WASHINGTON (AP) — The Nationals' stunning loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night strangely echoed the last winner-take-all game in Washington baseball history.
The Senators blew a 4-0 lead and lost by the identical 9-7 score to the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 of the 1925 World Series. That collapse was marked by the shortstop committing two errors, and Walter Johnson getting pounded for 15 hits.
The Senators, who were also known as the Nationals back then, had just won their second consecutive American League pennant. The year before, they defeated the New York Giants in the World Series, with Johnson coming out of the bullpen to win Game 7 for Washington's first and only World Series title.
In the '25 World Series, the 38-year-old Johnson won his first two starts, helping the Senators take three of the first four games. The future Hall-of-Famer gave up only one run in two complete games against a Pirates team that had led the National League with a .307 batting average, and was also tops in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs.
But the Pirates rallied to win Games 5 and 6, forcing the deciding game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. It was delayed a day due to rain, and when the teams finally got to play on the wet and muddy field, it was another cold, rainy day in mid-October.
Like the 2012 Nationals, who led the Cardinals 6-0 after three innings, the Senators got off to a fast start, scoring four runs in the first inning. The Pirates responded with three runs in the third, but the Senators stormed back with two quick runs and led 6-3 midway through the game.
Johnson, who strained his leg running the bases earlier in the series, gave up two doubles in the bottom of the fifth, leading to another run for the Pirates. But he pitched a scoreless sixth, and the Senators carried a 6-4 lead into the final three innings.
Pittsburgh's first batter in the seventh reached on an error by shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh — the seventh of the series for the normally reliable fielder. The Pirates rallied for two runs on a double and triple to tie the game.