May 18, 2010, 4:47 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Drew Storen's debut couldn't offset Craig Stammen's rough first or Adam Dunn's strikeout.
ST. LOUIS — Years from now, we'll probably remember this as Drew Storen's first major-league appearance, an impressive relief outing that featured a gutsy strikeout of Matt Holliday on a 3-2 fastball, with Albert Pujols lurking in the on-deck circle.
But tonight — Storen's nice debut aside — it's hard to overlook the two key plate appearances that more than anything else produced this 6-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Craig Stammen's two-out walk of Holliday in the bottom of the first opened the floodgates for the Cardinals, who proceeded to score four runs and jump out to an early lead. And Adam Dunn's strikeout on a 3-2 fastball at his eyelids in the top of the seventh killed the Nationals' last, best chance at rallying to win.
Change the outcome or either or both of those plate appearances, and we're talking about an inspiring Nats win right now instead of a fourth-straight loss.
Let's begin with the first-inning walk, because it set the tone for the entire evening. Stammen cruised through the game's first two batters, getting Felipe Lopez to ground out and then striking out Ryan Ludwick. Even with Holliday at the plate and Pujols — or, as Jim Riggleman referred to him: "Babe Ruth" — in the on-deck circle,Read more »
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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