Nats’ furious comeback in nightcap falls short, delays clincher

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“They obviously blew the call,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “It wasn’t reviewable. They all discussed it, and evidently nobody was paying attention. But Kemp wasn’t running. He just wasn’t running. The tag play was before. Obviously they missed it.”

Catcher Jesus Flores said he heard home plate umpire Alan Porter say he’d thought the bases were loaded, though runners were only on second and third. “Terrible call,” Flores said.

Even Kemp agreed, saying “That was close, I don’t know if I made it or not.” Informed by reporters that he did not, he shrugged. “Yeah, I don’t think I did. We got lucky right there.”

“You can’t just give out free runs in the big leagues,” Zimmerman said. “At the time I don’t think anyone thought it was a really big deal (because we were down by five, and then six runs) but it turned out to be a big deal… It is what it is. It’s over.”

The Nationals say they have larger goals than the wild card. That the division crown is their only interest. But they were close to crossing off the first step, en route to the second. They denied that the thought even entered their minds. Thursday presenting just as good an opportunity to get past that hurdle. The wait will last at least one more day.

“That’s not something we’re really shooting for,” Clippard said. “We’re not shooting for a playoff spot. We’re shooting to win a division. So regardless if we won tonight or not, that’s not really where we want to be. We want to win our division.”

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