Bryce Harper wasn’t doused with chocolate syrup after his walk-off home run at Nationals Park, and the Wizards didn’t require a buzzer-beater to win their playoff opener at Verizon Center, but Sunday’s double dose of wins by D.C. sports teams was a welcome reminder of that evening two years ago when Harper and Paul Pierce walked off the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, respectively, fewer than 30 minutes apart.
This time, the order of the wins was reversed, the Wizards were still in the first round and the Nationals were hosting a different division rival. John Wall didn’t call “game” as Pierce did two years ago, but he might as well have during the third quarter, when he scored 15 points and four assists to give Washington the lead for good. About an hour after the Wizards put the finishing touches on their 114-107 Game 1 win, Harper stepped to the plate against Phillies closer Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, two men on and the Nationals trailing, 4-3.
Like Pierce’s banked-in buzzer-beater, Harper’s ensuing home run to deep center field on a 3-2 pitch, which gave Washington a 6-4 win, is best viewed from the perspective of fans in the stands. Here’s how the walk-off looked — and sounded — from several spots around Nationals Park:
Watch how quickly after Harper makes contact Benoit realizes he made a terrible, terrible mistake.