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But the Nationals surpassed the surge by a run in the sixth, aided by a fluky sacrifice bunt from relief pitcher Jason Bergmann. With Alberto Gonzalez on first and no outs, Bergmann chopped a bunt into the dirt in front of home plate and up into the glove of catcher Jason Kendall.

Rather than throwing to second - and getting a force on Gonzalez and starting a double play - Kendall instinctively tagged Bergmann and then threw to second. Only because he had already tagged Bergmann, there was no force play at second, and J.J. Hardy never applied a tag.

The gaffe left a runner on second, and Gonzalez would score when Cristian Guzman doubled two batters later. It was the kind of mental lockdown the Nationals have been paying for all season. On Monday night, it sustained an inning that culminated in Willingham’s second grand slam.

Ryan Zimmerman blasted a solo homer in the eighth inning, his 18th of the year and the fifth homer of a wild game in a stuffy stadium with its retractable roof closed. But that only salted the gashes Willingham had put in a shaky Brewers pitching staff with his bat.

“Oftentimes, you don’t see the bases loaded twice for the same guy in the same game - much less a guy hitting two grand slams,” outfielder Adam Dunn said. “That’s pretty amazing.”