It was a huge night for the Washington Nationals.

Hosting a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals had an opportunity to clinch the first Wild Card spot in the NL. If the Nationals defeated the Phillies in both games and the Pirates beat the Cubs, the Nationals would celebrate their fifth playoff berth in eight years.

The Nationals had some extra motivation to clinch a playoff spot at this time. Given Bryce Harper left Washington to sign with Philadelphia, defeating the guy who left them and the team who was early favorites to win the NL East would make for an even sweeter victory for the Nationals.

After a 4-1 win in Game 1, the Nationals moved onto Game 2. The Phillies got out front immediately as Brad Miller launched a three-run homer in the first inning. The Nationals then got the lead with a go-ahead grand slam by Trea Turner in the sixth inning. Not even a Harper home run in the seventh was enough as the Nationals won 6-5 and completed the doubleheader sweep.

The Nationals did their part to clinch but they needed some outside help to actually clinch the Wild Card. The Pirates needed to beat the Cubs, who are behind the Nationals and Brewers in the Wild Card chase, to have the Nationals clinch.

After doing their part, Nationals players watched the end of the Cubs-Pirates game on the Nationals Park scoreboard. After the Cubs took an early lead, the Pirates had a massive seven-run seventh inning to defeat the Cubs 9-2 and send the Nationals into the playoffs.

The Nationals are going to celebrate tonight but their season isn’t over. Sitting only one game ahead of the Brewers, the Nationals will need to stay ahead of them in order to host the Wild Card Game next week.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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