WASHINGTON (AP) – Trent Grisham's eyes were still red, his cheeks stained with tears as a group of Milwaukee Brewers teammates gathered near his locker at visitors' home in Nationals Park to offer hugs and words of encouragement. .
Everything was going as planned for manager Craig Counsell and the Brewers – leading, mixing and matching the bullpen – until suddenly it wasn't. Milwaukee was undone by Josh Hader's nearest wildness and Grisham's right-field error that allowed the go-ahead to run with two outs at the bottom of the eighth inning.
The result was a 4-3 defeat at the end of the season for the Washington Nationals in NL's wild card game on Tuesday night.
"It will hurt. It will hurt for a long time. Essentially giving the Nationals a place in the Division," Grisham said. "It will hurt. I hope it hurts.
He is a 22-year-old rookie who made his debut on August 1 and has played in just 51 major league games this season, taking over shortly after NL Christian Yelich's 2018 MVP fell during the year after fracturing his right kneecap at 10. of September. .
"He'll be expanded because of the big stage, but he's a big reason we're playing this game. He has a lot to be proud of in the first taste of the big leagues," said Yelich. "I feel for him. If you play baseball long enough, you'll be in those situations. You'll miss sometimes. It's part of being a professional athlete. He'll be fine. "
Even without Yelich, Milwaukee managed to get into the playoffs, winning 18 of 20 games in one stretch and relying on a strong boost.
This formula looked set to work again on Tuesday.
"If you could tell me we'd give Josh six outs," Counsell said, "that would have fit our script very well. It just didn't play."
Milwaukee reached the end of the eighth lead 3-1 thanks to Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames. Initial pitcher Brandon Woodruff threw four times, Brent Suter threw one and Drew Pomeranz two.
The time has come for Hader, an All-Star southpaw who risked and saved 37 games this year. He loaded the bases with two exits, hitting a batter with one pitch, walking another and allowing a single broken baton strike.
This brought Juan Soto, the 20-year-old Nationals shooter, who hit a 100-mile-fast ball to the right. Two runs easily scored – and it would have been if Grisham put the ball clean. But he missed her, letting her jump under his glove and past him.
This error caused go-go to run.
"It got a little off balance," Grisham said. "It kind of took a cool leap on me."
Shortly thereafter, a team of Brewers who reached game 7 of the NL Championship Series a year ago was completed.
Like so many teammates, Hader tried to keep Grisham off the hook.
"There's nothing in it," Hader said. "It all comes down to me making my pitches."
AP freelancer Bobby Bancroft contributed.
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