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“I just put my head down,” Espinosa said. “I thought I had a good chance once I saw him dive. I thought I could beat it.”

Johnson makes a habit of saying no game is more important than the next, but the weight of the game was clear as soon as Edwin Jackson, who’d thrown 103 pitches and seven innings two days earlier, began warming to enter for a possible 14th inning.

“I wasn’t doing it for heroism,” Jackson said with a shrug. “The bullpen was done. It was a game that we could possibly win. It’s definitely a game where they don’t want to throw position players. It’s not a give-away game.”

It was a game that ended in the most inconceivable of ways. A double play would have halted it, kept it tied. A throw home would’ve done the same, though continued the inning. It felt like playoff baseball, but it couldn’t take you the whole way. There were only 21,298 who paid for a ticket on a rainy evening and far less than half were still around by the time it concluded Tuesday morning.

The game itself, though, was fitting for a pennant race and may well have turned plenty more eyes toward October.

“Big time win,” Espinosa said. “It’s so tight in our division to lose a game like that. The momentum is on our side right now.”

“These are the type of teams you’re going to be playing (in the playoffs),” Tracy added. “Why not prepare for them now?”