Yankees 5, Nationals 3
The ball reached Yankees right fielder Dewayne Wise just as Nats runner Tyler Moore hit third base with purpose. There was no hesitation. Third-base coach Bo Porter waved toward home plate and Moore accelerated. The throw was a good one and got to catcher Russell Martin first. But Moore lunged towards home while dodging the tag. In the end, television replays showed clearly that Moore’s hand touched the base first. He was safe. Umpire Tim Timmons saw things differently, though, and that’s all that matters in these situations. Moore lay prone in the dirt after landing hard. It wasn’t the prettiest slide, truth be told, and the fall only added insult upon injury.
“I felt like I got a good jump on the ball and we were just unfortunate not getting that call,” Moore said.
That’s the ugly corollary to the play: The Nats had plenty of other chances to drive home the go-ahead run. They had first and second with one out in the fifth against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte. They put a runner on base with two out in both the sixth and seventh innings and did the same in the 10th. In the 13th, Ryan Zimmerman reached on an error – gasp! – by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt by teammate Rick Ankiel.
But that rally, too, was extinguished by a pair of ground outs. And down two runs in the 14th, Jesus Flores and Steve Lombardozzi both singled. But New York closer Rafael Soriano got Danny Espinosa to pop out to right field and rookie Bryce Harper to conclude a terrible game with a first-pitch ground out to second base. Harper was 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.
“I thought [Harper] probably was really amped up, and he came in there against Pettitte – I’ve never seen him swing at balls outside of the zone. He was chasing balls,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He got in that mode of trying to make something happen. That’s part of the youth. Some other guys would get runners in scoring position and we’re swinging at balls not anywhere close to the strike zone. That’s growing. That’s inexperience. Other guy’s in a jam – we don’t have to help him out. But we’ll get better at it.”
The Nats players seemed to take the call against Moore in stride, too.
“It was obviously a close play. I haven’t looked at the replay, but Tim did a good job back there today,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “He’s one of the better umpires in the league, but I’m sure that once he looks at it, he’ll see what happened and we’ll go from there. We had other opportunities to win that ballgame. Obviously, we would have liked that, but life goes on.”
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