The game ended with a 2-1 Nats loss with bases loaded in a 3-2 count and the umpire gave the strike call on the 9th pitch of the at-bat on a ball 6 inches off the plate. It was rookie call-up Adrian Sanchez‘s first career at-bat and he worked it to a 3-2 count and should have been credit with a game tying walk. It was not meant to be as Yadier Molina got the call for his pitcher as homeplate ump Manny Gonzalez just blew it. Sanchez paid his dues with over 3,100 career Minor League at-bats to get to that moment which was taken away from him by an egregious strike 3 call.
The Nationals were losing 1-0 through the middle of the 8th inning when Dusty Baker gave Sammy Solis the inning. The first pitch Solis threw was tattooed into the leftfield seats for a home run. Solis was just called up today.
The Cardinals took that 2-0 lead into the 9th inning, and called on closer Trevor Rosenthal. Bryce Harper worked a leadoff walk in the 9th inning. Ryan struck out on a ball in the dirt on a 1-2 pitch. Daniel Murphy singled. Anthony Rendon hit a hard grounder to the right-side which was snagged by first baseman Matt Carpenter who threw out Murphy at 2nd base and Rendon beat the relay throw on some great hustle. Stephen Drew hit an opposite single to make the score 2-1. Jose Lobaton walked to load the bases.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to Matt Bowman and pulled his closer, and in the pitcher’s spot Dusty Baker went with his last bench player, Adrian Sanchez, who looked like Jayson Werth up there as he spoiled pitches and worked the count to 3-2 seeing 8 pitches until that bogus 9th pitch was called a strike.
Matt Bowman got his first career save, and you might remember that Matt Bowman is from Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The Nationals had their chances in the game and none better than in the 6th inning as Michael Wacha had given up a Brian Goodwin walk and a single to Bryce Harper. Wacha’s pitch count was over 90 pitches and he was struggling as Matheny had a reliever up but stuck with Wacha. Ryan Zimmerman hit a slow grounder up the middle for the 3rd out.
It started to look like the Nationals would be shutout for the first time as they could get anything going in the 7th or 8th innings even though Matt Wieters reached 1st base to lead-off the inning on an error.
The Nationals offense was led by Anthony Rendon who had 2-hits. In a bit of bad luck, when Rendon hit his hard grounder in the 9th inning it was fielded 20 feet from 1st base by Matt Carpenter who was not holding Daniel Murphy on 1st base. All Nats position players reached base tonight by hit, walk or error except Ryan Zimmerman who was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and 3 men left-on-base. Michael Taylor in the lead-off spot was 1-for-4 with 3 strikeouts.
Anthony Rendon was also the defensive star of the game, and he turned this slick play early in the game.
The Nationals have now lost 3-games in a row.