Of all the disappointing moments over the past week for the Washington Nationals, the top of the ninth in last night’s rain-delayed 6-3 loss to the visiting New York Mets may trump the them all. At least it felt that way in the clubhouse shortly after the Mets had won their sixth straight and sent Washington to its sixth loss in seven games and third in a row.
Among the most displeased was reliever Sean Burnett, who came in to start the ninth in search of his fourth save in five opportunities. But Jason Bay singled, and Ike Davis followed with bloop single that left fielder Roger Bernadina barely missed. Willie Harris, who spent the previous three seasons with the Nationals, then tried to bunt both runners up a base, but he wound up safe at first as Burnett was unable to gun him down from his knees.
Pinch hitter Chin-Lung Hu sent Bay across the plate with the tying run on a sacrifice fly to right field. The other two runners advanced on the throw home, and Josh Thole collected his fourth RBI in two games with a sacrifice grounder that scored Davis with the go-ahead run.
Harris made it to third on the play, and with first base open, shortstop Jose Reyes, the subject of a disputed call that went the Nationals’ way in the eighth, drew an intentional walk. Daniel Murphy then cleared the bases with a double to right that ended Burnett’s brief appearance.
“You go out there, and you’ve got to get three outs,” Burnett said. “And I was just unable to get three outs tonight.”
Among the many disheartening parts of the loss included wasting Tom Gorzelanny’s best outing this season. The Nationals’ No. 5 starter allowed one run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings and left with a 2-1 lead.
That evaporated in the eighth, when Murphy hit a solo homer off reliever Tyler Clippard, who blew his third save and gave up his first earned run of the season. Murphy’s home run came immediately after Reyes was called out at a close play at third that he and Mets Manager Terry Collins disputed.
Reyes had doubled to the wall in left center and was trying to stretch the double into a triple by sliding head first into the bag. Center fielder Rick Ankiel threw to third baseman Jerry Hairston, who applied the tag and held it on Reyes as he slid past the bag with his hand seemingly on the base.
Or at least that’s what television replays appeared to indicate. Third base umpire Marvin Hudson didn’t see it that way, and Washington had its second out before Murphy stepped to the plate to tie the game.
The Nationals took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eight when a sacrifice fly from catcher Wilson Ramos scored Brian Bixler, who was pinch running for Adam La Roche, from third. La Roche had led off the inning with a double that a charging Bay couldn’t get to before it landed and advanced to third on a passed ball.
“It stinks,” Burnett said. “We got a good pitching performance from Gordo, and we kind of get that lucky break with Reyes at third base, and LaRoche’s ball, so all the breaks were starting to go our way, and like I said, those first two guys, it could have went either way, and for them they were hits. They did the job. They got guys over. They scored their runs, and they did what they’re supposed to do.”
FROM THE POST
The Nationals give up four runs in the ninth in a 6-4 loss to the NewYork Mets to waste a solid outing from Tom Gorzelanny.
Pitcher Livan Hernandez is being investigated by federal authorities for a possible connection to a money laundering case.
FROM THE MINORS
Toledo 6-3, Syracuse 2-1: The Chiefs suffered their first doubleheader sweep of the season, with the first game in seven innings and the second in six.
Altoona 6, Harrisburg 5 (11 innings): Tony Sanchez hand an RBI single in the top of the 11th for what would be the winning run.
West Virigina 7, Hagerstown 1 (suspended, second inning): The Suns scored in the top of the first, but West Virginia roared to the lead before rain forced the game to be suspended.
Myrtle Beach 6-3, Potomac 3-4 (both seven innings): The Nationals salvaged the second game of the doubleheader after Jose Lozada’s safety squeeze scored J.P. Ramirez with the go-ahead run.