WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still in their second decade of existence as a team, but they have already gone through a major franchise renaissance, from their infancy and return to D.C. to their years as a bottom feeder, to perennial postseason contender to a World Series champion in 2019.
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are still in their second decade of existence as a team, but they have already gone through a major franchise renaissance, from their infancy and return to D.C. to their years as a bottom feeder, to perennial postseason contender to a World Series champion in 2019. And along the way, there have been a ton of memorable games, especially this decade where the Nationals have played the most important games in team history.
MLB.com took a crack at ranking the top 10 games of the decade for the Nationals, games featuring a few history-making accomplishments and a lot of thrilling postseason moments:
1. World Series Game 7 vs. Astros
Oct. 30, 2019
Everything before it led up to this -- the final game of the decade for the Nationals where they finally accomplished the feat they had been building toward since moving to D.C. in 2005. The Nationals won the World Series by taking Game 7 in Houston, 6-2, after coming back from down two runs entering the seventh inning.
2. National League Division Series Game 5 vs. Dodgers
Oct. 9, 2019
The Nationals spent the decade playing memorable Game 5s in the NLDS, games that were always ruined by the outcome of heartbreak and disappointment. They flipped the sentiment with this winner-take-all game in D.C. with their 7-3 comeback victory against the Dodgers, withstanding an early 3-0 hole. The Nationals trailed entering the eighth inning to set up back-to-back homers from Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto against Clayton Kershaw, all punctuated by Howie Kendrick's grand slam in the 10th.
3. NL Wild Card Game vs. Brewers
Oct. 1, 2019
The Nationals' season was down to its final six outs as they trailed by two runs in the eighth against the Brewers. What followed was a rally that would set the tone for a magical postseason run. It was all capped by a playoff-defining moment from Juan Soto who, at 20 years old in his first career playoff game, drove in the game-winning runs by unloading the bases with a single that rolled underneath the glove of Trent Grisham in right field and led to a 4-3 Nats victory.
4. Scherzer ties MLB record with 20 K’s
May 11, 2016
“Strikeouts are sexy,” Max Scherzer said after completing his record-setting night in a 3-2 win, putting himself into the history books with a feat few players in Major League Baseball have ever achieved. Scherzer absolutely bullied his former team, the Tigers, in his first matchup since joining the Nationals, becoming just the fourth pitcher in MLB history to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.
5. Strasburg makes MLB debut
June 8, 2010
Calling Stephen Strasburg's debut simply electric almost seems like an understatement all these years later. With 14 strikeouts in seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 win over the Pirates, Strasburg was dominant, historic and brilliant in one of the most highly anticipated debuts in MLB history, providing Nationals fans with a symbol of hope for the future. It was one of the most anticipated and important games in Nationals history to that point, and it remains one of the highlights of the decade and a preview of what was to come from the young right-hander from San Diego State University.
6. Zimmermann closes out regular season with no-hitter
Sept. 28, 2014
The final game of the 2014 regular season closed with one of the most thrilling games in Nationals history. Jordan Zimmermann completed the first no-hitter in Nationals history, a 104-pitch gem with 10 strikeouts and one walk in a 1-0 win over the Marlins. But the historic feat was especially memorable thanks to Steven Souza Jr., who flew through the air to make a diving catch to seal the final out.
7. Nationals rally from six runs down in the ninth
Sept. 3, 2019
When leading by six or more runs entering the ninth inning, Major League teams had been 274-0 at that point in the 2019 season. And then the Nationals gave up five runs in the top of the ninth against the Mets, but they stormed back in one of the most improbable comebacks in recent memory. Seven of the eight batters reached base during the bottom of the ninth, capped off by a three-run walk-off homer from Kurt Suzuki for an 11-10 comeback win to be remembered for a long time.
8. NLDS Game 4 vs. Cardinals
Oct. 11, 2012
Jayson Werth arrived in D.C. one year earlier with dreams of postseason baseball in Washington, ready to help elevate a franchise he believed was on the cusp. His walk-off homer to save the Nationals' season in a 2-1 win in Game 4 of the NLDS came at the end of a 13-pitch at-bat, and it still stands as one of the most memorable and thrilling home runs in Nationals postseason history.
9. Scherzer's no-hitter vs. Pirates
June 20, 2015
Max Scherzer pitched one of the most flawless games of the decade, a 10-strikeout performance without a walk on 106 pitches in a 6-0 win over the Pirates. He lost his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning when an inside pitch grazed José Tábata’s elbow. It was one of the most dominant stretches of Scherzer’s career, but this was the one where he put it all together, complete with a signature chocolate sauce celebration.
10. Game 4 NLDS vs. Cubs
Oct. 11, 2017
Battling through an illness that threatened his ability to make this start, Stephen Strasburg lifted the Nationals with a masterful performance -- 12 strikeouts in seven shutout innings to beat the Cubs, 5-0, at Wrigley Field and force a Game 5. Feeling less than 100 percent, Strasburg dominated the Cubs and then held on to a small lead before Michael A. Taylor’s grand slam in the eighth inning gave the Nats a 5-0 cushion.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.