Key stolen base in ninth helps sink Nats

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Beanballs,Sports,Brian McNally

Don’t know if that was the best game of the season or even the wildest – that 9-0 blown lead to Atlanta in July probably takes the cake – but this one deserves some kind of award. The Nats led 4-0, 6-2 and eventually 9-8. But they still couldn’t hold off the Cardinals in one of the more disappointing losses of the season. Check out our game story with full details here.

A key play was one that is becoming all too commonplace. St. Louis’ Allen Craig stole second base on reliever Drew Storen with one out in the ninth inning. It wasn’t even close with no throw down to second base. The official scorer even ruled it defensive indifference at first, which is unheard of in a tie game with the go-ahead run on base.

Craig was eventually awarded his steal and teammate David Freese capped a monster game – he also homered and doubled – with an RBI single to left. Washington manager Davey Johnson wasn’t too happy. Some of Storen’s deliveries on Saturday were over two seconds to the plate. That’s akin to leaving your front door wide open and going on vacation.

“[Storen] has got to quick it up just a little bit,” Johnson said. “With that move anybody can steal. I think – it seems to me last year he was 1.5. But like I say a couple of them today over two seconds.”

Storen insisted he felt good about the actually pitches he threw in the ninth inning. Craig’s hit was just pulled into the hole between shortstop and third base. Freese did the exact same thing. Storen wasn’t exactly interested in hashing out an explanation afterwards and seemed to bristle when relayed Johnson’s comments.

“I don’t know. I’m concentrating on throwing good pitches,” Storen said. “It’s something I need to work on. Just something I guess need to make an adjustment for next time.”

He’s far from the only pitcher on the staff to struggle in that phase of the game, however. Fellow reliever Sean Burnett gave up a pair of steals last Saturday in a loss at Philadelphia that led to a costly insurance run. But this is the first time an easy steal has actually resulted in a winning run against the Nats. It is an obvious flaw and one not even the addition of strong-armed catcher Kurt Suzuki has fixed. Suzuki did throw out Cardinals runner John Jay in the first inning on his stolen base attempt.

Follow me on Twitter @bmcnally14

 

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Brian McNally

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner