Thanks to everyone who attended our get-together at Miss Chatter's house tonight - I had a great time talking baseball with many of you and watching the Nationals and Dodgers on a perfect summer night. And thanks to Miss Chatter for being such a great hostess. Things for the Nationals, though, didn't go quite as well.
They fell 3-2 to the Dodgers in extra innings, losing a 2-0 lead when nobody was covering first base on Adam Kennedy's fourth-inning relay from Michael Morse, missing a chance to take the lead back in the 10th and losing on James Loney's bases-loaded single to score Ronnie Belliard.
The play that allowed the Dodgers to tie the game was odd enough; Morse made a leaping catch at the right field wall to save a Matt Kemp homer and fired a perfect throw to Kennedy, but nobody was standing at first. Manager Jim Riggleman said in his TV interview that Adam Dunn was lining up to cut off a throw to home plate, rather than covering first, but also said there wasn't a cutoff play for a player making a leaping catch at the wall.
But the other things that cost the Nationals the game were less difficult to explain; they again struggled to score after Ryan Zimmerman's homer in the first inning. The Nationals have 69 runs in the first this year, their most in any inning, and two of their four worst innings are the eighth and ninth, with 47 and 27 runs, respectively.
And after Belliard took a close pitch from Burnett to start the 10th, the Dodgers had set in motion the events that would win them the game. The Nationals used a five-man infield to stop a potential game-winning single, with Morse fielding a grounder at second for a convoluted 9-3 putout, but Loney eventually pinched a single inside the right-field line, scoring Belliard for the win.
The Nationals will put Jason Marquis on the mound for the first time since April tomorrow, trying to win both this series and the season series with the Dodgers.