, the Nats were able to fend off the Padres in the bottom of the ninth. Escobar would get the walk-off hit with a drive deep to center as Tres Barrera scored from second base.
"As he goes back, I keep getting further off the bag. One out, I'm just trying to get halfway," Barrera said. "But if it drops, got to score on that. And, man, it dropped, and we won a ballgame. It was awesome."
The win was a much-needed, feel-good moment for players and fans who faced a scary situation in the sixth inning of Saturday's game when the shooting occurred on South Capitol Street just outside the stadium's third-base side gate. Scherzer touched on taking the mound following the resumption of that suspended game and some return to normalcy.
"You knew coming in this is what we were going to be doing today. So for me, it was just trying to guess what the actual game time was going to be. So I made my preparations to basically go at 2:15 [p.m.] The game [started] at 2:20, so that's what it was," Scherzer said.
The Nats, still six games behind in the NL East, welcome division rivals the Miami Marlins for a three-game set at home on Monday.