The night had promised so much to the fans who packed into the coolest ballpark in the majors. In the dugouts were the two hottest teams in the National League. On the mound stood an ace beginning to grasp the full extent of his powers. They love their San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, and the year had only given them reason to boast, to raise another Anchor Steam, to add an extra layer when fog rolled off the bay and party all night.

At 9:28 p.m. local time, then, the Washington Nationals accomplished a rare feat. The aisles filled with black-and-orange clad fans. They headed for the closest exit, their backs turned to the best team in the National League, a team in the midst of receiving a 9-2 thrashing from the Nationals. Before the game, Michael Morse said fans here sing “Take On Me” with more fervor then they did at Nationals Park. When he came to bat in the seventh and took Aaron Barrett’s 0-2 fastball to the ribs, a good portion of would-be crooners had emptied out.

The Nationals played the best game they can play, or at least something close to it. Stephen Strasburg dominated for six innings, striking out seven and walking none to continue the Nationals’ rotation’s incredible run. Shortstop Ian Desmond continued his recent power surge with three hits and a career-high five RBI. Denard Span ripped two doubles and a triple and scored two runs.

The Nationals smashed eight extra-base hits and scored more runs at AT&T Park than any visitor all season. Their bullpen chipped in three one-run innings, and their defense played both flawless and spectacular. The Giants had won 14 of their previous 17 games and 42 of 63 overall. And the Nationals thumped them in every way the game allows.