Diamondbacks 13, Nationals 6
(This game was the result of a simulation done through What If Sports. It matched the Arizona Diamondbacks All-Time Team against the Montréal Expos/Washington Nationals All-Time Team. This game did not actually happen.)
Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley hit three home runs apiece, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 13–6 victory over the Montréal Expos/Washington Nationals at Stade Olympique in Montréal. Finley and Gonzalez had six and five RBI, respectively, to share Player of the Game honors.
Early Outburst Gives Diamondbacks Lead over Nationals
Shortstop Stephen Drew chased a high Max Scherzer fastball to lead off the game. Second baseman Ketel Marte singled to right-center, bringing up Gonzalez, the left fielder. Gonzalez hit a high AstroTurf bouncer to third. There was no play on Marte at second, so Anthony Rendon fired to first to retire Gonzalez by less than a step. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt walked and advanced to third on a single by third baseman Matt Williams. Marte scored, giving the Diamondbacks a 1–0 lead. Finley, the center fielder, made the score 4–0 with a towering blast to the bleachers in right-center. Scherzer stopped the bleeding when he got the next hitter, right fielder Justin Upton, to chase a low curveball for a strikeout.
Randy Johnson took the hill in the bottom of the first. This was, incidentally, the same mound where he made his first major league start on September 15, 1988. Left fielder Tim Raines drew a leadoff walk. He stole second and took third on a throwing error by Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, with Raines now on third, could not drive in the run with his grounder to third. Williams, playing in, smoothly gloved it on one hop and nabbed the speedy Turner on a close play at first. Rendon drove in Raines with a single to left-center. A grounder to third by center fielder Andre Dawson advanced Rendon to second. But a pop to short by right fielder Larry Walker left Rendon stranded, ending the first with the Diamondbacks holding a 4–1 lead.
Nationals Narrow Gap
Scherzer recovered nicely in the top of the second. He sat the Diamondbacks down in order, as Montero struck out, designated hitter David Peralta grounded to short, and Drew struck out looking. Expos/Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman led off the bottom half with a fly to left, but a single by catcher Gary Carter and homer to left-center by second baseman Jose Vidro made the score 4–3. Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero also singled, drawing a mound visit, but Johnson settled down. He got Raines to hit a potential double-play grounder to third. Williams threw to Marte to force Guerrero, but Raines beat the relay to first by a close margin. Turner singled Raines to third with a bloop shot to the Bermuda Triangle in shallow center, but a popup to short by Rendon quelled the rally.
Marte led off the third with a line-drive double to right before getting picked off at second. The pickoff might have cost the Diamondbacks a run, for Gonzalez — the batter during the pickoff — sent a deep fly high over the center-field wall for a home run. Goldschmidt walked and stole second, giving the Diamondbacks another runner in scoring position. But a pop to second and grounder to third by Williams and Finley, respectively, left Goldschmidt stranded. Grounders to short and second by Dawson and Walker, respectively, opened the bottom half. A floater near the line in shallow left gave Zimmerman a two-out hustle double, but a whiff by Carter rendered it moot.
Early Exit for Scherzer
Both pitchers combined to pitch a perfect fourth, but it came at a cost to the Expos/Nationals. A fly to center by Upton preceded a strikeout by Montero to open the top half. Peralta lined a hard comebacker. It ricocheted off Scherzer’s upper arm and deflected to Zimmerman, who caught it for the third out. Although Scherzer was not seriously injured, he had to leave the game. Vidro opened the bottom half with another strikeout. Guerrero and Raines ended the inning with grounders to third and short, respectively. This kept the score at 5–3 in favor of the Diamondbacks.
John Wetteland took over pitching duties in the top of the fifth. First to face him was Drew, who flied to right. Marte hit a grounder deep in the hole on the left side. Turner made a lunging stab to field it, but Marte beat the throw for an infield single. A seeing-eye grounder through the hole on the right side gave Gonzalez a single and advanced Marte to third. After Goldschmidt fanned, Williams flied to center for the third out.
Turner led off the bottom half with a bloop double near the line in shallow right. Rendon struck out before Dawson flied to right. The end-of-the-bat popup was too shallow for Turner to tag. Walker left Turner stranded with an unassisted groundout to first.
A perfect sixth for both pitchers kept the score at 5–3 Diamondbacks. Finley led off the top half with a routine fly to right. After Upton struck out looking, Montero went down swinging. Zimmerman led off the bottom half with a warning-track fly to left before Carter grounded to first unassisted. Vidro ended the inning with a swinging strikeout.
Diamondbacks Expand Lead over Nationals
Peralta and Drew started the seventh with a grounder to short and fly to right, respectively. Marte kept the inning alive with a line-drive single to right-center, his fourth hit of the game. Exit stage left for Wetteland as Drew Storen came in to pitch to Gonzalez. Gonzo welcomed Storen with a high fly to right-center that snuck over the 12-foot wall for his second homer of the game. Goldschmidt followed with a grounder to second, retiring the side.
Johnson fanned Guerrero to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Raines smoked a liner straight to Drew, who gloved it for the second out. Turner hit a one-hopper to short, where Drew made a fine throw to nab the speedster for the inning-ending out.
With the Diamondbacks still holding a 7–3 lead, Williams opened the eighth with a routine grounder to second. Finley made the score 8–3 with a fly to the seats in right-center, his second round-tripper of the game. Storen shook it off, fanning both Upton and Montero to retire the side.
Game Gets Close Again
Johnson toed the rubber in the bottom of the eighth with a comfortable 8–3 lead. Seemingly comfortable, that is. Three of the next five hitters he faced are Hall of Famers, and for good reason. Rendon led off with a line-drive single to right-center and advanced to third on a double by Dawson that one-hopped the wall in center. Walker drove in both runners with a single to right-center, cutting the lead to 8–5. Zimmerman whiffed before Carter walked, bringing up Vidro, whose single plated Walker.
With the score now 8–6, Jose Valverde came in from the ‘pen to put out the fire. He locked up Guerrero with a slider for a called third strike before walking Raines. Turner ended the inning with a routine grounder to short.
Big Ninth Puts Game Away
Peralta led off the ninth with a single up the middle. Vidro, moving to his right, made a nice backhand to field the grounder, but he had no play on the hustling Peralta. After Drew struck out looking, Marte flied to center for the second out. Up came Gonzalez, whose third homer of the game — a no-doubter to left-center — scored Peralta and ended Storen’s night. In came Jeff Reardon, who promptly served up a line-drive double to the gap in left-center by Goldschmidt. Williams hit a low bouncer up the middle that snuck past both Reardon and a diving Turner. Goldschmidt scored, making the score 11–6.
Finley, who already had two home runs, smoked a screaming liner to right-center. It cleared the wall by inches, giving him his third dinger and the Diamondbacks a commanding 13–6 lead. Upton lined a single to right-center before Montero, the ninth batter of the inning, flied to center.
Valverde Finishes Nationals Off
The bottom of the ninth started with walks by Rendon and Walker sandwiching a fly to center by Dawson. After Zimmerman fanned, Carter rocketed a grounder down the third-base line. Williams, guarding the line, dove to his right and gloved it on one hop. He sprung to his feet and outraced Rendon to third for the game-ending force.
The Diamondbacks, with their 13–6 victory, advance to the National League Round of Eight. They will face the San Francisco Giants All-Time Team at Oracle Park in San Francisco. The Giants, the top seed in the National League, had a first-round bye.
Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Stephen Drew, Max Scherzer, Ketel Marte, Anthony Rendon, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Williams, Justin Upton, Randy Johnson, Tim Raines, Miguel Montero, Trea Turner, Andre Dawson, Larry Walker, David Peralta, Ryan Zimmerman, Gary Carter, Jose Vidro, Vladimir Guerrero, John Wetteland, Drew Storen, Jose Valverde, Jeff Reardon