San Francisco Giants' outfielder Gregor Blanco's game-tying triple in the bottom of the ninth last night came on a two-out, 1-2 slider up in the zone from Washington Nationals' closer Rafael Soriano. Blanco's triple to right-center got over a leaping Bryce Harper and scored Buster Posey's pinch runner, Andres Torres, from first two outs after the Giants' catcher reached on an infield single that bounced off Soriano's glove and died in the grass to the side of the pitcher's mound. Harper later admitted to having worries about running into the wall after last week's collision in Dodger Stadium, and blamed himself for not making the play. Soriano wondered about the way the oufielder's were positioned on the play.
"When you got two outs when you play away," Soriano told reporters after the game, "you're supposed to, you know, a guy hits a ball, it's got to be in front of you, not like what happened tonight."
USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz quoted Soriano explaining further in Spanish what he thought of that particular play:
"'With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn't go over your head,'' Soriano said in Spanish.
"It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we're positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, 'You know where you need to play,' and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It's not an excuse, and I'm not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that's how you play the game.''
• Blanco's Game-Tying Triple:
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked about his closer's comments this morning in an appearance on 106.7 the FAN In D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier. "This is the first I've heard of it," Rizzo told the show's hosts. "I haven't talked to any of those guys, but [Soriano] is an extremely competitive guy, and usually he's an extremely upfront guy, so I would think that he would have, if he had those things to say to [Harper], he would have pulled [Harper] aside or Tony Tarasco aside, who implements the outfield defense, and made his case to them instead of to the newspapers, and I will have to look into that. I haven't gotten to the ballpark yet here in California, so if there's something that is amiss and there is some issues with it, they should get together and discuss it face-to-face, that's how I like to attack any of the issues that I have."
Asked about his comments by reporters this morning, Soriano qualified his statements, telling the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore they were made off the record and not intended as a shot at his 20-year-old teammate:
"Soriano told the Post in a telephone interview from San Francisco on Wednesday morning that he thought he was talking casually with the USA Today reporter off the record after they had talked on the record about the game, a normal occurrence when players speak with reporters. He said he saw and heard on Wednesday morning what was published.
"'I tried to do my job and I didn’t do it,' Soriano said in Spanish. '(The play) wasn’t an error. He was in the position and I threw the pitch I shouldn’t have. And that’s what happened. And after we finished talking, I made the mistake of saying that to [the reporter]. And he put it in there with what I said.'"
Apparently, the two players met this morning at AT&T Park and discussed the issue as Rizzo suggested, here's what the reports on Twitter had to say about the conversation:
Davey on Soriano's comments: "He was voicing some frustrations a lot of us feel. Did he go too far? Maybe." He said it's "not a big deal."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 22, 2013
Harper: "I was playing where I was supposed to be. I have nothing to say about it." Soriano said, "we're good."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 22, 2013
Rafael Soriano pulled Bryce Harper aside and they talked about his comments from last night. Both said they were "good" w each other.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 22, 2013
Davey on any fear Harper may have right now of the wall: "I don't blame him for that. He's only human."— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 22, 2013
Looks like the Nationals took the advice from the folks at Beverly Hills, 90210 and squashed it. That there is a pop culture reference. That's what bloggers do right? Or should I say, "Amirite?" So, good thing that's over with, now on to the series finale with San Francisco...