Breaking down where it all broke down

FLUSHING, N.Y. - Danny Espinosa caught an elbow to the head when he tried to retrieve Henry Rodriguez’s throw to first in the ninth inning, but the Nationals second baseman says he’ll be fine.

Espinosa felt a little dizzy immediately after Ruben Tejada collided with him and briefly talked things over with a trainer on the field following the play, but remained in the game.

“Just needed a second,” said Espinosa, who added he won’t undergo any concussion tests.

When Rodriguez fielded Tejada’s bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning, his first thought was to go to second to try and cut down Mike Baxter, who had reached on a walk leading off the frame. Rodriguez turned toward second, but couldn’t see shortstop Ian Desmond covering the bag because the umpire blocked his view.

The only option left was to try and gun down the speedy Tejada.

“Make a try throwing to first, throw a little sidearm and the ball move,” said Rodriguez, who, to his credit, gave his first extended group interview in English following the game. “Grip was good, but throw to the outside, and the ball move.”

It moved into the line and to Espinosa’s left, making it a tough play on the second baseman. The ball got away and trickled down the line, and by the time Espinosa corralled it, Mets were standing on second and third with none out. Espinosa was nearly able to throw out Baxter at third, as the Mets outfielder had circled too far around the bag, but Baxter dove back in safely.

Rodriguez then allowed the game-winning base hit to Daniel Murphy, who flared a 96 mph fastball into right-center.

After the game, the thing Rodriguez said he was most upset about wasn’t the game-winning hit or the throwing error, but the leadoff walk to Baxter, which started the whole chain of events in the ninth.

“Nobody want to go out there in the ninth and walk the first guy,” Rodriguez said. “I feel really bad about myself.”

Meanwhile, Ian Desmond wasn’t thrilled with the outcome on his sacrifice bunt attempt in the top of the ninth, which drifted too far down the first base line and allowed the Mets’ Ike Davis to throw out Steve Lombardozzi at second.

“I don’t really remember the last time I unsuccessfully bunted,” Desmond said. “Just got a little too much barrel on it, not off the end enough, and didn’t kill it.”

“It’s one of those where we need to learn from our mistakes,” Ryan Zimmerman said of the game as a whole. “We didn’t execute late in the game. Hopefully by July and August, we won’t be making the same mistakes.”

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