Things didn't go smoothly for the Big Train. He gave up a one-out triple, putting him in danger of losing his third World Series game. But Johnson got a crucial strikeout and then ended the threat on groundout. When the game went to extra innings, Johnson kept pitching in and out of trouble, working around a leadoff walk in the 10th, two men on base in the 11th and a leadoff single in the 12th.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Senators put runners on first and second with one out. Earl McNeely, an expensive late-season acquisition ($50,000), hit a grounder to third. Incredibly, the ball took a bad hop over Lindstrom's head, just as it did in the eighth inning, and Muddy Ruel raced home from second with the winning run. Fans stormed the field and danced on dugouts, and police had to rescue players from the adoring masses.
Had fate intervened to send those balls careening the Senators' way?
"Perhaps the millions of fans pulling for Washington to win its first World Series championship influenced the usually fickle goddess of luck to give a little lift to the gallant Nationals," wrote famed sportswriter Fred Lieb.
The Giants losing pitcher, Jack Bentley, looked higher than that: "The good Lord just couldn't bear to see a fine fellow like Walter Johnson lose again."
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frederic J. Frommer is the author of the book, "The Washington Nationals 1859 to Today: The Story of Baseball in the Nation's Capital," (2006, Taylor Trade). Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ffrommer
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