ATLANTA — In dramatic fashion, the Nationals Double-A affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators, clinched their 14th postseason berth in the last 24 years and let loose in a celebratory frenzy inside the home clubhouse at Metro Bank Park. The Senators now need to win one of their remaining five games — and Stephen Strasburg and Ivan Rodriguez start for them Thursday night — in order to clinch the Western Division title. The Eastern League (Double-A) playoffs begin on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
From the Senators:
- Tyler Moore delivered the game winning single in the bottom on the eighth inning, scoring Chris McConnell from third base. Tim Pahuta homered in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 1-1. For Pahuta, it was his 14th home run on the season.
- Erik Arnesen started and went seven strong innings for the Sens, allowing just a an unearned run while striking out nine batters. Cory VanAllen earned the win with a scoreless eighth and Rafael Martin struck out the final two batters for his 13th save on the season.
- Tyler Moore and Tim Pahuta both had two hits in the game.
But they weren’t the only Nationals affiliate celebrating deep into the night on Wednesday. Single-A Potomac earned the opportunity to defend their 2010 Carolina League championship with a 6-3 victory over Lynchburg (Braves affiliate) to clinch a playoff spot.
The P-Nats also moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Frederick Keys (Orioles affiliate) for the second half title, which would determine home field advantage in the Divisional Series.
From the P-Nats:
- The Nationals rode a pair of two-out rallies to victory. In the third, three consecutive two-out singles staked the Nationals to a 1-0 lead. The way pitcher Adam Olbrychowski looked early, it appeared that a single run might hold up.
- But Barrett Kleinknecht tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth, and the game stayed tied for four more innings. Zach Walters and Sandy Leon roped consecutive singles in the seventh. Sean Nicol then reached on an error by the Lynchburg shortstop. The error allowed Walters to score – and the Nationals would pile on from there.
- Eury Perez and Francisco Soriano both walked to bring in another run. Ryan Buchter then came on to pitch, and Jeff Kobernus greeted him with a two-run single to left field that made it 5-1 Nationals. Potomac tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning.