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32-year-old rookie Yadiel Hernandez's first home run was a walk-off for the Nats

Hernandez made history and helped keep Washington's playoff hopes alive.
Credit: AP
Washington Nationals' Yadiel Hernandez celebrates his game-ending, two-run home run during the eighth inning of the second baseball game of the team's doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Washington. The Nationals won 8-7. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON — Rookie Yadiel Hernandez hit his first career home run against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night. At age 32, Hernandez became the oldest player in Major League history to hit a game-ending home run as the first long ball of his career.

The Nationals swept the Phillies in a doubleheader Tuesday, with Hernandez's dinger giving Washington an 8-7 victory in the second game, and knocking the Phillies out of a playoff position. The Nats won the first game 5-1.

The Nats kept their slim postseason hopes alive with the win, which extended the team's winning streak to four.

“It never crossed my mind that I was going to end the game that way,” Hernández said through a translator. “I obviously thought I was going to hit a home run at some point because part of my game is to hit homers. I have the ability. I just didn’t foresee it happening in that moment where it ended the game on a walk-off home run like that. I’m very emotional and very excited.” 

Hernandez defected from Cuba in 2015, signed with Washington the following year and debuted Sept. 10.

The doubleheader included a makeup of an Aug. 27 game postponed as a response to racial injustice in the wake of a police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, four days earlier. 

The four-game series against the Phillies concludes on Friday, September 25.

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