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Nats Nightly - Nationals Lose 3-1 To Dodgers In D.C.

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After tonight's 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols and I talked about the Washington Nationals and what the future holds for the team that currently finds itself in third place in the NL East behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.


A half inning after the Los Angeles Dodgers tied the game up at 1-1 in the seventh with back-to-back two-out hits off Drew Storen by Skip Schumaker and Mark Ellis, the Washington Nationals got a leadoff single by Denard Span, who took a 2-1 fastball from right-hander Jose Dominguez to left.

Anthony Rendon, who was 0 for 2 with a walk tonight before that at bat, and 2 for 14 in his last four games going back to the start of the first-"half" ending series with Miami, stepped in with the leadoff runner on. Rendon squared to bunt, but sent it back to toward the mound, allowing Dominguez to fire a throw to second that cut down the lead runner, though it actually appeared that the umpire blew the call and Span beat the throw. No amount of arguing by Davey Johnson was going to get the call reversed.

"We're trying to score," Johnson said, "And that's a case where you've got to bunt." - Davey Johnson on Rendon bunting in the 7th

Ryan Zimmerman then singled in the next at bat. Would Span have scored from second on Zim's hit? We'll never know. Instead it was runners at first and second for the Nationals when the Dodgers brought on Paco Rodriguez to strike out Bryce Harper and Ronald Belisario, who got an inning-ending groundout from Jayson Werth that kept it tied at 1-1 in a game the Dodgers eventually won 3-1 in extra innings.

I asked Dave Nichols from the District Sports Page what he thought of the idea of having Rendon bunt there after I'd seen the following tweet from him (@NationalsDSP) during the game:

Here's what he had to say about the failed attempt at the sac bunt by Rendon:

"Booo! That's all I've got to say about that. Anthony Rendon is one of the most talented young hitters in the National League. He's arguably the Nats' most complete hitter -- and I'm including Bryce Harper, since Harper has not been able to figure out how to hit lefties this year. I just hate the idea of taking the bat out of any hitter's hands when you get the leadoff hitter on like that, let alone someone as young and talented as Rendon."

Davey Johnson was asked at the end of tonight's post game press conference about the decision to bunt in the bottom of the seventh.

"We're trying to score," Johnson said, "And that's a case where you've got to bunt. The better question would be why hit the right-hander instead of [Steve Lombardozzi]..."

• Listen to the rest of the discussion on Rendon bunting and everything else we discussed on tonight's edition of Nats Nightly below: