Jul 25, 2013, 5:13 AM EDT
The continued devolution of the Nationals nearly reached epic proportions Wednesday night when they entered the bottom of the sixth inning against Francisco Liriano without having recorded a base hit.
In the end, the events of the ninth inning in a 4-2 loss to the Pirates might actually have proved more painful than a no-hitter.
After squandering Stephen Strasburg’s best start of the season and watching as relievers Drew Storen and Fernando Abad turned a 1-run deficit into a 4-run chasm in the top of the ninth, the Nationals nearly stormed all the way back in the bottom of the inning, only to see the game end on a blown call by umpire Laz Diaz.
“It’s no secret that the ball definitely isn’t bouncing our way,” said Denard Span, who hit the groundball that resulted in the controversial, game-ending double play. “That wasn’t the story of the game tonight, but anything could’ve happened if that play isn’t called there.”
Who knows what would have happened had Diaz correctly seen Wilson Ramos elude second baseman Neil Walker’s tag on the final play of the game? The Nationals still would have trailed by two runs, with one out and two men on base. But it was a fittingly bitter way for this club’s sixth straight loss to go in the books.
“Not even close. He never tagged me,” Ramos said. “He told me: ‘He tagged you. I didn’t hear, but I saw it.’ I said: ‘Sure, you didn’t see anything. Not even close.’ But I don’t know, maybe he wanted to go home.”
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- 'Now the fun begins' - Nats enter postseason on a roll
- Game thread: Who will advance in AL Wild Card game?
- Bryce Harper to play showcase in Japan after MLB playoffs
- MLB postseason begins tonight: Wild Card playoff preview
- 5 questions facing the Nationals in the postseason
- Nats finding ways to stay sharp (VIDEO)
- Games 1 and 2 at Nationals Park will be matinees
- Revisiting Opening Day predictions on the Nats
- Zimmermann named NL Player of the Week for 2nd time this year
- Nats' plan to stay fresh before Game 1 of the NLDS