Nationals lose tying run on the base paths

In the seventh inning, Alex Cora got himself on base with a blooper down the right-field line, stretching it into a double when the ball died in the grass. Then, Ian Desmond placed a perfect bunt, hustling down the baseline to beat it out despite the fact he was out of the lineup today to work through some soreness.

That aggressiveness put the Nationals in position to tie the game. But once again, they got themselves into a rundown that cost them a run.

Rick Ankiel hit a hard grounder back to pitcher Roy Halladay with none out and runners on first and third, and Halladay stopped it, throwing home to get Cora into a rundown. He was thrown out, and instead of having a man on third when Danny Espinosa hit a fly to left, the Nationals had men on first and second who couldn’t advance on it.

Ankiel’s ball involved some bad luck - he hit it hard, and Cora probably scores if it gets through Halladay’s legs - but it’s worth asking why Cora was going on contact from third base with none out. He would have scored easily on Espinosa’s fly ball, and the game would be tied right now. Instead, the Nationals are down a run in the eighth inning.