Nationals blow big lead, fielding lets them down again

The Washington Nationals (33-41) lost a heartbreaker last night to the Baltimore Orioles (21-52) by a score of 7-6 at Camden Yards. The Nationals held a commanding 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth but could not seal the deal in the later part of the game due to the Baltimore bullpen silencing the Nationals bats and a poor performance by Tyler Clippard.

In the top of the third the Nationals scored their second and third runs of the game thanks in part to an Adam Dunn sacrifice fly scoring Nyjer Morgan and a base hit by Ivan Rodriquez scoring Christian Guzman. With a 3-0 lead heading in the bottom of the third one of the most amazing plays of the year occurred in center field. On a ball hit by Corey Patterson that was destined to land over the fence, Nyjer Morgan raced back and dug one foot into the wall, literally propelling himself up a few more feet to make the grab of Patterson’s home run. Morgan’s catch was the first time in a while where a play made me say “wow”.

The Nationals continued to pour it on in the top of the fourth with none other than Nyjer Morgan hitting a ground rule double to left-center field scoring Ian Desmond and an Adam Dunn double on a line drive to right scoring Morgan and Ryan Zimmerman, giving Dunn a game high 4 RBI on the night.

Baltimore began to chip away in the fifth with Nationals starter J.D. Martin on his last legs. The fifth began with more errors by the National defense, when Julio Lugo reached base after a fielding error by Ian Desmond. Cesar Izturis then singled on a ball hit to left moving Lugo to second giving the Orioles men on first and second with none out. Corey Patterson followed Izturis with a line drive to right giving Baltimore the bases loaded with none out. Martin remained in the game to see a Miguel Tejada sacrifice fly and a Nick Markakis potential double play ball that Desmond threw away, scoring Izturis.

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the eighth where, with the Nationals leading 6-3, Scott Moore hit a two run pinch-hit home run and Patterson knocked in Izturis on a single, tying the game at 6-6. With Clippard on the mound for the bottom of the ninth, he immediately got Adam Jones to pop out to Pudge for the first out of the inning. The Orioles had men on first and second with one out following a Matt Wieters walk and a Scott Moore single, ending Clippard’s night. His replacement Matt Kapps did his job perfectly, but unfortunately the people behind him did not. Kapps got Julio Lugo to ground into a potential double play ball which Christian Guzman threw away on the throw to first, allowing the winning run to score and giving the Nationals another loss.

Terrible way to lose a game. Washington had a 6-0 lead at one point and lost 7-6, committing four errors along the way.