Washington Nationals force NLDS Game 5 on Jayson Werth walk-off homer

Eight-and-a-half high-pressure innings into a 1-1 tie ballgame, Jayson Werth's walk-off home run forced an NLDS Game 5 that the St. Louis Cardinals probably could have avoided. The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, ride a lights-out bullpen and a solid start from Ross Detwiler into another elimination game. The Cardinals couldn't back Kyle Lohse all afternoon—he left, the score tied 1-1, after seven two-hit innings—and eventually that's just not something you can do as the away team.

Aside from the walk-off—on a bad fastball from Lance Lynn—and the Cardinals' vanishing offense, the big story from Game 4 is Jim Joyce's terrible strikezone, which got distracting enough to even warrant comment from TBS's broadcasting team. It was equal-opportunity terrible, but the ways in which it was terrible were so arbitrary and shifting as to be impossible to adjust at a given moment.

On the pitch before Werth's home run, with a 2-2 count, Lynn dropped a perfect curveball onto the bottom of the zone—and got a no-call for his troubles. Then, in Joyce's defense, Lynn threw the deeply imperfect fastball. The umpires aren't the reason the Cardinals lost—the reason is that they scored fewer runs than the Nationals. But in a sports environment that's still on heightened officiating alert, Joyce is probably going to hear it from Cardinals fans a little more than he would have last year.

Robot umpires. I'm just throwing that out there.

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