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NY Magazine Photo

It didn’t look or feel as if it would be a 4 hour and 15 minute game.

In fact, the first seven innings were played in less than two hours.

I looked at the clock on the scoreboard and thought, “I oughta be home by 10 PM, beat my curfew, and probably be asleep shortly thereafter, as is my usual custom.”

The Nats were up 3-2 going into the 8th. Prior to that both Jordan Zimmerman and Chris Young had pitched well. Zim had given up only five hits, tho two were home runs. Young had given up six hits and also only two earned runs.

It seemed it was going to be another close ending. But if you’ve followed the Nats this year, you know that’s not unusual. Eighteen of their 53 games, one third, have been decided by one run.

Then in the 8th, everything changed.

I’m not sure I can recount it all without referring to box scores, newspaper articles, on-line articles, etc., but suddenly the score went from 3-2 favoring the Nats to 4-3 favoring the Mets in the top of the eighth. Then The Nats tied it 4-4 in the bottom of the inning.

OK. The ninth would settle it. Right?

Nope. No runs for either team.

Extra innings.

Mets take the lead 5-4 on a Nats’ wild pitch (Rodriquez), tho I thought it was a passed ball and should have been stopped by Nats’ catcher Flores.

Looked bad for the Nats. But then the Mets committed two errors and a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th. Actually, if you included a juggle by Mets’ first baseman Davis, there were really four miscues. Mets shoulda won it in 10.

There were 26,256 fans (official attendance), and most stayed at least through the 9th. But then the crowd dwindled, and as the last Metro train leaves at 11:20, by the end of the 10th, not many fans were left.

Nothing in the 11th

Mets went ahead again in the 12th on a home run (Hairston).

Now it was over four hours. Didn’t look good for the home team.

But Morse doubled, Desmond doubled to score him, and once again it was a tie game, 6-6. More trouble for the Mets with another wild pitch, two walks, and the bases were loaded with one out. Second out came at home plate, when Nady grounded to first.

Down 0-2, Bryce Harper, who had driven in the Nats’ first run and then struck out twice when he could have put the Nats ahead, slapped a slightly outside pitch into left that was just short of Rottino’s reach.

Flores scored, Harper had his first walk off hit, and the Nats had their 6th walk off win of 2012.

Not a well played game, three Mets’ errors, a combined total of four wild pitches and one passed ball. And there were other misplays that were costly to both teams.

There were some bright spots for both teams. Young’s return to the mound was good. Zimmerman kept it close. Morse got his first two hits, doubles, since he’s been back. Desmond got three RBIs. Harper drove in the first and the walk off runs as well as made a good play in foul territory to keep the game close.

But if you stayed the whole way, you saw a game where the lead changed seven times and was decided by a walk off hit (by a 19 year old) with the bases loaded, two outs, and an 0-2 count.

A game you would remember.

So, when you’re thinking about leaving before a game is over, you might want to remember that 20% of the Nats’ games this year have been been decided in the bottom of the 9th or later (Nats are 6-5 in games settled in the bottom of the last inning). Plus, 34% of their games so far have been won or lost by one run.

And if my morning calculations and limited research are accurate, the Nats are on a track to win a Major League record of 19 walk off wins (the most walk off wins in a regular season are the 17 the Yunkees won in 1943, the year I was born).

You gotta stay ’til the end.