BALTIMORE - Apparently, the only way Trea Turner can be called out trying to steal a base is via slow motion replay.
Turner twice tonight has had stolen bases wiped out by replay challenges, a pair of disappointing outs that have contributed to snuffing out potential Nationals rallies and helped leave them in an early deficit against the Orioles.
Turner led off the game with an infield single against Kevin Gausman and then stole second, setting the table nicely for the Nationals out of the gates. But Baltimore manager Buck Showalter challenged the call, and officials in New York ruled second baseman Jonathan Schoop got his tag down before Turner got to the base.
That proved costly later in the inning when Bryce Harper singled up the middle, a hit that probably would have scored Turner had he been on second base instead of the dugout.
Two innings later, it happened all over again. Turner singled through the left side of the infield with one out, then stole second. After a lengthy wait while his video team analyzed the play in the clubhouse, Showalter finally challenged the call. And then, after a lengthy review, the officials in New York again overturned the initial call.
Turner, who had already walked back to the dugout after waiting several minutes for a decision, appeared particularly upset at the turn of events.
The rookie speedster now is 14-for-17 in stolen base attempts this season. Remarkably, all three of his caught stealings have come after a replay review overturned the initial call.
In other words, nobody has yet been able to detect Turner getting thrown out with the naked eye.
Update: This one has been ugly for the Nationals so far. They trail 6-0 after three innings, and Reynaldo Lopez couldn't even get them that far. The rookie right-hander was worn out by the Orioles' relentless lineup, giving up seven hits and three walks before departing with two outs in the third. Lopez threw a whopping 82 pitches.
So, the bullpen now must throw at least 5 1/3 innings tonight. Not what Dusty Baker was looking to ask of that exhausted group. The Nationals have threatened against Kevin Gausman, but they've been hurt by the two overturned Turner stolen bases and some missed opportunities with men on base. Put it all together, and this one is not going well for the visitors.
Update II: The good news: The Nats are on the board at last. And, they have 10 hits in seven innings. The bad news: They only have one run and still trail 7-1. It's been that kind of night.
Update III: That's a final. Nats lose 8-1. They managed to get the necessary 5 1/3 innings of relief from Matt Belisle, Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit, keeping all the other guys fresh for tomorrow. That's a positive.
So was Turner's career-high four hits. But, there wasn't much else to get excited about in this one. The Nats will try to reverse their fortunes the next two nights on South Capitol Street.