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Espinosa took Cain to 2-1 before he laced his own into the first row of seats above the out-of-town scoreboard. 5-3.

In the game’s final three innings, the Nationals notched eight hits after getting just four in the first six. They exposed a Giants bullpen whose work to this point had been nearly letter-perfect, and they had no shortage of heroes to laud in a raucous post-game celebration that involved several Nationals acting like deer while LaRoche, an avid hunter, mimed shooting them with a bow and arrow.

Mark DeRosa legged out a double to keep their seventh-inning rally alive. Steve Lombardozzi followed with an infield single. Harper laid off several inside pitches before lofting a double into left field. 5-4.

And in the ninth, the Nationals forced the Giants to rush. Lombardozzi hustled down the line on a bunt to move Moore to third base and Giants closer Santiago Casilla couldn’t get a handle on the ball. Harper worked a 3-1 count and then laced a single through the right side to tie the game. Even LaRoche, who joked he’d “lost count” how many games he’d won on his speed alone, didn’t concede when his ground ball looked to be a surefire inning-ending double play.

“You hope for the best,” he said. “You know you’ve got to get on it. They’ve got to catch it, throw it, catch it, throw it, catch it, there’s a lot that can happen. It’s not a great feeling [seeing the ground ball] — until something like that happens.”

Nationals manager Davey Johnson sat down at his postgame press conference with a wide grin, apologizing to reporters for all the re-writes. As he walked into his office, general manager Mike Rizzo followed him in. “That was fun,” Johnson told him. Rizzo nodded. “That was fun,” he said.