Nationals trail Padres 2-1; both teams lose a run on basepaths

SAN DIEGO - We’re in the fourth inning here at Petco Park, and the Nationals trail the Padres 2-1. Had both teams been less aggressive - or more sensible, depending on how you see it - on the basepaths, though, the Padres’ lead would be 3-2.

Rick Ankiel drew a leadoff walk to start the game, then stole second as Ian Desmond struck out. But with Jayson Werth at the plate, Ankiel tried to steal third, and was thrown out. Werth - who led the National League in doubles last year and was at bat in what might be the biggest park in the game - promptly tripled to deep center. And because Ankiel wasn’t on base, no one scored. The inning ended with Werth at third.

In the bottom of the first, Chris Denorfia tried running with Jason Bartlett at the plate, and got caught in a rundown. Bartlett singled, and Chase Headley homered on the next at-bat. The two-run shot would have gone for three if Denorfia had been on base.

Ankiel’s risk, though, was probably less necessary; if he can steal third, he can probably score on a single from second, and at Petco Park, there’s plenty of chances for balls in the gaps to go for extra-base hits. But the Padres essentially gave that run back, and it’s 2-1 San Diego.