Joe Ross almost worked his way out of trouble in the third inning of Sunday's series finale with the Miami Marlins, but a dropped pop in the infield led to the first two runs of the game coming around.
Marlins' catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria singled in back-to-back at bats to start the top of the third inning, and Jose Fernandez bunted both runners over in front of Derek Dietrich.
Ross managed to pop Dietrich up to third, where Anthony Rendon caught out No. 2, and then popped Martin Prado up as well, but as Stephen Drew -- starting at second because Daniel Murphy was out with an illness -- settled in under the ball, it became clear he couldn't see it.
Drew got a glove on it, but only at the last second, and it went in and out before falling to the ground as both runners came around.
They hadn't played together much," Dusty Baker said, referring to Drew and Ryan Zimmerman, who comprised the right side of his infield on Sunday.
"I could see from the dugout that [Drew] was having trouble with it. But like I said, they hadn't played together at second and first, him and Zim, much, and by the time Zim knew he lost it, it was too late."
Baker was asked if Drew should have been more vocal about the fact that he couldn't find the high pop.
"He didn't want everybody to know in the ballpark that he couldn't see the ball," Baker explained. "He was fighting it, fighting it, fighting it and if they had played together, like I said, more, or communicated better, then he would have known because after the fact he said, 'Hey, man, when I don't say anything that means I don't see it,' versus, 'I got it. I got it.' So, that's the situation where we just have to communicate better and they'll know next time. It doesn't help this time, but in ensuing times, when guys don't play together that much, then these miscommunications happen."
The E:4 led to two runs scoring, putting the Marlins up 2-0 early.
"It's tough when you give [Jose] Fernandez that kind of lead because he doesn't need much help," Baker said.
Those two runs were, in fact, all that Fernandez needed, as he limited the Nationals to one run on four hits, striking out eleven batters in seven innings.
"We did have him on the ropes a couple times," Baker told reporters, "but it was kind of the same thing: Runners in scoring position. We hit some balls hard. I think Bryce [Harper] hit a couple. Ben [Revere] hit one.
"We just need to get some breaks, cause we were hitting the ball, actually, better than they were, even though we were striking out quite a bit."
"We've just got to keep swinging it," Baker said. "Nothing lasts forever, one way or the other, so we just have to stay positive and keep swinging the bat."