Considering how the poorly night started, the fact that the Washington Nationals had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning was something of a moral victory, which, of course, counts for nothing in the standings.
Before Gio Gonzalez got out of the first inning tonight in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, he and the Nationals were down 4-0, with Baltimore’s leadoff man, Joey Rickard, right fielder Mark Trumbo and DH Trey Mancini all taking the left-hander deep to left field.
“Early he wasn’t hitting his spots,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after what ended up a 6-4 loss.
“He was supposed to throw one pitch away and the ball got in,” Baker explained.
“Another pitch was supposed to be in and it got away, and after that first inning he settled down after the number of home runs that they hit in that inning.
“Then he settled down after that and was throwing the ball well.”
Baltimore’s offense added two runs in the fourth with Jonathan Schoop doubling and scoring on a single by Caleb Joseph, and J.J. Hardy scoring after walking on a potential double play gone wrong on a throwing error by Anthony Rendon, 6-0.
“The bottom of the [Orioles’] order killed us tonight,” Baker said. “I think they got ten hits and nine of them were from 6-7-8-9.”
The 6-7-8-and-9 hitters (Mancini, Schoop, Hardy and Joseph, who went 4 for 4), had eight hits total actually, but Baker wasn’t wrong about the damage they did.
“We held the top of the order in pretty good check,” he said. “Caleb [Joseph] had a career night, and he rolled the lineup around, which is what he’s supposed to do.”
In spite of all the offense from the O’s, however, the Nationals threatened to tie it up after Michael A. Taylor drove in a run with a double in the fifth, Bryce Harper drove in one with a single in the sixth and homered in the eighth, 6-3, and Matt Wieters drove in a run with a one-out double in the ninth that should have scored two, 6-4.
Adam Lind, who singled one out after Daniel Murphy walked to start the inning, didn’t get a read on Wieters’ line drive to center and held up at third as Murphy scored.
Brian Goodwin hit for Michael A. Taylor in the next at bat, but Lind stayed at third on Goodwin’s grounder to first, and Trea Turner, who came on as a pinch runner for Wieters, was all the way to third before he realized Lind hadn’t left the bag, leading to a rundown and tag that ended the game.
What was Baker’s read on the game-ending baserunning gaffe?
“Well, it was just — my read and the baserunners’ read were two different things,” he said. “It was just a miscommunication.”
Lind took the blame when he spoke to reporters after the loss, though Turner claimed his share:
That said, Turner also admitted he was supposed to have an eye on Lind ahead of him, not the grounder to first, which added to the chaos.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) May 9, 2017
“Just trying to run the bases as best I can and saw infield back,” Turner said
“Knew Goody was up and saw the ball hit to the right side, so I figured we’d move up, but [third base coach Bob Henley] told me before the play to keep my eyes on Adam and I had been watching the ball to see if it had gotten through and if I could score, so I got a little ahead of myself and caused the situation.”
“We had action on coming back and snatching that game the way the Phillies did on us yesterday,” Baker said.
They ran themselves out of the opportunity, however, and dropped the second straight overall, falling to 21-11 on the season with the loss.