For the first 7 innings, the Brewers seemed poised to win the game the way they have been doing all year. It couldn’t have been a better script for manager Craig Counsell as great pitching and a couple of clutch home runs put them up 3-1. Washington seemed to be done for the season as the ball was handed to Josh Hader, one of the top relievers in the game.
After years of losing in the playoffs and not being able to win elimination games at home, Juan Soto and the Nationals finally turned the script around. After Victor Robles struck out swinging to start the 8th, Hader hit pinch-hitter Michael A. Taylor with a ball that also cracked the knob of his bat. After a challenge by the Brewers, the controversial call was upheld.
Trea Turner, who hit a solo home run in the 3rd, then struck out on a high 97 mph fastball from Hader. Only one out away from heading to the 9th with a 3-1 Milwaukee lead, Ryan Zimmerman hit a bloop single and Anthony Rendon walked to load up the bases for Juan Soto.
20-year-old Soto, appearing in his first playoff game, lined a single to right that probably would have scored 2, but the ball got by Trent Grisham and all 3 runs scored easily. Nobody in the stadium seemed to care that Soto was thrown out at 3rd, as the Nats went wild with celebration and took a 4-3 lead.
Daniel Hudson finished off the Brewers in the 9th and the Nats will head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in the NLDS.