May 22, 2011, 12:38 AM EST
US Presswire photo
Adam Jones slides in ahead of Wilson Ramos’ tag during the Nats’ 8-3 loss.
BALTIMORE — Most ballgames — even lopsided ones like the Nationals’ 8-3 loss to the Orioles on Saturday — are decided by a handful of key moments over the course of nine innings.
Sure enough, the outcome of this one hinged on two things: 1) John Lannan’s inability to stop the bleeding during the laborious third inning, and 2) Matt Stairs’ inability to put together a quality at-bat in a big spot in the sixth.
The rest was mostly window-dressing, with the Orioles piling on late and running away with a comfortable victory one night after getting torched by the Nationals for a club-record 17 runs.
Things might have looked different, especially had Lannan managed to navigate his way through that fateful third inning and limit the damage instead of allowing four runs on five hits and a walk.
It began with a free pass to Mark Reynolds followed by a home run from Nolan Reimold, with Lannan falling behind in the count 3-0 against each batter. He did retire the next two hitters he faced, but then served up back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles, three of them
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