Jun 19, 2011, 10:28 PM EST
Associated Press photo
Ryan Zimmerman is thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
The ball bounced right to Ryan Zimmerman, and as he turned to throw to second base, everyone in the crowd of 35,439 at Nationals Park must have had the same thought: Tailor-made double play. He always makes that play.
And then the ball came out of Zimmerman’s hand, sailed past a lunging Danny Espinosa and skipped into right field for the first of three Nationals errors on the afternoon.
“We played sloppy, and that’s what cost us,” Zimmerman said later, after the Nationals had lost 7-4 to the Orioles and seen their winning streak snapped at eight. “Obviously, I have to make that play. That kind of changes the momentum of the whole game.”
Zimmerman’s second-inning error alone didn’t alter the outcome of the game, but he’s right: It did set a tone of sloppy baseball that stood in stark contrast to the crisp play this team had exhibited throughout its winning streak and even before that.
Very little about this game resembled those that preceded it. A Nationals club that had put itself on the precipice of a .500 record via quality pitching, flawless defense and timely hitting exhibited none of
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