Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run blast out to center in the fourth to make it a two-run game, however, and the Nationals put two runners on in the fifth with Brian Goodwin singling to left and Bryce Harper doubling to right... except it didn’t go that way...
Goodwin got thrown out trying to score instead of staying of staying at third.
Reds’ right fielder Scott Schebler dug the ball out of the corner, then fired a strike to Scooter Gennett, and Gennett made a perfect throw to catcher Tucker Barnhart, and Goodwin was dead to rights.
Two outs later, Harper was stranded at second and a potential rally was officially over.
There were opportunities before that play, but not many after it, as the Reds’ defense came up big and slowed the Nationals’ roll when they appeared ready to threaten to come back from an early deficit again.
Should Nats’ third base coach Bobby Henley, affectionately known as “Bobby Sendley”, have waved Goodwin around? Probably not.
The safe play was to keep Goodwin at third, putting two runners in scoring position for Daniel Murphy, who started Sunday with a .419/.517/.710 line with runners in scoring position on the season.
“He thought that the ball stuck down in the corner down there,” Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after the 6-2 loss in the series finale.
“It didn’t ricochet back to him and whenever guys get thrown out nobody feels worse than Bobby Henley in the whole ballpark,” Baker continued.
“I’ve got to tell him, ‘Hey, you stay aggressive.’ Most of the time they’ve got to make two perfect throws.”
Reds’ skipper Bryan Price said it was definitely a turning point.
“No doubt,” Pryce told reporters. “It’s potentially second and third with nobody out, and instead it’s runner at second and we get the lead out at the plate, and that just comes down to execution.
“Scott not trying to do too much, getting rid of the ball, being quick to get the ball to Scooter, and Scooter not hesitating to look to see that there’s a play at the plate, and that’s where you get killed on that play.
“Relay plays are always — almost always, bang-bang plays, but when the cutoff man, the relay man, wants to take a peek and decide if he should throw it to the plate or not, it’s that hesitation that quite often costs the defending team the ability to throw the runner out, so I thought he did a great job just receiving the ball and unloading it and threw a strike to Barnhart for the out.”
“That probably wasn’t the optimum time to send the guys,” Baker acknowledged.
“Because we were threatening, who knows what can happen, but that’s the job that I never wanted, I think that’s the toughest job on the field, is the third base coach.
“I mean you’ve got everybody looking at you, you’ve got everybody trying to steal your signs, people in the stands, people on TV, people on the other team, and you’re never really ever talked about on the great plays where you send guys, you’re only talked about on the guys that get thrown out, so like I said, that’s the toughest job, I think, on the field.”