Jun 2, 2013, 4:39 AM EST
USA Today Sports Images
Danny Espinosa watches as the Braves celebrate their walk-off win.
ATLANTA — As the Braves mobbed B.J. Upton in the middle of the diamond at Turner Field late Saturday night, the beleaguered center fielder having just delivered the base hit that dealt the Nationals a maddening 2-1 loss in 10 innings, it was easy to point to the man on the mound as the one most responsible for the outcome.
And certainly Henry Rodriguez played a major role. He displayed zero command of the strike zone, throwing 10 of his 15 pitches for balls. He walked two of the first three batters he faced, the other giving himself up on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt. He paid zero attention a runner on first base, letting him steal second without so much as a glance. And he gave up the game-winning hit to Upton, sending a crowd of 46,910 into pandemonium.
But it’s also accurate to point out that Rodriguez’s services never would have been needed in this game had the Nationals merely managed to bring home a runner from third with nobody out in the top of the ninth, a golden opportunity against the formidable Craig Kimbrel completely squandered by three members of their lineup.
“We had him in a jam,” manager Davey Johnson said. “All we had to do was put the ball in play, a little sac fly. It’s frustrating.”
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